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Vin Du Nord - New Wine Release

Friday, April 04, 2014

You may be wondering what one does at a vineyard and winery at the end of one of our coldest winters here on the Frozen Tundra of Wisconsin.  Well believe it or not, the pruning of the vines has already commenced. The goal is to start and finish with all 7000 vines before they start to wake up with the warmer temperatures of early spring.

But in the meantime, a very special wine has been vinted and prepared for bottling with an anticipated special release on April 26.  This one of kind wine is being released under the label "Vin du Nord" meaning "Wine of the North". This is truly a New World wine in that it is made from the newest wine region of the world from the newest modern varietals like Marquette and Frontenac Gris.  We fermented this wine in a style which I believe is new to the world of winemaking. I will expound on this later, but for the time being let me say it looks and tastes like a red wine, but has the citrusy aromatics of a crisp white wine.

I invite you to celebrate the Vin du Nord as the perfect way to toast goodbye to this harshest of winters and greet the long awaited promise of spring.

Steve with Wine Barrel

Cheers!

Steve - Owner & Winemaker

 

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Patio Time is Coming

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring is here!  I know it may not seem like it is, but surely it has to warm up sometime soon!  I suppose this is what we get if we choose to live in Wisconsin!  For me, spring means green grass and colorful flowers.  Weather is getting warmer, and away goes our big winter coats.  At Parallel 44, it also means that the vineyard is starting to wake up, and more people are taking advantage of the beautiful view on our patio.  With snow still on the ground, it may be hard to imagine sipping a glass of wine outside, overlooking the vineyard.  But if you can ignore the wind that still nips at your nose and pretend the white blanket on the ground is fading fast, you may see the beauty that is right around the corner.

Grab a glass of our recently released Drink Pink! and enjoy its flavors of fresh raspberries, strawberries, and pink grapefruit.  Or try our newest release Glacier Fumé.  You won't be disappointed with this crisp, refreshing semi-sweet wine.  Its honey aromatics and tropical fruit flavors are sure to please!  Whichever wine you choose, bring family and friends and relax outside on our patio. The sunsets are beautiful as you watch it set over our 10 acre vineyard.

Glacier Fume

As for me, I will be rejoicing that the snow is finally leaving and spring is starting to show its true colors.  Our season is picking up so that means more wonderful customers stopping in to learn about our history and brand, sampling our award-winning wines, and partaking in the journey of enjoying the new wine releases.  Starting in April, we are back to our regular season hours and will be open 7 days a week.  If you haven't stopped out to try our new releases or the next vintage of Nouveau Rouge, it's well worth the trip!  I look forward to hearing your story over a glass of delicious Parallel 44 wine!

Cheers!

Tammy

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Being a Wine Pioneer

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

What it Means to be a Wine Pioneer

With the cold settling in and not seeming to want to leave, these are the days that really make me feel like a Wine Pioneer.  Who would have thought that grapes vines could survive these temps yet still wake up in the spring and flourish!

Recently I have been pondering this term "Wine Pioneer" more often and do feel that it describes Steve and I well.  Although not that long ago, planting 10 acres of grapes in Wisconsin in 2005 was a venture into the unknown.  Nurturing these grapes and making wine out of them was even rarer!  Yet our venture has proven to be the beginning of something great here in Wisconsin. Since we started our vineyard in 2005, close to 700 more acres of grapes have been planted here in Wisconsin.  Since we opened our winery in 2007, over 70 more Wisconsin wineries have open their doors.  Also, our little part of the world became a coveted American Viticultural Area (AVA) - now known as the Wisconsin Ledge!

Many who ventured into this regional wine industry, lured in by the sultriest that wine can be, have given up.  They soon found it too hard to create and promote a regional wine and moved on to imported juice or grapes from California or other fair weather climates.  Steve and I have stuck it out and continue to grow, create and promote Wisconsin wines.  It has been a hard road, but one worth taking.  We feel we have cultivated a culture of Wine Pioneers - those who continue to drink our wines with pride, knowing that they too are part of something bigger than themselves, yes, an unforged wine industry with delicious surprises all along the way!  For those of you who are reading this and hearing about us for the first time… I invite you to  taste our Wisconsin wines and become a Wine Pioneer too!

Cheers!

Maria Milano

 

Steve and Maria

Steve and Maria

Steve and Maria

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Bud Lessons and Petite Pearl Vines Travel to Vermont

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So what on earth could be going on in the vineyard during a long and drawn out cold snap?  Lots!  After the polar vortex came down and brought some double digit minus temperatures, I decided to go out into the vineyard and check the vines for damage, specifically bud kill.  Our vines should be able to deal with the cold temps that we've had, but it's good practice to check because if it is found that there is a high percentage of dead buds, we can adjust our pruning to leave more buds to make up for the dead ones.  The way to check the vines for dead buds is to take some shoot cuttings, bring them inside for 24-48 hours and then carefully bisect the bud with a razor blade.  Getting the shoots sounds easy enough, but we have snow up to our knees in the vineyard!

Let's break for a quick lesson in some grape anatomy.  Grapes possess compound buds, meaning that inside of what looks like one bud are actually three buds, a primary, secondary, and tertiary.  Though every bud has three potential shoots in it, a grapevine won't grow the secondary or tertiary buds unless it has to, they are for survival - the vine's backups.  So if the primary bud dies for whatever reason, the secondary will take over, and so on.

Back to checking the buds.  It takes some practice to get the method down because the buds are so small.  But considering that one needs to check 100 buds per grape variety to get a good sample size (we have 8 varieties here), one gets very adept eventually.  Once you cut the bud in half, you can see three little swirls squished together, those are the compound buds.  The biggest one in the middle is the primary, and on each side of it are two smaller ones, the secondary and tertiary.  If the buds are alive, the swirls are bright green, and if they are dead, they are brown or black.  In my quick check of the vineyard, the buds are surviving very well so far.  Even though the temperatures haven't been as cold as when the vortex blew through, they have been very cold for a long time, so I'll probably be checking the buds again in a couple of weeks.

Petite Pearl Cuttings

This past Wednesday, I was actually out in the vineyard all day doing pruning with single digit temps, snow, and wind.  Not ideal, and not the usual sort of conditions I prune in.  Why go through the pain and torture of being outside all day in January?  Because we had a special visitor at Parallel 44 that day.  The owner of the grapevine nursery where we source our Petite Pearl vines drove out from Vermont where his nursery is to collect vine cuttings to propagate.  That is how rare and high in demand Petite Pearl is, the nurseryman has to drive half way across the country to get plant material!  Since we have one of the largest and oldest plantings of Petite Pearl, he has little choice but to come here until stocks become larger.  This wasn't the first time that nursery has collected cuttings from Parallel 44.  The Petite vines that we planted this past season were actually vines that were started with cuttings from our vineyard the year before.  So from Wisconsin to Vermont and back to Wisconsin, our vines are well travelled! Until my next post, stay warm.

-Bob the Vineyard Manager

 

Row of Petite Pearl Cuttings

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Frozen Tundra Wine Fest - Feb 22

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Happy 2014 everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful 2013 and best wishes to an even better upcoming year! December is always a busy month for me with family Christmas parties, friend get-togethers, New Year celebrations, and more. It's a time for family, friends, and lots of wine and food!

With the holidays behind us, this crazy cold weather and plenty of snow definitely reminds us that winter is here for sure! But winter also means that our largest event of the year is right around the corner!  Our 5th Annual Frozen Tundra Wine Fest is February 22, from 12-6 pm.

It's our crazy outdoor event that celebrates our hardiness here in Wisconsin. Our grape vines can withstand these negative temperatures and still come back in spring to produce delicious grapes that make our aware winning wines. So this festival is a chance for us to prove our own hardiness!

Admission is only $12 and includes wine tasting, tours, live bands, food, and more. You even get to keep your Parallel 44 Signature Glass!  Buy advance tickets online today and save!  Bring family and friends.  You don't want to miss this party!

Ice Bar Man

So don't let the cold weather get to you and join us on February 22 for some fun!

Hope to see you there!

Tammy

 

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Season's Greetings from the Winemaker

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Season's Greetings fans of Parallel 44 and Door 44 !!!

I wish you all joy and peace for this holiday season.

I can't believe that 2014 is at our doorstep.  The 2013 vintages are being prepared for bottling as you read this.  The whites and rosés are undergoing the finishing touches of heat and cold stability and filtering.  Some of the reds like Baco Noir, Petite Pearl, and Marquette are developing their distinctive nuances as they rest and age in oak.  I believe these are the best to date so far.

This time of year, we are busy measuring chemistries, doing bench trials, and trying different blends to create the best expression of the 2013 growing season for you to enjoy.  As a whole, the season was relatively cool.  What that means is we are working to showcase the bright acidities and aromatics that were thus developed in the grapes during the growing season.

I am happy to let you know that we will be releasing two new rosé wines, one new white, and three new reds for your enjoyment.  Within the next month, I will be announcing their names and their expected release dates.  Many of you will be happy to know that we will be bringing back the Seyval Blanc, and we will soon release this year's vintage of La Crescent which won Best of Show this past summer at the International Cold Climate Competition.  If you can't wait until early February for the next release of La Crescent, I would get some now as we are down to our last 15 cases before the next release.

Thank you all for your loyal support of our wineries and here is to an even better year for us all in 2014!

Steve, Winemaker & Owner

Holiday Pic

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Holiday Time is Wine Time

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

 

Holiday Time is Wine Time!

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year.  The cool air sets in and our thoughts turn to food, family, and of course, great wine!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I am so excited to have family come to our house for Thanksgiving.  This is my first time cooking the Thanksgiving turkey, and since I am not a pro with the turkey yet, I plan to wow the family with my wine pairings.

Parallel 44 Wines, because of the regional grapes we use, are some of the best food pairing wines available.  This region's cool nights and warm days (during the summer that is!) create grapes that make our wines fruit-forward and food friendly.  Before the turkey even makes it to the table, I plan to start the evening with a glass of our Glacier White or LaCrescent wines.  Glacier White is a drier white while LaCrescent is semi-dry.  Both are perfect wines to get the pallet craving that excellent meal.

Once the turkey, stuffing, grilled vegetables, sweet potatoes and cranberry relish are served, I plan to have Frozen Tundra White, Frozen Tundra Original, and Rosso (or Red Door) on the table.  The three wines offer something for all kinds of wine drinkers from sweet to dry, red to white, and all are light enough not to overpower the turkey, but flavorful enough to balance all the savory sides.

Once dinner has settled and dessert is served, pumpkin pie, pecan pie or cheesecake, it is time to bring out the dessert wines, St Pepin Late Harvest or Frontenac Dessert Wine.  It will be a great evening of food and wine!

Maria

Happy Thanksgiving!

Maria

 

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Vines preparing for Winter

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hello from Parallel 44's Vineyard Manager and Cellar Assistant.  While things are now in full swing in the winery, the vineyard is winding down.  The vines have been relieved of their grapes.  The vines that once looked so lush and full have now been stripped naked of their adorning leaves by autumn's first frost.  The difference is stark.  But I like that.  Now I can see the true work of the season.  How the shoots are arranged on the trellis.  Where we had to tie up a stray shoot to a wire.  I can now walk the rows, assess the season's growth unhindered by the leaves, and maybe I even prune a few vines with my eyes, anticipating where I will make the first cuts in a few months.

And while the vines look completely dormant and already hibernating for the cold that awaits this winter, I know they are still active and responding to their environment.  Dormancy for grapes isn't like a light switch that you flip on and off, but rather like a dimmer.  The vines gradually become hardier and hardier to the cold as the temperature slowly drops in fall.  Though our Frontenac vines can take mid winter temperatures into the -30s, if the temperature were to drop from our current temperatures in the 40s and 30s down to -30 in the course of a few days, the vines would be caught unprepared and likely die.  Thankfully, such drops are highly unlikely and our vines will have their cold tolerance cranked to 11 come those unforgivingly icy days below zero in the months to come.  Hopefully my cold tolerance will have increased by then as well so that I can once again go out into the vineyard and start pruning the vines in preparation for the the next season.

~Bob, Vineyard Manager & Cellar Assistant

 

Vines in Winter

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Holiday Open House

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The leaves are dropping, the weather is getting colder, and winter is on its way - which also means that the holidays will be here before we know it! Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year. Houses are decked out in colored lights, and trees are adorned with ornaments. Christmas jingles can be heard in every store, and people are filled with the holiday spirit. It's a time for giving, a time for family and friends, and a time to say thanks.

But it's also a time for pulling your hair out as your try to figure out what to buy for your family, friends, coworkers, and other people in your life! Despite my love for Christmas, I do not look forward to crowded malls, long lines at the checkout, and driving from store to store to find that perfect present. Anyone else feel the same way?

That's one reason why I look forward to our Holiday Open House (10-5 pm, Nov 29-Dec 1 and Dec 6-8) at Parallel 44. Visit us during these weekends and get all your holiday shopping done at one place! You can taste wine as well as sample gourmet food from different vendors. Most importantly, you can create your own gift baskets for all your loved ones. Individualize each gift box with different wine, cheese, food, merchandise, and other neat gifts. Take it from me, it's much easier than trying to beat the crowds at the stores! There will even be music on the Saturdays! Come join us for a great time to celebrate the holidays!

Cheers!

Tammy

 

Winery in Winter

 



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Winemaking Continues

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Friends of Parallel 44 and Door 44:

 

After many long days, the 2013 harvest is finally in, crushed, pressed, and fermenting at the moment.  Only time will tell as to what flavors and nuance has been provided by this season's weather.  While it started very cool and wet, the last month of the season gave us much needed sun and warmth necessary for a good vintage.

 

The next two months will be spent racking, filtering, and blending wines and conducting hundreds of  bench trials on many samples in order to vint the best expression of this year's harvest for you to enjoy soon and in the future.  It will be difficult to outdo the competition successes of this past year, but I can assure that we will always be committed to growing and vinting wines that reflect Wisconsin from our ground to your glass.

 

This year you can also expect to taste at least half dozen new wines that I am working on.  Plus, this year we will have more of the nearly now sold out Baco Noir and Petite Pearl.

 

So raise your glass to toast in a great season that you will soon be able to enjoy.

 

Cheers!

 

Steve Johnson

 

Steve with Wine Barrel

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N2185 Sleepy Hollow Rd.
Kewaunee, WI 54216

(920) 388-4400
(888) 932-0044

(920) 388-4400     (888) 932-0044     N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road | Kewaunee, WI 54216