Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: N2185 Sleepy Hollow Rd. Kewaunee,Wisconsin 54216.
Phone Number: 800-362-1562
Tasting Hours: Jan 1-Mar 31: Fri-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-4:00; May 1-Dec 31: Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Wisconsin Ledge AVA, Wisconsin
Reviewer: Larschelby Kidd
Review Date: 6/28/2014
Reviewer: Larschelby Kidd
Typically, when people think of vineyards or grape growing, Wisconsin isn’t on their radar. Be prepared to be amazed. Located in the middle of a small farm community is Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery.
From the beginning, husband and wife owners Steve Johnson and Maria Milano knew that they wanted to make wine the old fashioned way, from grapes grown on their property. But wait! This is Wisconsin we’re talking about. Can you grow grapes in Wisconsin? What about the snow?
When you speak with the owners, you realize that the answer is, without a doubt, “Yes!” The name Parallel 44 is derived from their location of the winery. The winery sits on the 44th latitude, parallel to the great grape growing areas of France and Tuscany. Grown on the 35-acre property are 15 acres of cool climate grapes such as Frontenac, La Crosse, Foch, and St. Pepin.
Steve and Maria planted the vineyard in 2005 and opened to the public in 2006. What impressed me most about Parallel 44 is the commitment to producing wines from locally grown and sourced fruit; 90% of the wines are made from grapes grown on the property or nearby.
The long drive to Parallel 44 made me question whether or not the experience would be worth the trip. Despite being only 20 miles east of Green Bay, it seems to be far from civilization. When you see the Italian styled stucco building you’re hopeful that the trip will be worth it. You park and walk up the slightly inclined walkway and BOOM!
The view with rows and rows of grape vines takes your breath away. You’re confused, excited, amazed! This is Wisconsin?
The patio views and the meditative peacefulness make guests instantly feel at-home. Guests are greeted with excitement by the tasting room staff while being guided to the tasting bar. As the tasting experience is explained, it’s almost muffled in your mind as you keep saying to yourself “This is Wisconsin?”
Whites to reds, Dry to sweet. Let’s begin. The majority of the wines are semi-dry or semi-sweet styles. Steve and Maria spent a considerable amount of time learning about Wisconsin’s climate and the grapes best suited to handle the challenging environment, and it shows in their wines. Fruit forward wines with a crisp acidity for the whites and balanced acidity in the reds. The wines that stood out most for me were The Glacier White and Red, Tundra White, La Crescent, St. Pepin Late Harvest and Frontenac Dessert. The most unique wine is the Drink Pink. Yes Pink. It’s a blend of two red varietals Frontenac and Foch. It is made as a rose with crisp grapefruit and strawberries flavors perfect for a hot summer day.
You will not be disappointed with a visit to Parallel 44. I highly recommend it as a must-see destination on your next visit to Wisconsin. If you’re curious and would like to taste Parallel 44’s wine, they currently ship to WI, IL, MN, IA, or CA.