Even though there are many products available for the home wine maker, wineries, including wineries in Wisconsin, are complex and labor intensive businesses. Winery owners generally grow some if not all of their own grapes, produce and bottle the wine and have a retail winery outlet. Many of the wineries in Wisconsin also have their own restaurant and give tours.

According to the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association, nearly three-fourths of the wineries in Wisconsin are located in rural areas. Over 80 percent of their sales are from their tasting rooms. Many wineries in Wisconsin offer services weddings, reunions, meetings and banquets.

Brewing has been a Wisconsin tradition since before statehood. Records of Wisconsin breweries date back to the 1830s. The growth of breweries in Wisconsin is often linked to the early settlements of German immigrants in the state. The knowledge of German brewing techniques, a craving for German-style lagers from the “old country”, and an extreme desire to maintain their cultural identity added to their desire to brew Wisconsin craft beer.

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Some argue that the origins of Wisconsin wine began when a Hungarian immigrant named Agoston Haraszthy established a vineyard, winery and wine cellars, in Sauk City, in the early 1840s. German settlers who came to Wisconsin in the 1800s also brought with them their winemaking skills, producing versions of traditional German wines as well as new varieties made from native grapes. Wisconsin wineries learned to cultivate several cold-hardy varieties of grapes that are well-suited to the Wisconsin climate. In addition, Wisconsin wineries learned to utilize the many fruits that could be grown in the state. In time, a number of grape and fruit wines were born.

Wisconsin Wineries by Region