You Put Ice in Your Wine?!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

wine with ice

See, swirl, sniff…and be sophisticated.  That's what wine is about, right?  Wine is about being able to describe the bouquet as earthy with a hint of toast and to enjoy the full-bodied oaked wine that has a spiciness in its finish.  It's about savoring the intensity of the tannins as you aerate the wine through your teeth.

Is that really what wine is about?  Not here at Parallel 44.  Here, we want everyone to experience and enjoy wine.  Whether you're a wine connoisseur or brand new to the world of wine, we invite everyone in to explore their taste with us.  Many people come in saying they don't know much about wine, almost apologizing as if it's a huge flaw.  You don't have to know anything about wine to enjoy it!  In fact, I love when people walk in with a novice palate.  It allows me to introduce them to wines made with grapes grown here in Wisconsin without them having a preconception of what wine "should" be like.

I always tell people that there is no right or wrong when it comes to wine.  What one person may smell or taste in a wine, may be completely different from the next person.  It doesn't mean that one person is right and the other is wrong.  It simply shows that everyone is different. People come in and sheepishly admit that they put ice in their wine.  Ice in their wine?!  How terrible!  But is it really?  So what if you enjoy all your reds chilled?  So what if you make a spritzer with your wine?  I tell everyone that wine should be consumed the way you enjoy it.  If you don't like warm red wine, toss an ice cube in it.  Here at Parallel 44, we would be the last to turn up our noses at you.

We use the phrase, "Explore your Taste" with us because we want you to expand your boundaries, try new wines, and experience what Wisconsin wines have to offer.  If you take a bottle home and put ice in it, well as long as you're still enjoying it, that's what matters.  You don't need to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy our wines.  You just need to explore your taste to find which bottle of wine (or two or three!) you're going to take home.  So we encourage everyone, regardless of your wine experience, to stop in at our winery and see what we have to offer.  You'd be surprised at how delicious Wisconsin wines really are!

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Nearing the End of the 2014 Grape Harvest

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Greetings from the vineyard! We nearing the end of harvest season, and so far I am proud to report that we have been having an excellent harvest. In a year where most vineyards in the state are reporting lower harvest numbers, we are pulling in a bumper crop. We pulled in almost 6 tons of Frontenac last weekend, one of our highest harvests ever!

Steve Bob and the grapes

I would like to thank everyone who has been coming out and helping us harvest for the past month. You all have done a great job! We couldn't do it without you.



We have only two varieties left to be harvested, Petite Pearl and our wild grapes. Wait, I have to correct myself. There are three varieties left to be harvested. We are leaving 4 rows of our white grape Louise Swenson to be harvested this winter for...SPOILER ALERT...icewine!

This will be the first time that we're using this grape for a late harvest or icewine, in the past we've used St. Pepin for those wines. Louise Swenson makes a delicious icewine reminiscent of peach nectar. I can't wait. It almost makes me wish winter would come faster...
winter scene2

Until next time



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Sam's Introduction

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hi everyone, as the newest addition to Parallel 44, I feel like I should probably take a few minutes to introduce myself. Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Sam and I am Parallel 44's new Marketing Associate. Now, you are probably wondering what a marketing associate does, well my job is more or less to promote the Parallel 44 and Door 44 brands. My duties include managing social media sites, overseeing and updating our website and blog, creating promotional materials and well I could go on forever, but to make a long list short, basically I handle anything and everything related to marketing.



So how did I ended up here at Parallel 44. Let's start off with where I'm from, I grew up right in between Parallel 44 and Door 44, in Algoma. I recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, with a degree in Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis. Prior to coming to Parallel I worked for 8 years in the retail industry.

During college my two internships focused heavily on digital marketing. After graduating from college, I work for as a marketing coordinator, at grocery store that was starting a digital marketing program. After establishing their marketing program I began searching for a marketing opportunity where I could follow my real passion, traditional marketing. As Fate would have it I ended up at Parallel 44. Where I get to opportunity to utilize the digital marketing skills that I already have and also get to do traditional marketing.

Now I'm going to be completely honest, I never would have predicted that I would end up working for a winery, let alone a winery in Wisconsin.  Now that I'm here though, I won't be leaving anytime soon. While the setting and view are truly beautiful they aren't what will be keeping me in this industry for years to come.
Walk up
There is a lot of work to be done in regards to marketing in this industry. While, marketing in any industry is key, in the wine industry marketing is really is truly crucial part; the wine industry is fractured, market shares are small and more wineries are opening all the time. Building a brand and promoting it is one of the keys needed for success in this industry, well along with having a great product.

As a winery in Wisconsin we have our own unique set of advantages and disadvantage when it comes to marketing, but we can dig into that topic more in a future post. Well I guess this is all I really have to say for this introduction post.
Until next time, Cheers!



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Wisconsin Wines Win

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wisconsin Wines Win!!!

We would just like to take a few moments to express our excitement and gratitude over the recent announcement of awards from the Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition. Last month, we were pleased to learn that our La Crescent wine won Best Wisconsin Wine.  In addition to receiving Best Wisconsin White Wine, we were also awarded Best Wisconsin Red Wine for our Petite Pearl and Best Wisconsin Sparkling Wine for our Bubbler.

One of the reasons this competition was so important to us is that this competition focused on wines that were grown and produced here in Wisconsin.  It has always been our mission to provide you with Wisconsin wines from 'vine to glass' and this competition highlights this goal.

We submitted 24 wines from both Parallel 44 and Door 44 and all 24 wines received a medal.  We are very grateful for this and we want to thank you for your support in our mission of growing and producing Wisconsin wine from vine to glass.  It is this focus, and your appreciation of it, that will lead us soon to putting Wisconsin on the map for some of the best wines in the world.

2014 Awards

Thank you and Cheers!

Steve and Maria

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Any Time is Bubbler Time!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

This recent warm weather is doing wonders for my mood and for our grapes!  Summer now seems a possibility and sitting on the patio with a glass of refreshing Bubbler is quickly becoming my new favorite hobby.

I must admit, my new favorite wine is Door 44 Bubbler!  I have always been a sparkling wine fan and am in favor of drinking sparkling wine on a regular basis.  Steve and I often share a bottle of sparkling wine at home and are never too shy to order one when we dine out.  I always smile when the waiter pops the cork and neighboring tables look over and inquiry about the special occasion.  I smile and like to tell people that we are just celebrating life!

Sparkling wine, with its effervescences, is so refreshing, and it really is the perfect pairing with cheese, seafood, sushi, green salads and more (I personally can pair it with anything!).  So those of you who are still set on its celebratory characteristics, I encourage you to grab a bottle of Bubbler and treat every day as a cause for celebration.


Maria, Owner

Maria with Bubbler


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Words from the Vineyard

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So what's been going on in the vineyard?  Well I've been busy pruning all of the vines and I am happy to report that I'm over 3/4 done already!  I might have been all done already had the weather been more agreeable, but the cold weather has not only been slowing down my progress, it's been slowing the grapevines' as well, so I'm not in any danger of falling behind.  Until the daytime temperatures get to and stay over 50 degrees, the vines aren't going to start budding out anytime soon.  As much as I personally would like things to warm up (doesn't everybody?!), the vineyard manager in me is kind of happy that we've eased into spring.  The longer into spring it takes the grapes to bud out, the less likely they are to get nipped by a late spring frost.  Considering that our vines have gotten slightly singed by late spring frosts the past two seasons, I would welcome a season where our crop isn't reduced by frost.  You should too.  More grapes = more wine!


Pruned Vines


Vineyard Manager / Cellar Assistant

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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


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!



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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!


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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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