Wollersheim Winery: Legacy of Prairie Du Sac

It’s almost an year since we landed in USA and tried to savor the best of every city we visited. On our trip to Madison, the capital of Wisconsin we planned our visit to Wollersheim Winery beautifully located across the Wisconsin River.

A 30 miles drive from Wisconsin State Capitol to Prairie Du Sac, then a steep walk uphill and you will be standing on the grounds of historic Wollersheim Winery.

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History of Wollersheim Winery: This journey started way back in 1840’s with Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy planting vines in slopes of the region. Unfortunately the European vines couldn’t survive the harsh winters of Wisconsin, so he left for California and later on became the founder of Wine industry.

Afterwards Peter Kehl took over the place and converted it into an American vineyard. But it was not before 1972 , when Robert and Joann Wollersheim took over the property and Wollersheim Winery came into existence. From there on there have been many additions and changes. Now this legacy is in hands of Philippe Coquard & Julie, daughter of Wollersheim’s, spread across 27 acres vineyards of French-American Hybrid grapes.

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Winery Tour: We took the winery tour which includes a short movie clip about winery’s history, walk around the building & a glance into fermentation room through window, followed by visit to cellars aging in basement which were the highlight of the tour. This guided tour ended in tasting room.

Wine Tour Cost -5 $ each person

After the winery tour do checkout the Historic Wine Cave, originally created by Agoston Haraszthy for wine cellars, which has been restored in 2013. Now it’s a museum showcasing history and artifacts of winery.

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Wine Tasting: While Featured wines are complimentary (included in the tour price), additional wines sampler are available for minimum charges. After a few sampler of the their signature wines Domaine du Sac & Port Wine, followed by  Pinot Noir & White Riesling , we took a bottle of Prairie Sunburst Red to have a sip outside in sun on a cold windy day.

Domaine Du Sac, a dry red one aged in French & American oak barrel is an estate grown wine along with Port Wine which on contrary is mild one with sweetness.

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With an amendment in state law in 2009, Wollersheim Winery bloomed by restarting its distillery in 2015 featuring Gin and Brandy.

Best time to visit: Wollersheim Winery remains open throughout the year, but summers are perfect to appreciate the vineyards with glass of wine and famous Wisconsin cheese.

Timings: Daily 10am to 5pm year around.

On your next visit to Madison, take a drive to this National Historic Site, also accessible from Milwaukee which is located 100 miles away.

The City of Madison Day-2

Continuing on our journey , It was time to explore more of Madison city.
After having breakfast in hotel itself we headed towards our first stop,which was just couple of miles from our hotel.

Olbrich Botanical Garden is famous for its vast landscape and is beautifully located next to Lake Monona. There is a stream which flows from Monona right through the gardens and the view of this Starkweather creek is a boon to eyes. We spend couple of hours in this peaceful environment, it has shrubs and trees from various countries. So,to get the best experience must visit this place in Fall season. I specially loved fall colors in Chinese Maple and liked vibrant colors in Thai pavillion, Wildflower garden and birch walk.IMG_2405

Thai Pavilion- Originally, this pavilion was built in Thailand, then dismantled, took almost seven weeks by sea, then rail to Chicago and finally by truck to reach here. Even nine craftsman traveled to Madison and assembled it.IMG_2404.JPG

As we had a visit in later fall, so sadly most gardens such as herb and rose didn’t had a lot to offer, but we could see the vast area they have and the diverse flora which might be the reason that its a worth to watch in every weather throughout the year.

Union Memorial TerraceAfter Olbrich we headed to Memorial Union, located on the shore of Lake Mendota in University of Wisconsin. There was some construction/ maintenance work going on near Memorial Library and The Pyle Center, so we had to park our car 2-3 blocks away and we took a walk towards the lake. It was a chilly day and to walk in sun felt like the best thing to do. It took us nearly 10 minutes walking by side of Chazen Museum of Art and Kohler art library, through Historical society. We finally reached the bay area by the Union theater and the view was spectacular. It was worth walking down to enjoy the view. We spend nearly half an hour sitting at Memorial Terrace in the serenity.IMG_2464.JPG

As we headed back we thought of having a lunch in campus itself. We had our favorite wings(as usual) and Buffalitos with beer at Buffalo wild wings. After having an energetic meal, we headed to Lake Monona.

Lake Monona -It was around 4 p.m when we reached this place opposite Olbrich Botanical Garden. We had a stroll around lakeside and then sat down on benches for nearly an hour before sun finally started going down behind the Capitol.

As the daylight started fading out,it gave us the feeling of contentment.Well it was worth waiting for it in that cold windy day.IMG_2544

Travel Tips :

Where to stay- East side, near East towne mall. Budget hotels, good restaurants nearby.

Duration of stay– 2-3 days.

Attractions- Wisconsin Capitol, Dane County Farmers’ Market, Olbrich Botanical Garden, University of Wisconsin, Lake Mendota,Lake Monona, Henry Vilas Zoo..

Every attraction has ample parking space and paid public parking is very cheap($1-$1.50 per hour).

Well this was our 2 day trip to Madison and we tried to get familiar with this city. If you liked this post,do let us know. Click here for pictures

Keep Exploring.