pouring glass
Photo by Taisiia Shestopal

Touring the Driftless Region’s wineries and breweries can be a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday, especially during the summer and fall months. Travelers can get to know the friendly people of the Driftless Region, support local communities and businesses, and enjoy the scenic drives from one place to the next.

Each establishment will also greet visitors with unique drink and food menus, fun atmospheres, and often exciting events. To safely enjoy these attractions and fully enjoy the day, be sure to always travel with a designated driver and drink responsibly. If you would like to extend your trip to a full weekend of breweries and wineries, check out this full list of Driftless Region wineries and breweries, and these accommodation options. Business hours may shift from day to day, so be sure to look up when each location is open and on which days.

bar Driftless

Photo by Meritt Thomas

Morning

Start your day off with a late morning in Westby, WI, a small Driftless city with a strong Norwegian heritage. Here you can fill up on a hearty breakfast and coffee at Borgens Cafe to energize you for the day and ensure you’ve had a meal before heading to the wineries and breweries. If you like pancakes, many recommend the Great American Pancakes & Borgens Cafe Cinnamon Bread French Toast.

Since many of the wineries and breweries do not open until after 11am, you can use this time to take a scenic drive to Hillsboro, WI by heading up through Cashton and taking Highway 33 through  Wildcat Mountain State Park. The drive will give you a chance to see some beautiful parts of the Driftless Region and enjoy the company of whoever you’re traveling with. You’ll see beautiful timber covered hills, lush green valleys, numerous trout streams, limestone cliffs, and scenic farmland.

Once you arrive at Hillsboro, you’ll want it to be 11am, as this is when the first stop on the tour opens, so be sure to plan out your breakfast and travel time correctly. The Hillsboro Brewing Company will be your first stop along the tour and is a great place to start your brewery and winery adventure. They offer a variety of ales, lagers, IPAs, porters, sours, seltzers, and more all brewed locally by the 2e Brewery. The historic, newly restored turn-of-the-century building and the gift shop are also a big draw for this brewery.

man drinking
Photo by Joey Nicotra

Afternoon

After a beer or two, or a flight of beer at Hillsboro Brewing Company, you can head out on the road again to your next tour destination. From Hillsboro, head southwest on Highway 82 and continue on this through La Farge, until you arrive at the next destination, Viroqua, WI. Here you’ll find the next stop on your winery and brewery tour, Tangled Hickory Wine Bar and Cocktail Lounge.

This unique bar located in the heart of downtown Viroqua opens at 2pm on Saturdays and has a wine shop within, featuring the best wines of the Driftless Region and beyond! If you’re ready for lunch, the bar offers bistro-style dishes, seasonal delicacies, decadent desserts, as well as craft beers, martinis and cocktails. Best of all, if you’d like to take a short break from driving, there is a game room in the back with pool tables, darts, foosball, pull tabs, cards, and video poker.

After lunch and drinks at Tangled Hickory, Viroqua is a great place to shop small, local businesses, if that is something you are interested in. Otherwise, you are ready to head to your next tour destination, Vernon Vineyards. Located just outside of Viroqua, Vernon Vineyards serves 100% local wine all grown on the hills of the Driftless Region. On Saturdays and Sundays, the vineyard is open between 12pm and 5pm, making it the perfect place to enjoy outdoor seating on a sunny day, complete with scenic views of the land and vineyard. Visitors can enjoy a guided wine tasting, and let the friendly, knowledgeable staff find an enjoyable Wisconsin made wine for everyone.

pouring Wine
Photo by Photo Nic

Evening

As evening approaches you should have enough time to hit the last three stops on the winery and brewery tour, if you time your day out right and don’t spend too much time at one place. From Vernon Vineyards, head back towards Viroqua on Highway 14 to Readstown and then head south to the next destination, Soldiers Grove, WI. Here you’ll find the next stop on your winery and brewery tour, Driftless Brewing Company. Visit the taproom to try some of their hand-crafted full-flavored ales and lagers made from locally and regionally sourced ingredients. Next you’ll want to find your way to County Road C and head west toward Ferryville and the next stop, Sugar Creek Winery of Wisconsin. Sugar Creek has a variety of wines to sample and buy to take home with you.

You’ll make the final stop of the tour by heading back to Westby to Branches Winery. Head north on the Wisconsin Great River Road for a scenic view of the sunset over the Mississippi River, especially during the summer, until you reach Genoa. Then head back up to Viroqua and finally arrive back in Westby for the last stop of the day. You’ll be able to make it to your final destination with plenty of time to spare for relaxing and wine tasting. Especially since the winery is open from 1pm to 8pm on Saturdays, and 1pm to 6pm on Sundays.

Branches Winery’s wines range from dry reds and crisp whites to sweet table and dessert wines, so you’re sure to find something you’ll like. If you’re ready to eat an early dinner, or grab some appetizers to hold you over, Branches has outdoor wood-fired pizzas, local cheese and charcuterie plates, and desserts. Make sure to explore the beautiful tasting room, as well as the surrounding area and outdoor patio for the full experience.

 

This project was supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP0135 awarded to Driftless Wisconsin via the Wisconsin Department of Administration by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
TOBACCO WAREHOUSE INN

TOBACCO WAREHOUSE INN

Nature Nooks Retreat

Nature Nooks Retreat

Cowboy David’s Bakery

Cowboy David’s Bakery

Viroqua Food Co+op

Viroqua Food Co+op

Century 21 Affiliated – Southwest WI

Century 21 Affiliated – Southwest WI

Kickapoo Valley Ranch Guest Cabins

Kickapoo Valley Ranch Guest Cabins

Pasture Pride Cheese

Pasture Pride Cheese

Viroqua Chamber Main Street

Viroqua Chamber Main Street

Capt. Hook’s/ Clements Fishing Barge

Capt. Hook’s/ Clements Fishing Barge

Wildthings Fur Hats

Wildthings Fur Hats

Farmers State Bank

Farmers State Bank

Bethel Home & Services

Bethel Home & Services

Village of La Farge

Village of La Farge

Blue Highway Lodge

Blue Highway Lodge

Simply Creekside

Simply Creekside

217 on Main

217 on Main

Grandview Motel & Vacation Rentals

Grandview Motel & Vacation Rentals

Romance Valley Retreat

Romance Valley Retreat

Viroqua Heritage Inn a boutique hotel

Viroqua Heritage Inn a boutique hotel

Village of Soldiers Grove

Village of Soldiers Grove

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Vernon Vineyards

Vernon Vineyards

Vernon County Museum

Vernon County Museum

Down a Country Road

Down a Country Road

Village of Cashton

Village of Cashton

City of Hillsboro

City of Hillsboro

Ferryville Tourism Council

Ferryville Tourism Council

Rudy’s Bar & Hotel

Rudy’s Bar & Hotel

Tangled Hickory Wine Bar

Tangled Hickory Wine Bar

Viroqua Family Restaurant

Viroqua Family Restaurant

Wonderstate Cafe

Wonderstate Cafe

Driftless WisconsinThere is simply no better place to explore, by car, by bike, or by boat. The scenery when you explore the Driftless Wisconsin Area is unmatched. The history is fascinating. The people and communities are diverse. Around every bend of the road, every twist of the river, something interesting awaits.