Wisconsin Dells

Image by BZalewski via Flickr

Image by Anne Davis via Flickr

Nestled against the Nicolet National Forest and surrounded by the world’s largest chain of inland lakes, the McCain family has been making Wisconsin’s Original Cranberry Wine since 1972.

History of Winemaking in Wisconsin

Ingenuity, experimentation and perseverance

Agoston HaraszthyWisconsin has a long history of winemaking. In fact, one could argue that the origins of the American wine industry are firmly rooted in the rich soil of the Badger State. In the early 1840s, a Hungarian immigrant named Agoston Haraszthy established a vineyard, winery and wine cellars overlooking the Wisconsin River at what is today the Wollersheim Winery in Sauk City. Haraszthy went on to establish some of the first successful vineyards in Sonoma, California.

The many 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 North America’s own native grapes. Those early winemakers found that growing traditional European grapes in Wisconsin can be a difficult endeavor.

However, using ingenuity, experimentation and perseverance, Wisconsin winemakers learned to cultivate several special varieties of grapes that are well-suited to the Wisconsin climate. In addition, winemakers learned to utilize the many fruits that could be grown in the state. In time, a number of Wisconsin grape and fruit


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