Door County is a small hub for winemaking and wineries in the Midwest. This thriving wine scene should be a bucket-list item for anyone who appreciates the art, science, passion and hard work that goes into crafting a single glass of pinot noir or sauvignon blanc.
The wineries and vineyards of Door County fall within the 3,800 square mile Wisconsin Ledge American Viticultural (AVA), the second AVA designation wholly in Wisconsin. An AVA is a delimited grape-growing region with unique geographic or climatic features distinguishing it from surrounding regions. The success of vineyards and grape growers in Door County is partly thanks to the AVA and Door peninsula’s location atop the 45th parallel. This latitudinal circle halfway between the equator and the North Pole is famous for its superb conditions for growing grapes and other produce for wine production. This line runs through many prominent wine-producing regions in America, including Washington, Oregon, and Michigan, as well as across the globe in France’s vaunted Bordeaux region.
While Door County’s vineyards can produce traditional wines, what makes these wine experiences so special are the fruit wines produced using the ample fruit grown at orchards across the peninsula. Some are sweet and fruity, some are tart and tangy, and all are available for sipping and savoring on your trip to Door County.
Anchored Roots Vineyard & Winery
Door County’s newest vineyard and winery is Anchored Roots Vineyard & Winery. The family-owned business opened in September 2022 by Wisconsin natives Eric and Amy Gale, with a focus on agriculture and quality wines. While their estate vines mature, they source grapes locally in Wisconsin as well as from Washington State, where Eric earned his master’s degree in viticulture, and Amy managed a winery.
Visitors will enjoy the comfortable, casual yet upscale atmosphere of the heavy timber framed tasting room. The tours and tastings with the winemaker take visitors on a deep dive into the science behind the process of winemaking. Guests can sample an expanding portfolio of wines such Frontenac Gris, Petite Pearl and Frontenac, for the local flavor and Washington wines made from classic grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay. Whether it’s to learn more about wine or to simply enjoy a glass overlooking a picturesque Door County vineyard, Anchored Roots Vineyard & Winery has something for everyone.
Stone’s Throw Winery
Stone's Throw is a mainstay in the local wine scene and has been in business for more than 23 years. With its peaceful and unspoiled surroundings, it's the perfect place to unwind and sample a variety of reds and whites, all made from premium California grapes handcrafted with a "one barrel at a time" approach. The Baileys Harbor location has a tasting room, gardens, bocce ball courts, event space and two restaurants.
The dining experience combines the best of local Wisconsin ingredients with Tuscan-inspired flavors. Visitors can enjoy everything from handmade pasta to award-winning wines and tapas. The Tuscan Wine & Tapas Bar is the perfect spot to indulge in stuzzichini (tapas) and organic vegetables from the winery's garden, paired with an extensive wine list featuring some of the finest vintages from Tuscany. If you're in the mood for pizza, check out the Oak Barrel Fired Pizza, where staves from older wine barrels fuel the wood-fired oven for an extra touch of flavor. With premium ingredients from local producers like Neuskes Bel Gioioso and Glorioso's of Milwaukee and fresh organic produce from their vegetable garden, Stone's Throw Winery is a must-visit destination for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike.
Von Stiehl Vineyard, Stony Creek
Founded in 1967 by Doc Stiehl, von Stiehl Winery is the oldest licensed winery in Wisconsin, located near Door County in Algoma, Wisconsin. Its rich history and legacy can be tasted in every sip of its Sweet Cherry and Dry Cherry wines made with Door County Montmorency cherries. Every bottle of von Stiehl wine is carefully crafted on-site, from west and east coast grapes and hand-picked grapes from von Stiehl Stoney Creek Vineyard, located six miles north of the winery in Door County, to bottling and aging in their underground limestone cellars.
You can learn more about von Stiehl's award-winning wines and immerse yourself in their rich history on a tour of the 12,000-square-foot production facility across the street from the main building or enjoy private, pre-selected seated tastings to sample six different wines and unique food pairings while listening to staff share the winery's history and even a ghost story or two. An outdoor Terrace Bar overlooking the Ahnapee River is open in the summer and features live music. Cider lovers are in luck, too, as von Stiehl offers a variety of hard ciders made with local apples served year-round in the Cider Bar two doors down from the winery.
Red Oak Winery
Red Oak Winery offers a wide range of wines, including semi-sweet, fruit, dry whites, dry reds and dessert wines. Visitors taste wines among actual wine barrels in a bistro-style seating area that often hosts live music. Guests can hand-select five wines produced with grapes and fruit from California, Washington and Wisconsin, including some from the onsite vineyard, served with breadsticks to cleanse the palate between sips. Plus, visitors can choose milk, dark or hazelnut chocolate to enjoy with their wine, making for the perfect indulgence.
Founded in 2004 by Door County native Andrew Wagener, Red Oak Winery is a family-owned and operated business that has been growing ever since. Located in Carlsville, the Wagener family continues to work tirelessly in their vineyard and wine-tasting rooms, ensuring every guest has a memorable and enjoyable experience. And with the introduction of their new wine flights, complete with Italian wine glasses, Red Oak Winery is better than ever.
Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery
Founded in 2003, Simon Creek Winery is a hidden gem for those seeking a relaxing and peaceful getaway. Simon Creek Winery is an award-winning winery, earning over 200 medals, including two double gold medals for their Untouchable Red and Door County Cherry Wine, the latter chosen by USA Today in 50 Wines from 50 States for Wisconsin they called "a delight for summer sipping."
With a wide range of grape wines, including dry and sweet red and white, cherry and dessert options, there is something to satisfy every palate. Visitors can also enjoy free live music every Sunday from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, with occasional additional dates added. The winery offers a variety of cheeses, meats and crackers that pair perfectly with their wines. Be sure to check out their retail shop, which provides an array of merchandise, including hand-painted glassware, apparel, jewelry, accessories, food items and more. And, of course, visitors can enjoy a glass or bottle of wine while taking in the serene views from the deck overlooking the beautiful grounds and pond.
Door Peninsula Winery
The founders of Door Peninsula Winery transformed an old school house into a winery in 1974. In the first decade of production, the winery exclusively made and sold fruit wines, starting with apple and cherry wines and later expanding to pears, strawberries and plums. Their first foray into grapes used fruit grown in California and Washington to create a diverse range of wines that included cabernet, chardonnay and pinot, eventually introducing Wisconsin-grown grapes, such as Itasca, St. Pepin, La Crescent and Marquette, which are ideal for northern climates. The winery also found their stride blending fruit and grape wines, which today are some of their most popular varieties.
The winery is not only the oldest in Door County but also the third-oldest in Wisconsin. The whole family is welcome to experience a tour that follows their 50 years of unconventional wine-making history and the wine and spirits-making process, as they are also a distillery. The winery produces all 70+ of their fruit and grape wines and 20 spirits onsite, utilizing 75 to 85% Wisconsin-grown produce, including from their own orchard and vineyard located just a few miles down the road. With so much to see and taste, a visit to Door Peninsula Winery promises to be a delightful and unique experience.
Harbor Ridge Winery
Located in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, Harbor Ridge Winery's vineyard is part of the Wisconsin Ledge American AVA, which covers Northeastern Wisconsin along the Niagara Escarpment. An AVA is a delimited grape-growing region with unique geographic or climatic features distinguishing it from surrounding regions. Despite the challenges of the region's shorter growing season and severe winters, the winery has exclusively planted the Marquette Grape. This robust varietal is a medium-bodied hybrid red grape developed to grow in a cold climate.
Guests feel welcomed in their tasting room, which exudes a laid-back vibe, that includes a playful approach to wine labels. The winery has introduced many labels with catchy and funny names like Call Me a Cab, Crimes Against Vines, Knockin' Heads Red and Mademoiselle. With a selection of over 20 wines to date, Harbor Ridge Winery offers a variety of award-winning wines that include sweet, semi-sweet, and dry, barrel-aged wines from a log cabin-style building on an idyllic stretch of Highway 42 in downtown Egg Harbor.
Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market
If you want a unique and fun experience in Door County, visit Lautenbach's Family Orchard Winery and Market, one of Door County’s better-known orchards and farm markets. With over 46 award-winning wines and hard ciders produced on-site, you will surely find a flavor that suits your palate. Their freshly grown produce is used to create white, red, rosé, sparkling, fruit, and port wines, as well as apple, pear, cherry and other hard ciders. Tastings and flights are available on a first-come basis, so come early to secure your spot.
Guests can also take the fun and informative guided winery walking tour. The experience includes a visit to the orchards, vineyards, and production area, a short video, an exclusive private tasting and a keepsake gift to commemorate the visit. Plus, the orchard offers all kinds of cherry- and farm-themed activities and attractions, including fruit picking and seasonal sleigh rides.
Door 44 Winery
Get a flavor of the area at Door 44, the largest producer of wine from the Wisconsin Ledge AVA with 90% of their grapes grown locally. Guests can take a tour of Door 44, including a visit to the vineyard to learn the nuances of grape growing in Door County before returning to the production area to discover how wine is made here before enjoying samples. While all of the wines have their own unique tastes, their specialty is ice wine, a kind of wine that can only be made in a cold climate — the grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine, picked and pressed frozen to create a full bodied, sweet and aromatic wine. Compared to liquid gold, it’s thick and sweet and unlike any other.
Wine tastings and flights are offered daily with or without a tour, complemented by build-your-own-charcuterie boards using local cheeses. Live music is offered throughout the year, too, with Door 44 open daily May 1 to December 31, and closed Tuesday and Wednesday during the off season. Door 44 is located in Sturgeon Bay. They run a second location, Parallel 44, in Kewaunee (a few miles southeast of the county line).
All of our local wine producers offer tastings/samplings, tours, or retail stores of some kind — as does our sole local cidery, Island Orchard Cider. In addition to visiting the wineries themselves, you can also enjoy Door County wine a few other ways, such as:
Taking a driving tour of the Wine Trail to sample wines at a few locations or stop into each one for a bottle or two to build up your collection, just make sure to designate a sober driver.
Exploring the wine scene via trolley: let the Door County Trolley do the driving for you and take you door to door. The service offers multiple styles and runs year-round.
Enjoying food and wine pairings: Many wineries have onsite restaurants and snack menus to pair with your wine tasting or offer food products in their shops. Door County wines can also be found on the menus and wine lists of restaurants of all kinds, including fine dining restaurants, supper clubs, casual bar spots and more.
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