Wineries a booming business in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's summers are sweet, but short so it may come as a surprise that wineries are big business.

Corn and cows; they're  synonymous with Wisconsin farming, but thanks to a relatively new variety of cold hardy grapes you can add wine to that list too. 

\"French-American hybrids that can number one handle our winter but also ripen in a shorter growing season and third and most importantly they make fabulous wine ,\" said Joe Staller, co-owner of Staller Estates Winery. 

But hybrid grapes don't scare Staller and his wife; he's a chemist by trade, and the two are using their scientific backgrounds to turn these special grapes into great wine. 

\"We can take those grapes and make different styles of wine based on the fermentation processes we use, the strains of yeast and oak we use, \" said Staller.

Which Staller and his wife have down to a science, with more than 15 varieties of red, white and port wines. He says the biggest difference in Wisconsin wine happens while it's still on the vine. 

\"So we have to do a better job, be much more critical. We're out there on a daily basis making sure that the grapes have the right sun exposure that they ripen property be we have a much shorter chance to make excellent wine, \" he said. 

The grapes are different, so what does that mean for the taste? 

\"I compare it to plucking an apple out of your backyard versus buying it at a grocery store in the middle of winter. The flavor is completely different and wine is the same way. You get a fresh wine and they're as fresh as you'll be able to get them,\" Staller said. 

And in fact there's some wines you can only get in Wisconsin.

\"Ice wine is made from frozen grapes that have to be naturally frozen on the vine. It doesn't happen on the first snowfall. It's something you can only do in Wisconsin,\" Staller said. 

Besides the unique flavor, Staller says these wineries are helping farmers diversify their crop and he hopes their success will encourage wineries to take root in other, non-traditional parts of the country.

\"You're really seeing the US develop a wine industry similar to the European wine industry. Germany has certain styles of wine which is different from France from Spain, from Italy, each region has their own distinction.. You're seeing that happen in the US,\" he said. . 

Like most local wineries, Staller wine is only available at the farm, so you can truly experience the farm to table movement for yourself.

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