Take a look out over the rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin’s Green County, and you’ll find it hard to resist sitting down and staying a while. And what better way to enjoy a beautiful view than with a crisp glass of wine and a few friends by your side?
Winemakers took notice of Green County’s natural bounty – good soil and topography for growing grapes, and a thriving local cheese movement perfect for pairing – and chose the area to open their own stunning wineries complete with outdoor patios, live music, wood-fired pizzas and, of course, fantastic wines.
This summer, relax with a glass at these favorite local spots that are just a few of the reasons why Green County is one of the most unique wine-and-cheese destinations in the U.S.
Dog lovers: this one’s for you! Named after the owners’ beloved Goldendoodle, Bailey’s Run boasts one of Green County’s most spectacular views of lush forest and farmland and a creative selection of wines to complement it – everything from a rich red aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels to a spicy jalapeno white. (Feeling bold? Try it in a Bloody Mary.) A line of signature sparkling wines rounds out the list, and what better way to sip and take all the sights in on the expansive back porch or back lawn.
Spread out a blanket and make yourself comfortable. Bailey’s Run has a laid-back, friendly vibe and encourages guests to slow down and enjoy a glass of wine, a slice of brick-oven pizza made with local cheeses and sausage, and the pleasure of good company.
Live music on weekends keeps spirits high, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a curly-haired pup making friends around the grounds. It just might be Bailey herself!
Don’t Miss: Are you and your friends feeling fabulous? You can’t leave without tasting the sweet Lipstick rosé, which shimmers and sparkles with edible glitter!
Is there anything better than sipping wine overlooking a two acres of scenic vineyard? Of course, when you add alpacas to the experience. With all the makings of a first-class winery, Hawk's Mill has an adorable herd of alpacas happily at home among the grapes. Along with its award-winning wines, you’ll find an inviting cabin-like feel inside and picture-perfect views outside.
There’s few better ways to spend a summer afternoon than by snagging a spot on the back deck, ordering a glass of the fruit wine Hawk’s Mill is known for and soaking up the view of the valley, vines, and over 600 acres of pristine state park land – bonus points if you’re sipping the Alpaca Punch, a sweet raspberry wine named in honor of the vineyard’s fuzziest residents.
Don’t Miss: Can’t make it over to Browntown? No worries! Enjoy Hawk’s Mill wines at their second location, the Winehaus, in historic downtown New Glarus. While you're there, walk down the street to Maple Leaf Cheese and Chocolate Haus for a taste of artisan cheeses crafted at Green County creameries.
The hardest decision you’ll make on a visit to Minhas Winery is where to begin: Should you start with a tasting in the outdoor wine garden? How about a charcuterie board of Green County cheeses in the adjoining restaurant? Or maybe switch things up with a pint at the oldest brewery in the Midwest, Minhas Craft Brewery, located right across the street.
What began as the Monroe Brewing Company (est. 1845) is today a full beer, wine and spirits experience just steps from downtown Monroe’s Historic Courthouse Square, offering tours, tastings, live music and a fantastic atmosphere for enjoying drinks with friends. Try a glass of their signature Dragon’s Tears Sauvignon Blanc, or a cocktail flight made with craft spirits from the on-site distillery, as you savor an afternoon of Monroe’s local charm.
Don’t Miss: Alp and Dell Cheese Store is a showcase for artisan cheese from Monroe's Emmi Roth cheese factory. Operated by Swiss native (and yodeler!) Tony Zgraggen, the store features cheese from Emmi including World Champion Grand Cru Surchoix. There's a case devoted to more than 35 different varieties of Cheddar, plus a collection of "stinky" favorites, like locally crafted Limburger.
Plan your trip to Green County this summer!
This article was written in partnership with Green County.