When woodcarver Kim Bredeson crafted a mantel for an employee of the Robert Mondavi Winery, he received a bottle of Opus One as thanks. For Kim and his wife, Tami, the bottle uncorked a five-year fascination with wine that culminated in the Bredeson's purchase of Carlos Creek Winery. On grounds surrounded by five lakes—Ida, L'Homme Dieux, Miltona, Darling and Carlos—the Bredeson's plant unorthodox grape varieties such as King of the North and Petite Pearl, all of which can withstand temperatures 30 degrees and below. Those grapes eventually yield Carlos Creek Winery's award-winning wines, including the riesling-like Wobegon White and the pinot noir-inspired Marquette, a triple gold medal winner at the sixth annual Mid-American Wine Competition.
As Kim leads tours of the vineyards and complementary tours through Carlos Creek Winery's indoor production area and wine cellar, the staff distributes samples and souvenir tasting glasses in the tasting room. Guests can tap their toes to year-round live music every weekend or explore the winery's expansive grounds, which include bike trails, a 3.5-acre maze, and a giant garden chess set, ideal for convincing Bobby Fischer he's shrinking. Every third weekend of September, Kim and Tami amp up the festivities with their Grape Stomp and Fall Festival, where visitors can stomp grapes, admire blown glass and chainsaw carvings, and laugh along to live comedy shows.
Jason Lybeck and his team aren't just purveyors of outdoor sporting goods or even just boat repairmen. More importantly, they're also riders. They've carved through powder, darted through streets on longboards, and shredded the surface of the state's many lakes for pro competitions and personal challenges alike. At the Faction shop, they share their passion for extreme sports with others through lessons or gear for rent or sale. In the winter, prepare for snowy slopes with snowboards, goggles, and other equipment. When the temperature rises, hit the water with Surftech standup paddleboards, wakeboards, and tubes.
Lessons take that preparation one step further. Lybeck is a sponsored professional wake surfer himself, having traveled and competed in many championships. He uses this experience to teach lessons suited to all experience levels.
In celebration of its hearty, handcrafted wines, Glacial Ridge Winery hosts the Annual Grape Stomp amid the five acre apple orchard on its grounds. Duos can flash VIP sipping passports valid for express check-in to receive a pair of personal wine glasses, and saunter up to tasting stations throughout the grounds, where they may each sample 12 of the winery's specialty flavors, including the denim-overalls varietal. Crafted on-site, these wines range from the complex and smoky Green Lake Girl cabernet and the Sippin' From a Slipper white wine—a silver medal winner at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition—to the sweet Jimmy Appleseed apple wine, which is concocted from a blend of five apples plucked from the on-site apple orchard. In addition to the tasting, the Grape Stomp hosts live music and a grape-stomping contest in which participants team up to plod through buckets of future wine.