Small Towns: Parallel 44 Winery in Kewaunee

KEWAUNEE, Wis. - Many haven't had the opportunity to take in the small town feel of Kewaunee, and many more haven't been able to taste what the region can produce.

"We started this in 2005, and our mantra has always been a world class wine from locally grown grapes. We sort of pioneered this notion that we can develop a regional wine style that makes something beyond these borders."

Dignitaries from China recently traveled from China to check out the vines at Parallel 44 to see if they could replicate the process of growing their grapes back home.

"I think compared with certain regions in China, the climate is similar. I think maybe one day we can introduce this variety to our country."

"Initially, people thought we were crazy and they probably still do, but this part of the world here, the Northeast Wisconsin region, is one of the newest wine regions of the country that's been recognized, and it has great potential because we're on the Wisconsin ledge."

Along the 44th parallel, conditions for grape growth stay more or less the same across the globe. That's why folks from China took the tour in Wisconsin.

"Sort of a cross cultural sharing of methods here. We're realizing we have more in common than we have different from each other."

In China, they have been burying their plants every winter to protect their prized vines from the cold temperatures. However, it takes a lot of labor and money to do so. The Chinese are trying to learn some lessons from the Badger State.

"I think they're reaching the point of they need to produce a vine that is sustainable, and burying the vines in the ground every year to get through the winter isn't ideal."

As these international guests note some of the practices used in Northeast Wisconsin to make the wine-making process more affordable, they also are taking a little something more home.

"I heard the most important thing in Wisconsin is cheese," they said.

To learn more about Parallel 44, visit their website here.

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