Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Detour to Madison, Wisconsin

          You’ve gotta love a place that offers pole dancing classes, brews a beer called “Totally Naked” and is the home of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.  Plus, Madison even boasts a top-notch winery just a half hour away.
         It’s called Wollersheim Winery and is situated in lush farmland near the Wisconsin River.   And interestingly enough, the winery has connections with California wines.  In the 1840’s, a man named Count Agoston Haraszthy planted the first European vines on the property. But he soon left for California and was an early grape grower there; a hotly debated legend states that he imported the first Zinfandel grape from his homeland, Hungary, to California.  What we do know is that he started Buena Vista (Carneros) Winery in Sonoma. 
         The Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin is lovely, with 25 acres of vineyards and two National Registry buildings from the mid 1800’s built by the Peter Kehl who bought the property from Haraszthy.  The current owners are members of the Wollersheim family; the current wine maker is Philippe Coquard, married to Julie Wollersheim, and from a winemaking family in France.
         We decided to do a winery tour, paid our $3.50 and received our purple snap-on identification bracelets.  We laughed because it reminded us of the wristbands you receive checking into a hospital.  We were definitely happier to be at a winery!
         The tasting featured five wines, plus tastes of any other wines we wanted. Generous.  Our tour guide gave us a two-sip rule.  Sip number one—to acclimatize the tongue; sip number two—to actually taste the wine.
         MK was partial to the Prairie Blush for a very important reason—the color, Kool-Aid red.  LC liked the Domaine du Sac because it had a rich cherry “overtone” and was made from grapes picked right on the Wollersheim estate.  JA, our trusty companion, ultimately purchased the Domaine Reserve because it was made from the grapes grown on the steepest part of a beautiful hill  and was supposed to be “robust and full bodied.”  We’ll let you know.
         For a taste of these wines, you’ll just have to come to Wisconsin. In the meantime, check out the Wollersheim website at  But if you just want to take the pole dancing class, you’re on your own.


  1. Well, LC, based on your fine description and the fact that JA put his money where your mouth was and actually purchased the Domain Du Sac (is that different than the "reserve"?), I will find some of the Wollersheim "rich cherry overtone" and sample it with the lovely JE to get her reaction as well.

  2. The Du Sac is different than the reserve and we love it.