Wisconsin may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering premier wine regions in the United States, but it is actually a thriving and growing area. There are currently eight wineries along the Door County Wine Trail.
Door County is situated on a peninsula that stretches into Lake Michigan right along the 45th parallel (between 30 and 50 degrees latitude is generally considered to be the golden range for grape growing and winemaking in both the northern and southern hemispheres). The lake helps hold warmth and moderate the temperatures, as well as extend the growing season.
There are approximately 40 acres of vineyards planted in Door County. While not an AVA (American Viticultural Area) in and of itself, Door County is part of the larger Wisconsin Ledge AVA, which was established in 2012.
The geography of the region was created by a moving glacier long ago, which left behind glacial soils composed of gravel, sand, clay, and limestone. Water is abundant, both in terms of rainfall and the water table, so irrigation is rarely necessary.
Many of the wineries in Door County source grapes from the West Coast to make their wines. However, there are local varieties that have been cultivated to thrive in the chilly Midwestern conditions. Many of the wineries also make fruit wines – apple, cherry, and pear orchards are common sights throughout the county, and ciders are also popular beverages.
Door County is a tourist destination for many reasons – the proximity to Lake Michigan, beautiful seasonal scenery, abundance of local produce, and ample shopping opportunities all bring in guests from around the county. Furthermore, the Door County Wine Trail sponsors events throughout the year to promote the region. Cheers!
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Note: We do our best to maintain up to date information on all wineries featured. However, we recommend checking directly with a winery before planning a visit. If you find any information below that needs to be updated please let us know.
1. von Stiehl Winery
Overview: Established in 1967, von Stiehl Winery is Wisconsin’s oldest winery still in operation. They produce over 40 incredible wines and ciders from estate fruit (grapes and cherries), as well as grapes sourced from other regions across the United States. Additionally, von Stiehl Vineyard is the state’s oldest commercial vineyard; cold-hardy hybrid varieties Marquette, Marechal Foch, and Frontenac are currently planted.
The tasting room is open year round, seven days a week. Tasting options include a pre-selected tasting, a seated tasting, and a tour and tasting.
2. Door Peninsula Winery
Overview: Door Peninsula Winery is open to visitors daily, year round, and the outdoor Wine Garden is open seasonally (the Wine Garden is also dog friendly). They do not accept reservations for tastings – nor do they charge for them!
With over 60 wines and ciders to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Door County Distillery, which produces vodkas, gin, whisky, brandy and bitters, is also on-site and available for tasting and purchasing.
3. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market
CW Score: 72.6
Address: 9197 WI-42 Fish Creek, WI 54212
Overview: Set on an idyllic farm, complete with a big red barn, Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market looks like something out of a book. They produce over 40 wines and ciders on-site; tastings are available daily, no reservation required. Tours and tastings are offered seasonally.
Lautenbach’s also hosts seasonal events, including cherry and apple picking and winter sleigh rides. Be sure to check out the farm store, full of jams, jellies, pickles, and more, before ending your visit.
4. Harbor Ridge Winery
CW Score: 67.2
Overview: Harbor Ridge Winery has 350 vines producing estate Marquette right next to the tasting room. Housed in a charming log cabin, the tasting room is open daily.
Visitors can choose between a standard or premium tasting, and Harbor Ridge also offers frozen wine granitas. Wine is also available by the glass or bottle to enjoy on-site, including on the patio. Additionally, Harbor Ridge hosts live music on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the summer.
5. Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery
CW Score: 63.6
Overview: Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery is open for tastings and tours from 10 am to 5 pm daily. Wine is available by the glass or bottle, and their offerings range from the more familiar Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to unique selections such as cherry wine and hazelnut port.
Simon Creek features live music on the deck on certain Saturdays and Sundays during the summer, and be sure to check out the cute gift shop during your visit.
6. Stone’s Throw Winery
CW Score: 63.6
Overview: Stone’s Throw Winery’s tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. There is also a Tuscan style wine and tapas bar on the property (open Thursday through Monday) and a seasonal brick oven pizza shop, both of which focus on using local dairy and produce. Bocce ball courts and an events venue complete the property.
Stone’s Throw makes their wines exclusively from grapes brought in from California; varieties available include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and many more.
7. Red Oak Winery
CW Score: 59.0
Address: 5781 WI-42 Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Overview: Tastings at Red Oak Winery are completely customizable based on your wine preferences – guests can select any of their five wines to sample, and styles range from dry to semi-sweet to dessert wines. A variety of fruit wines are available, including cherry, apple, and blueberry. Each tasting also includes a speciality chocolate!
The tasting room is open Fridays through Sundays, but be sure to check the website for current hours. Established in 2004, Red Oak remains family owned and operated.