Driftless Wisconsin Wine & Cheese Trail Launches October 13-15, 2017

Activities planned at 14 wineries and creameries throughout Southwest Wisconsin

The Driftless Wisconsin Wine & Cheese Trail premieres October 13, 14 and 15, with special activities at each of fourteen businesses. This new collaboration between the state’s renowned dairy industry and its growing wine industry invites travellers to visit estate wineries and local creameries, tasting wine and sampling cheeses that have received national and international acclaim. The Trail is made possible through a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin matching grant through the WI-DATCP.
The Trail is comprised of these businesses located roughly between Madison and La Crosse. The route provides a tour of the stunning natural beauty of Southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, even more beautiful in autumn as the rolling hills glow with fall colors.

Baraboo Bluff Winery, Baraboo
Branches Winery, Westby
Rock N Wool Winery, Poynette
Spurgeon Vineyards and Winery, Highland
Weggy Winery, Muscoda
Wollersheim Winery & Distillery, Prairie du Sac
Vernon Vineyards, Viroqua

Arena Cheese, Arena
Carr Valley Cheese, LaValle
Cedar Grove Cheese, Plain
Organic Valley, Cashton Retail Store
Pasture Pride Cheese Cashton
Westby Creamery, Westby
Nordic Creamery, Westby

Travelers can visit these locations year-round, but will receive a special welcome on Trail Event Weekends when each business will be open from 10 – 5 pm each day and will offer activities such as tasting specials, discounts, entertainment, tours, etc. One example of activities planned for the Trail Debut Weekend October 13, 14 & 15, 2017 is the “Fall Fun Weekend” at Pasture Pride Cheese in Cashton.  Morgan Meyer, store manager, explains they will be featuring cheese tasting, local vendor booths, and family-friendly activities.

Another example is the free wine and cheese pairings offered at Spurgeon Vineyards and Winery in Highland.  According to Owner Mary Spurgeon, “This Trail is the epitome of Southwest Wisconsin – wine and cheese.  The quality of both is so amazing. We can’t wait to share our incredible tastes and stories.” 

For additional information about the activities at each location go to www.driftlesswinecheesetrail.com.   
The Trail Weekends are free to attend; normal tasting fees and other fees may apply.   In addition to the upcoming launch weekend in October, two additional Trail Event Weekends are scheduled for next year: April 13, 14 & 15, 2018 and October 12, 13 & 14, 2018.

“This Trail will encourage people living in the area to discover new businesses. It will also bring people from all over the state to the Driftless Region and make agritourism a delicious, educational, fun, and personal experience,” according to Therese Bergholz, owner, Branches Winery and trail director. “Visitors will have the chance to see vineyards and talk to the winemakers. They can watch cheese being made from local milk while talking to the cheesemakers. This is more than simply a chance to taste and purchase wine and cheese. It’s a chance to learn what it takes to grow and produce award-winning products while meeting the families you support when you shop local.”

The Driftless Wine & Cheese Trail Brochure, available at each participating business, offers a passport program where consumers can earn a stamp at each business when they make a purchase.  When they have collected all 14 stamps, they can redeem their completed passport for a VIP Discount Card for future purchases.

Part of what makes this trail particularly interesting is that the participating businesses range from small- to medium-sized family wineries and creameries to Organic Valley, a $1B international organic co-op. Each has a unique story to tell and unique products to sample. The Trail offers multiple options for award winning cheeses including organic cheese and goat cheese. Wineries too offer an outstanding range of products, created from estate-grown cold-climate grapes and other fruits. Wines range from dry, oaked red wines to sweet white dessert wines, with many delicious offerings in between.

More information about the Trail can be found at driftlesswinecheesetrail.com and Facebook.com/driftlesswinecheesetrail.  The Trail office is located at E6796 Old Line Road, Westby WI 54667.  Phone 608-634-9463; email driftlesswinecheesetrail@gmail.com.