Parallel 44 receives back-to-back ‘Winery of the Year’ recognition
By Paige Grzenia
KEWAUNEE – Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery located in Kewaunee was recently awarded “Winery of the Year for 2023.”
This is the second year in a row that they have won this award.
They were also honored with the same award in 2017.
They achieved this by receiving the most medals at The International Cold Climate Competition, where 21 judges tasted more than 361 wines.
This competition is the only one exclusively-dedicated to the wines made from grapes designed to withstand the winters of the upper Midwest, northeast and parts of Canada.
Started in 2005, Parallel 44 is run by husband and wife, Steve Johnson and Maria Milano, who both had a passion for winemaking.
Parallel 44 is geographically located on the 44th latitude, and when asked how they came up with the name Parallel 44, winemaker and owner Steve Johnson said, “On this latitude, if you cross this line across the ocean you end up walking through Tuscany, Italy and Bordeaux, France which are the premium wines of the world.”
Parallel 44 has an eclectic variety of about 25 wines that include red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, as well as an ice wine. Authentic ice wine can only be made in a few locations in the world, with Wisconsin being one of them, as the grapes must freeze on the vine before they can be picked.
Johnson said that the popularity of certain wines depends on the season.
In the spring and summer, the most popular are the Frozen Tundra White, Frozen Tundra Original, white, and rosé.
In the fall and winter, the most popular are the Frozen Tundra Red, Petite Pearl, and Marquette.
When asked about what makes Parallel 44 unique from other wineries, Johnson said, “We take great pride in the fact that we are the largest producer of Wisconsin-grown wine, so everything we produce comes from either a vineyard in Door County, Kewaunee County, or from eight other growers that I work with across the state.”
Johnson invites people to visit the winery between now and the middle of October to see the process of the grapes being made into wine.
“The reality is that less than 1% of the state has had wines from these grapes,” remarked Johnson.
Parallel 44 has locations in Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay.
For more information, visit www.44wineries.com.