WISCONSIN GROWS AWARD WINNING WINES that start with quality grapes grown right here in the state of Wisconsin. The state is kicking off the beginning of the harvest season with the celebration of Wisconsin Vineyard Week. This second annual event was officially proclaimed last year by Governor Tony Evers to be the third week in July.
Wisconsin has a long history of European immigrants that brought their specialty crops and crafts to the rich agricultural fields in the state. In 1846, Agoston Haraszthy brought the very first grapevines to the Midwest from his native Hungary. That vineyard was on the current site of Wollersheim Winery and Distillery in Prairie du Sac. He later moved further west and was the first to cultivate grapes in the Napa Valley! One of the reasons Agoston went further west was that the grapes brought from Europe would not consistently survive the harsh winters of Wisconsin. For grapevines to flourish here, a true cold climate grape had to be developed.
In 1943 a farmer and native of Osceola, Wisconsin, named Elmer Swenson started experimenting with breeding French American/European hybrid grape varietals with native cold climate Wisconsin grapes. This was just the beginning of breeding programs throughout the Midwest and upper East Coast. These hybrid grapes could not only withstand the harsh winters of Wisconsin but also produced excellent wines. The wines produced from cold climate grapes have won numerous prestigious gold medal awards at some of the nation’s most respected wine competitions. Several of these hybrid grapes bear Elmer Swenson’s namesake. Because of this breeding program, the number of acres of grapes grown in Wisconsin has increased exponentially in the last decade. Wisconsin currently has over 200 vineyards growing over 1400 acres of 34 different hybrid varietals. A truly great sign of a robust future for the growing of Wisconsin wines!
The Wisconsin Grape Growers Association (WGGA) would like to invite the public, interested in the cultivation of grapes and the ultimate production of Wisconsin grown wine, to Wisconsin Vineyard Week, July 12 to July 18, 2020. Participating vineyards would love to show you how we grow cold hardy grapes in the state of Wisconsin. Many of these vineyards will be associated with a winery where you can purchase some of these award winning wines.
Visit wisconsingrapes.org for a listing of participating vineyards……CHEERS!