Stomp those grapes, try those wines: Harvest Fest set for Sept. 8 at Parallel 44 Winery
KEWAUNEE – With harvest time almost here, Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery is ready to celebrate the months it spent pruning, pulling and managing its 10 acres of vines with its annual Harvest Fest on Sept. 8.
Visitors who go to Harvest Fest can take winemaker-guided tours, check out the vineyard by wagon ride, stomp on buckets of grapes, sample the wares of local food trucks, listen to live Dixieland jazz on the winery's patio, visit and shop at a craft fair, and, of course, taste some of Wisconsin’s most-awarded, locally grown and produced wines. Games will be offered for children at the kid-friendly festival, along with the wagon rides through the vineyard. .A raffle for gift certificates will be held.
Winemaker and Parallel 44 co-owner Steve Johnson will lead tours of the vineyard and production facility at 1, 2 and 4 p.m.
The grape stomp is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., and anyone interested can take part.
The winery is offering event-day-only special sales for those looking to stock their wine racks. Guests can get a $5 discount on purchases of four bottles of wine, $10 off a six-bottle purchase, or 20 percent off a 12-bottle purchase.
Food will be for sale by the Taste of Ethiopia and Caribbean Cruiser food trucks, both based in the Green Bay area. Some proceeds from Taste of Ethiopia go to programs to fight poverty, illiteracy and hunger in that African country.
Popular area Dixieland band Kevin Van Ess and The Talk of the Town performs from 12:30 to 2:30 and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Parallel 44 was started in 2005 by the husband-and-wife team of Steve Johnson and Maria Milano. Johnson grew up in Green Bay, where his father experimented with growing grapes in Wisconsin well before the state developed a significant wine culture. Milano's Italian-born father made wine for family celebrations.
The winery is on the 44th latitude, the same as the storied wine regions of Bordeaux, France and Tuscany, Italy — thus the name Parallel 44. It’s located in the American Viticultural Area known as the Wisconsin Ledge Appellation for the Niagara Escarpment that dominates the landscape in the region. The 35-acre estate includes more than 7,000 vines and counting.
Parallel 44’s cold-hardy grape vines can withstand minus 30-degree temperatures in the winter and still rebound beautifully in the summer. There are more than 20 wines in its current lineup, available at the winery, through its website and at select retailers and restaurants throughout Wisconsin.
In 2013, Johnson and Milano opened another winery, Door 44, on the northern outskirts of Sturgeon Bay. Door 44 also specializes in wines made from grapes grown in Wisconsin.
Parallel 44 was named Winery of the Year in 2017 by the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association and the International Cold Climate Wine Competition, along with earning Wisconsin Winery of the Year recognition at the 2017 International Wine Competition.
Among recent awards for Parallel 44 and Door 44 wines, its Ice Wine was named Best Wisconsin Wine at the 2018 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition and 2018 Wine Is Wisconsin Competition; it also was given 95 points by Tastings.com in the 2018 Midwest Wine Challenge.
Its Frozen Tundra White was named a Top 40 Wine of the World at the 2017 Ultimate Wine Challenge, and other Parallel 44 wines have earned Best Wisconsin and Best Overall Wine honors since 2014 in the yearly Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition.
Harvest Fest takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery, N2185 Sleepy Hollow Road, Kewaunee. Admission is $8 at the door (no advance ticket sales) and includes five samples, a logo glass and drawing slip. For more information, call 920-388-4400 or go to parallel44.com
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Stomp those grapes, try those wines: Harvest Fest set for Sept. 8 at Parallel 44 Winery