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!
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
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
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Dear Friends of Parallel 44 and Door
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
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
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Hi everyone! My name is Martie. I am the Assistant Hospitality
Manager at Door 44 Winery in Sturgeon Bay. I am not a stranger to
wines as I have been in this business for about 35 years. (No I'm
not a dinosaur!) I started studying wines in Chicago when I was 18
years old, then moved to Seattle, Washington to finish my sommelier
certification. Along the route, I earned my chef's jacket from the
CIA in New York.
My view on wines is casual and fun. My main purpose is to make
sure you find a wine you like. There is never a right or wrong
wine. It is true that with a correct pairing your wine will taste
much different and fantastic. However, that being said you have to
like the wine you are drinking. If you love whites and you are
having a steak and don't like red wine, then pick a white that is a
little drier and has some oak to it. Wine should be fun and not
Here at Door 44 we have fun while we taste. The thing that I
most love about my job is that our grapes come from Wisconsin. It's
a different process than the West coast but just as fascinating. I
have been lucky enough to be here for harvest and even help a
little as we pressed the juice from the grapes. I have to tell you
there is nothing better than to taste the juice as it is being
pressed. I'm looking forward to seeing what Steve and Maria have up
their sleeves with this year's harvest.
We have been open for about 5 months now, and it is beautiful up
here in Door County. Our wines are different from Parallel 44
with the exception of the Frozen Tundra Wines. If you haven't
stopped up yet, please take a drive and come check us out. If you
are using your GPS to find us, please remember we are on the north
side of the bridge, attached to Grandma Tommy's. I look forward to
meeting you and talking wine.
Monday, June 03, 2013
It is that time of year to give you interested wine lovers an
update on how the next vintage is shaping up in the vineyard. Many
of you have asked me how the crop looks this year. Even
though we got out to such a cool wet spring, the grapes have
developed quite nicely and we are now very close to where we should
be this time of year. The delayed spring actually reduced the
frost damage that we could not avoid last year with the incredibly
abnormal heat in March and April of 2012 that woke the vines up too
Like I have said many times before, as romantic as the wine
growing and wine making process may appear, this is really all
about farming and acknowledging that Mother Nature is the boss when
it comes to all things agriculturally based. Hence there are
going to be good years and not so good years. But that is the
way it has always been and that is the way it will always be.
As a winegrower, it is our job to finesse the best vintage from
every year and what Mother Nature provides. Thus last
year was very low in quantity but very high in quality. In
fact, Parallel 44 and now our sister winery Door 44 had the honor
of receiving three of the four Double Gold medals awarded at the
Wisconsin Wine Competition last month. We also received the
award for Best Wisconsin White Wine with our Frozen Tundra
This year appears to be average or above as to quantity, and if
remains warm and we can avoid fall frost until October, this could
be one of our very best vintages. So let's hope that the next
two months is filled with warm sunny days and cool nights.
Thank you all for your continued support of our wineries and I
invite you to communicate with me as to your curiosity about what
we are up to. Soon I will be telling you about the upcoming
harvest and how I will need your help in bringing it in this
Cheers to you all!!!
Friday, May 03, 2013
Despite the long, harsh winter, it looks like spring has finally
arrived! I don't know about you, but I think winter definitely
overstayed its visit! It feels so great to walk outside
without having to bundle up in the winter gear. Sunshine and warm
weather means more people enjoying wine out on our patio, free
tours through the vineyard and production area, and our summer
concerts getting closer!
Celebrate this warm weather by joining us for our "Tunes at the
Tundra" concert series, every Saturday from June 22nd
through August 10th. The music lineup this year is
outstanding! We've even expanded our concerts to include food
vendors: Port O Call and Firefly Wood-fired Pizzas. Sit back, enjoy
the music, drink wine, and relax. What more could you ask for!?
One thing I really enjoy about Parallel 44 is that we're not
just about wine. Yes, we make amazing wine made with grapes grown
here in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. But we also educate people
about grape growing in Wisconsin, provide free concerts and
entertainment for our fans, get involved with community events, and
have a presence all across Wisconsin. We take pride in making the
finest quality Wisconsin wine and providing you
with an enjoyable experience every time you visit Parallel 44.
I remember living in Green Bay and not knowing much about
Parallel 44. Now that I work here, I can't believe I lived only 20
minutes away from such an amazing place and never knew it!
Most people hear 'located in Kewaunee' and their eyes glaze over.
But if they only knew that in just a short drive, they could be
walking up and down rows and rows of grape vines and immersing
themselves in wine country, they would probably be here in a
To make the trip even more worth it, check out the Stangelville
Trail. This wine, cheese, and meat trail is comprised of Parallel
44 Winery, Krohn's Dairy Store, and Konop's Meats, all whom provide
you with some of the best products around! The cheese curds
and hot sticks are amazing! Trust me, it's tough working right by
them without stopping in every week!
As the weather continues to warm up, I encourage you to visit
Parallel 44. Relax on the patio and stroll our vineyards. And of
course, drink some delicious, award-winning wines! Come see why I
love being at Parallel 44!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Four reasons I love
Parallel 44 wines
Being a newcomer to the wine
industry really is fantastic because of how exciting the various
facets of wine making can be. There is most definitely something to
be said about the anticipation of a new vintage as it comes off of
the bottling line. Nevertheless when it comes down to it I maintain
that the best part is the UNbottling line (my kitchen counter). So
let me briefly tell you four of the thousands of reasons I LOVE
LOVE LOVE the wines sold here at Parallel 44.
When it comes down to it, the
special cold climate grapes that we grow here in Northeast
Wisconsin generally lend themselves to creating wines that show
subtle (and sometime blatantly obvious and delicious) fruit
expressions. When I first entered the wine industry a couple of
years ago I was blown away at the number of combinations of flavors
that a single grape could produce. Frontenac grapes, for example,
are used in four of Parallel 44's red wines and expresses
everything from Blackberry & Currant to Sweet Cherry, and even
Chocolate! The commonality between the wines, however, is their
depth of flavor and rich bold personalities.
Our climate is special! Our
combination of grape varietals, weather, soil, and rainfall all
lead to dynamically crisp (and occasionally citric) wines! "This
broad slope associated with the escarpment is blanketed with
well-drained glacial sediments and influenced by unique
microclimates and weather patterns moderated by the escarpment and
by its proximity to the waters of Green Bay, Lake Winnebago and
Lake Michigan. This combination of factors mimics some of the best
grape-growing regions in the world, including that of Bordeaux,
France. Wineries associated with Wisconsin's escarpment already are
winning medals in national competitions." (http://dnr.wi.gov/wnrmag/2010/10/ledge.htm)
3. Food Friendly
Like food!? Me too. Finding a wine that compliments that special
dish you're making can sometimes be an exceedingly difficult and
intimidating endeavor. When winemaker Steve Johnson makes P44 wine,
not only is he thinking about the bouquet, color, and expression of
the wine, he's also worrying about how that wine will interact with
various foods (plus about a thousand other things). Our
wines bring out bouquets, flavors, and textures that wouldn't
generally be as noticeable in the wine or food alone.
4. Locally Grown and Fermented
When it all comes down to it
Parallel 44 is a family owned and operated agricultural business. I
can't speak for everyone but I'd much rather buy a wine from a
family in my community - especially if it can have a real and
positive impact. One can even drive out the winery and learn how
their wine came to be from ground to glass. Beyond that, Parallel
44 wines express the "Terroir" or "Sense of Place" of Northeast
Wisconsin! Our soil, our dynamic climate, the delicious
grapes….what else could a Wisconsinite ask for!? If you'd like to
experience Wisconsin like a Wisconsinite then take a spin out and
see what all the fuss is about. Is the drive too long? Check out
our online store above!
YOU'RE ALL FANTASTIC - Cheers!
Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery
Friday, March 08, 2013
My name is Maria and my husband, Steve, and I started Parallel
44 Vineyard and Winery back in 2005. My love of wine started much
earlier, however...I started to appreciate wine as a child when my
father had truck loads of grapes delivered to our garage where he
and his friends made wine together. The smell of the grapes being
crushed was intoxicating and the color of the juice was so vivid.
My father was born and raised in Italy, so wine was part of his
heritage. As a child, wine was enjoyed at meals and as part of
family celebrations - it was tradition! For my family, wine was
about conversation and enjoying each other's company. This
tradition lead to some of my greatest memories and joys that I have
carried into my adult life.
I met my husband Steve right after college and we quickly shared
our love of wine with one another. We even took our honey moon to
Napa Valley - it was a great memory. Although our careers in law
took us in a different direction, wine was still a source of
pleasure. This source of enjoyment lead us to wonder what it would
be like to grow grapes here in Wisconsin (the place where both of
us were born, spent our childhood, and now our adult lives!). When
we first looked into this venture in the late 90's, grape growing
in this cold climate was still in its infancy. After years of
researching grape growing and the right location to plant grapes,
we planted our first vines in 2005. After that, things went quickly
and we opened our winery in 2007, and are now into our almost 6th
year of business. It has been an adventure with ups and downs.
Although the romance of the industry can draw you in, we have been
able to temper it with practicality and I believe we have turned
this venture into a real business. We pride ourselves on making
well balanced Wisconsin and Upper Midwest wines that all people can
really enjoy. It is my personal hope that our wines are out there
creating joy, great conversation, and wonderful memories - just as
wine has for me!!
So you might ask… what do you do here at Parallel 44!?! My role
has evolved over the years and has included everything from chief
toilet scrubber to CEO! Quite the range, if I do say so myself. If
I actually had to define my role, I would say I am the person who
oversee it all and "gets it done." I have to add a disclaimer - I
do not make the wine or grow the grapes, but I have done everything
in between (with the assistance of Steve - who is the creative
one!!). Over the years, we have been lucky enough to bring some
amazing people on board (many of whom you have already heard from).
These people have assisted us greatly and have made Parallel 44 an
amazing venture that I am proud to be part of. I currently continue
to oversee the general operations of the business including the
financial operations, Marketing, and our brand management.
Steve and I also have three amazing children, who were only
babies when we started the winery, but that keeps me running all
the time - I am sure you parents out there can appreciate what I am
saying. When I am able to step back and think about it all (which I
hardly ever do) I have to admit, my life has been blessed with so
many amazing adventures. So until we speak again, wishing you great
adventures which hopefully include Parallel 44 wines!
Owner & CEO
Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery
Monday, March 04, 2013
Coming UP NEXT!
We'll be hearing from Parallel 44's Maria Milano! One of the
vineyard's owners, Maria will be talking about how she went about
fulfilling one of her favorite childhood dreams!