Cold weather grapes have transformed some of the slopes of the Driftless Region into Wisconsin vineyards. Vernon Vineyards is a perfect example, on a ridge top near Viroqua, with expansive views, grape vines, and a tasting room. Stop in for a free wine tasting and bring home a bottle or two of the Driftless.
Where to begin? If you’re looking for a unique adventure and to make a few memories, get on the invite list to help with the next grape harvest. Harvesters can come and go as their time allows. It’s a fun, and social experience.
The tasting room at Branches Winery, near Westby, is a great first stop on the Driftless Wine and Cheese Trail, a self-guided road trip of seven wineries and seven creameries. A perfect pairing for a Wisconsin weekend. Branches has delicious award winning wines, but don’t forget to try the Wisconsin Ice Cider. The winery takes advantage of the Wisconsin winter temperatures to naturally freeze and thaw the apple cider, concentrating it’s flavor.
Where to begin? Summertime concerts in the vineyard are a great way to experience the winery. Branches has delicious pizza, and live music on certain weekends throughout the summer months. Bring a lawn chair, pick your favorite red or white, and enjoy summer in Wisconsin.
Sugar Creek Winery
A little out of the way for lots of country charm. This one is a bit of a hidden treasure, with free wine samples and open seven days a week. The scenic drive through the Driftless outside Ferryville is worth the visit, but arriving to enjoy tasty wines with a knowledgeable and friendly owner, makes it a great way to spend a day.
Where to begin? Like wine, but not the headache? Sugar Creek Winery has a large selection of wines with no added sulfites, from sweet to dry, you’ll find one for your palate.
Their new location promises to be as awesome as their beers. With plenty of craft brews to choose from and a pub menu to compliment their beer, it’s a great stop. The brew family has been in the Driftless for five generations and are committed to the growth and spirit of their little town.
Where to begin? Hillsboro is the Czech Capital of Wisconsin. So do as the Czechs do and give the Bohemian Club a try, it’s a crisp and smooth lager, perfect for a summer day.
Driftless Brewing (temporarily closed)
First and foremost a production brewery that prides itself in hand crafted beer that uses local businesses and farmers for the majority of their ingredients. The tap room is open Fridays and Saturdays for a visit. Stop by and you’ll find staff that are passionate about their beer and a cool small town setting in Soldiers Grove.
Where to begin? Kick Axe Pale Ale has a nice following with people appreciating the old school style. The beer is a tribute to the Kickapoo and Bad Axe rivers that flow nearby.