Wednesday, July 15, 2015
It is with great pride that we can announce that we received the
Best in Show Professional Wine Award two weeks ago at the
5th annual Wisconsin Professional Wine
Competition. This was the second year in a row that Petite
Pearl won Best Wisconsin Red wine and Best Overall Wine. We
also received Best in Show for our second year in a row with our
Door 44 wine Bubbler as Best Sparkling Wine. Also receiving
Best in Show designation was our Frozen Tundra Original.
Overall, all 25 wines that we entered from both Parallel 44 and
Door 44 wineries received a medal.
What I find very gratifying is that we received the most medals
of any winery for wines made from Wisconsin grown grapes. The
competition is focused primarily on wines made from Wisconsin grown
grapes. The judges hailed from the Midwest and were familiar
with cold climate grapes. The 187 wines in this competition
were evaluated on 10 attributes in a blind taste. A Double
Gold requires a unanimous decision by the judging panel and we were
awarded Double Golds for Petite Pearl, Marquette, Bubbler, La
Crescent, Seyval Blanc, Frozen Tundra White, and Frozen Tundra
Even though we did really well, we will not be resting on our
laurels as we are on a mission to create world class wine that just
happens to come from Wisconsin. I also want to thank our
growers for their excellent work because as both growers and
winemakers here at Parallel 44 and Door 44 we know that world class
wine is grown more than it is made.
I invite you to grab some of these bottles before these wines
are gone and raise a glass with me to toast the great 2014 vintages
and to hope for future great vintages!
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
My name is Jessica, and I am the newest team member to be
added to Parallel 44 where I will be the Hospitality and Wine Club
I grew up in a small suburb of Milwaukee named Brown Deer. After
high school I headed off to the University of Wisconsin - Eau
Claire where I received my Bachelor's degree in Business
Administration. I concentrated on General Management but also
received two certificates in Leadership Studies and
Organizational Communication. I was also fortunate enough to study
abroad in Winchester, England for a semester. Outside of
living in England, I traveled to multiple countries including
France and Italy. I grew so much from this experience and felt that
I really got to Explore My Taste just like Maria and Steve feel
about their wineries.
After graduating in May, I took a couple of weeks off to travel and
recuperate before starting this newest chapter of my life. I moved
to De Pere at the end of June and started working just two days
after. The kindness that I've felt from not only Steve, Maria, and
the Parallel 44 staff but also the community members, has made me
feel more than welcome into my new work and home life. I am so
excited for what's to come and the experiences I will be able to
share with you!
I can't wait to meet you during your next visit to Parallel 44!
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Greetings from the vineyard!
Working in the vineyard has become much more pleasant lately the
past couple of weeks as the vines are in full bloom. It's not
so much because the grape flowers are beautiful, they are rather
simple and unspectacular blossoms, but the perfume from the flowers
smells great. One doesn't even have to get up close to the flowers
to smell, just strolling through the vineyard is enough to
appreciate the olfactory delight that fills one's nostrils.
I'm often asked if I'm worried about bee colony collapse and the
resulting drop in the bee population. My answer is generally, yes,
but specifically related to grapes, no I'm not worried at
all. Bees are completely unnecessary to the pollination of
grapes as grapes are pollinated by the wind. Bees or no bees,
there will be wine.
Talking about the perfume of grape flowers reminds me of a bit of
tasting room etiquette that I'd like to pass along. I'm not in the
tasting room all too often, but occasionally when I'm in there I'm
hit with a wall of perfume or cologne. Now judicious application of
perfume or cologne in many a social situation is completely
acceptable and pleasant. However, when going to a wine tasting or
just enjoying a bottle of wine in company, it is not recommended.
Why? Because the wearing of perfume doesn't only interfere with
your enjoyment of the wine, but the enjoyment of those around you
as well because perfume's aromatics are - as they are intended -
perceivable to you and others in the room.
Most of the enjoyment of wine comes from the smell and taste, and
75% of what humans perceive as taste is actually
informed upon by the sense of smell, so it would stand to reason
that cologne would greatly impact what one experiences from a glass
of wine. Case in point, I was out for dinner not too long ago, and
somebody handed me their glass of wine to smell because they said
it seemed "off," they may or may not have been right, I couldn't
tell because all I could smell after they handed me the glass was
If you think about a typical perfume application location, the
wrist, this makes perfect sense, and this is likely why they
thought they had a bad glass of wine. So the next time you're going
out for a wine tasting, please forgo the cologne and perfume, the
wine will taste all the better!
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I know it seems unusual to be talking about Ice wine in the
middle of summer, but the vintage of 2014 has just been bottled and
I am looking forward to its release. Wine Club members
already have had the chance to pre-purchase this wine and the
general public will be able to purchase starting July 18. I am very
proud of the release of this 2014 Ice Wine from our estate
vineyard. We here in Wisconsin are one of the very few places
on earth that can produce authentic ice wine.
Authentic ice wine requires that the grapes be literally frozen
on the vine before they can be harvested. Generally you need
about 3 days in a row where temperatures don't exceed 20
degrees. The grapes are then crushed and pressed while still
frozen. The reasons for this is that the freezing process
freezes the water inside and what is pressed out is just the highly
concentrated essence of the grapes' sugars and acids.
We had an unusually early cold snap this past winter and we were
picking these grapes early in the morning of November 21 at a
temperature of 7 degrees. After pressing the nearly 1500
pounds of frozen grapes we were left with about 600 half bottles of
This is Wisconsin in a bottle, and I like to call it the sweet
nectar of the Frozen Tundra. My impressions of it so far it
expresses notes of honey, apple, and apricot. I look forward to get
it into competitions and see how it stacks up against other ice
wines of the world.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a new member of the Parallel
44 family! I am excited to start my new career as the office
manager at the greatest winery in the area!
A little background on myself, I grew up in Green Bay, WI
and the largest move I have made was to Howard, a suburb of the
city. I have a wonderful boyfriend, Cody and an amazing 7 year old
son, Talon. We also have 2 cockapoos, Bella and Brewer.
My past work experience is quite diversified. I have been
a multi-store retail manager, I also owned an insurance agency for
a few years, and now I have been drawn to the wine business. I am
so excited to learn firsthand, the process of winemaking. I am also
thrilled to be able to use my knowledge with office and retail
management and blend it with a new passion of mine, wine! I also
currently am a first year student at a local technical college and
studying Human Resources. I love to learn new skills and make a
difference for a locally owned business.
I am so thankful that Maria, Steve, and the rest of the
Parallel's family has taken me under their wing! I hope to bring a
lot of positivity and knowledge to our office and I cannot wait to
learn and explore the new adventure in front of me, with a glass of
I look forward to meeting all of you!
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Although every season is a good for pairing food and wine,
Summer, with it lighter food offerings seems to be perfect for
pairing refreshing crisp white or rosé wines. In summer, we
tend to eat lighter and simpler -- fresh garden salads, grilled
vegetables, fresh fruit, and simple cheese platters. A crisp
cool wine offers a refreshing option for these light foods.
There is nothing better than the look of condensation on an elegant
wine glass, and savoring that first cool sip of wine. Add in
a comfortable patio chair, an outdoor view, and some nice music,
and you'll agree that nothing could be more relaxing!
White wines tend to have a crisper finish than reds, which
leaves our palates feeling more refreshed. When we eat a food, our
palate is coated with the flavors of that food. The
crisp finish on a white wine washes over our palate and intermixes
with the food, creating a unique food and wine pairing
experience. If a wine is too heavy, it can overpower the
flavors of the food. So for lighter foods, a lighter wine
offers that perfect combination of flavor and body.
If you crave a wine with a little more fruit quality but the
same crispness and food pairing quality of a white, rosés are also
a nice summer option. Rosés are once again becoming a popular
wine style and the offerings are far more expansive than the once
limited White Zinfandel. Stroll the rosé section of
your favorite wine retailer and you will find rosés that come from
many different regions (including a nice selection of local rosés)
and that are made from a wide variety of grapes. Summer is a
great time to explore your taste and try a rosé!
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Growing up my grandma use to say that only in Wisconsin
can you have all four seasons in a week. While we didn't get a dose
of all four season in one week, we did definitely experienced all
fours seasons in the month of May. We had everything from cold and
rainy to humid and sunny and everything in between. However, for
the time being it looks like Mother Nature has finally calmed down
and is going to give start giving us some nice weather just in time
for the start of summer.
Which is great because summer really is my favorite time of
year. Summer is when everyone wants to be out doing something with
either family or friends. For me this means a lot of cookouts and
gatherings with family and friends. This summer I plan on using our
Wine of the Month, Glacier Fumé as my go to white wine. Glacier
Fumé is a great summer wine, because it is a crisp, refreshing
sweet wine that can be enjoyed by itself or with your next cookout.
Personally I enjoy serving Glacier Fumé with barbecued pork,
grilled chicken breasts or and sort of seafood, especially shrimp.
Now is an excellent time to stock up. As an added bonus this month
you will also get two FREE wine glasses when you purchase two
bottles of Glacier Fume.
If you haven't tried Glacier Fumé yet I suggest that you take
advantage of the next nice day and come pay a visit to the winery
and try this excellent wine. While you're here, take a few minutes
and enjoy a glass of wine while sitting on the patio. I know
that's where I'll be, once I figure out how to get my desktop to
work out on the patio.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
So last week Wednesday during the wee hours of the morning,
our vines were going through some tough weather. The
temperature in the vineyard dropped into the mid-twenties.
While the vines themselves can take that, young tender shoots are
vulnerable. Unfortunately, our vines had started to grow out
their new shoots for this season. The frost last week did
definitely kill many young buds and shoots. Frost events are
not absolute, that is a vine might lose a certain percentage of
young primary shoots to frost but still have a good deal of shoots
that somehow don't get killed by frost. (Don't ask me why. I
don't understand either. You would expect if it's cold enough
to kill one shoot on a vine, all the other ones would die too, but
they don't. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that it is not so
absolute!) Some vines fared better than others, and we will see a
drop in how many grapes we get this year from some parts of the
That's the bad news. The good news is that grapes, unlike
cherry or apple trees have backups. If a cherry tree is hit
with a late spring frost, and all of the blossoms are killed by
frost, its game over for that season - no cherries until next
year. If some of a grapevine's shoots are killed by a frost,
the vine has two more buds right next to the dead shoot ready to
go. Those backup buds are like a baseball player on the bench
ready to fill in should a starting player go down with an
injury. Just as in baseball, the backups aren't as good as
the starter is typically. Backup grape buds tend to have
fewer and smaller flower clusters, and therefore yield less
fruit. That said, having a lesser backup is much better than
having no backup!
The vines aren't the only ones with a plan for when the worst
happens. I too have employed strategy in anticipation of
frost events. When doing dormant pruning in winter I leave
extra shoots and therefore buds on the vines. In seasons
where we don't get a late spring frost I have to remove those
shoots or there would be too much fruit for the vine to
handle. In frost seasons like this one I tie down those
shoots to help replace buds that were lost to frost. While
things might have looked downright dark last Wednesday morning,
things will green up, the backup buds will start to push this week,
I will tie down the backup canes, and we'll be off for the season,
maybe a little beat up, but there will be grapes!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in
service of the United States of America. Customarily the last
Monday in May, this day also marks the unofficial start of summer
picnics and barbeques for many.
Memorial Day grew out of Decoration Day observances, which began
after the Civil War. In those days, families gathered from far and
wide at the end of May to visit cemeteries where lost soldiers had
been laid to rest. They cleaned tombstones and "decorated" with
planted flowers. Veterans' graves received special decoration with
the placement of small American flags. After the somber visits,
more joyful picnics and cookouts followed back at home. The
symbolic tradition continues on today.
How do you typically spend your Memorial Day? Mine is usually
spent with family and friends. We take an annual trip up to
Jacksonport, Door County for Maifest. Among the parade, music,
food, run, art fair, and activities, we make the trip to attend the
horse pull, a hobby that extends many generations in my
family. The weekend is filled with Red Remembrance Poppies,
American Flags, and a visit to my church's cemetery to watch the
vets give their gun salute to the fallen soldiers. The scent of
brats and burgers on the grill certainly cannot be missed.
Of course, we can't forget the wine. Parallel 44 wines are
essential for all of your summer cookouts, parties, picnics, and
more. Here's my list of the top 5 wines that are delicious and pair
perfectly with the brats and burgers frying on the grill this
- Vin Du Nord- semi-sweet wine with a sweet cherry flavor,
offers the fruit forward expression of a white wine and the nuanced
complexity of a red
- Nouveau Rouge- semi-sweet red with notes of raspberry and
strawberries that give way to a black cherry finish, flavor is
slightly drier at room temperature and fruitier when
- Frozen Tundra Original- sweet and tart expressions of
- Frozen Tundra Red- semi-sweet red, begins with a cherry
aroma and finishes with flavors of blackberry, currant, and
- Red Door- easy drinking dry red with earthy undertones,
flavors of black cherries, and a smooth finish
Stop in this weekend to try these wines plus many more! We
would love to be a part of your Memorial Day
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Last night was a worrisome night for me as we got precipitously
close to frost damage. I checked the temperature at the vineyard
every 15 minutes from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. It reached a low of
36.5 F at 5:40 a.m. Until the vines were greeted by the rays
of early morning sun light and the temperatures began to creep out
of the danger zone.
Most visitors to our vineyard and winery are surprised to hear
me say that I worry much more about the vines in May than I do when
it is 25 below zero in January and February. These vines can
withstand subzero temperatures quite well, but they don't' fare
well when we have frost in early to mid-May.
Now that the buds have swelled and opened, the unfurling leaves
are very prone to the killing impact of frost. While a frost
will not kill the vine, it will kill the primary bud which contains
the clusters of fruit for this year's vintage. This is
devastating in two ways. One is that we would have a very
minimal crop, the second, is that the labor involved through the
rest of season would need to continue but with no payoff of a
vintage to harvest in September.
We dodged a bullet last night and it looks like we are probably
in the clear for the rest of the season. Three years ago we
suffered severe frost damage in May of 2012. As I have said
before, wine growing is farming and as a farmer you have to roll
with the ups and downs of season variability.
So tonight as you enjoy a glass of wine from Parallel 44 and
Door 44 join me with a toast of thanksgiving that 2015 looks to be
on track for a terrific vintage.