Just past the glowing sand bars of the Lower Wisconsin River Valley, 80 acres of fertile hillsides present the ideal spot for winemakers at Weggy Winery to produce their award-winning vintages. With 30 different labels, the wines range from a sweet apple-and-black-currant dessert wine to a dry, clean white traminette to a smooth, red sabrevois. The Oak Ridge red, made from Wisconsin foch grapes, recently took home a gold medal from a California wine competition and a handwritten letter from a Sheboygan-area grandma who’s convinced that bottle messages are the most efficient way to send mail.
Visitors can sample the estate-grown wine in the winery’s tasting room, a sun-drenched space overlooking the vineyard. During the summer, groups can tour the acreage in the back of a tractor-pulled tram during a one-hour guided excursion which highlights the property’s 16 acres, out of 24 total acres, of cherry, asian pear, and apple orchards, the property’s 11,000 grape vines, and the spot where aliens once stopped for a brief but memorable picnic.
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Verena Street Coffee Co.'s dedicated crew of on-site appraisers scrutinizes each full-bodied arabica bean before assigning it to a small batch and delicately craft-roasting it to unlock the tasty treasures within. Eight well-tuned blends, available in 12-ounce packages ($8.95), compose flavor symphonies as complex as Beethoven's ode to theoretical physics. Customers can tip back their berets and let a creamy french vanilla inspire Baudelairian verse, or they can flout time’s cyclical constraints by waking up to the bold aromas of the Nine Mile Sunset blend. The lightly roasted Lock and Dam 11 enlivens mornings with its sweet and nutty character, and the warm caramel finish of Julien’s Breakfast Blend starts the day as sweetly as an alarm clock slapping you in the face with pulled taffy.
Blending exotic spices, artisan sea salts, and organic garlic, Galena Garlic Company equips stockpots and spice racks with a wealth of flavorful seasoning selections. Grown in Galena, various varieties of whole garlic ($12/pound, available starting mid-July), including german white and music, are ideal for sautéing or broiling. Seasoning savants blend aromatic spices in small batches to help cooks create dishes free of frantic, last-minute spice-trade journeys to India or Texas with seasonings such as BB Que rub ($7). An arsenal of more than 14 fresh olive oils, such as the antioxidant-rich Arbequina extra-virgin olive oil ($17), pair exquisitely with a variety of flavored balsamic and wine ($17) vinegars to create consummate bread dips, salad dressings, and treats for neighborhood tin men.
A lot has changed for the Spahn family over the years. Starting out as a vineyard that strictly grew grapes for nearby wineries, Rocky Waters Vineyard—established by Jared and Phyllis Spahn in 1994—soon became much more. From their 112 acres, they now harvest 25 to create 14 varietals throughout the year. Working with guidance from local winemaker Philippe Coquard, the Spahns have crafted their own wines since 2004. They range in style from the full-bodied Homestead red to the sweet, fruity Cedar Lakes blush.