Vino Voyage

Take a tour of Door County’s wineries

By Jeanette Hurt

Two oenophiles relax with a glass of Syrah as they toss bocce balls in a court adjacent to a lavender garden. Others relax with Sangiovese on the patio, listening to a pianist, in the shadow of vines snaking up the hill.

Napa and Tuscany inspire winemaker and owner Russell Turco. But his Stone’s Throw Winery isn’t anywhere near those regions. Instead, he’s celebrating his 21st harvest in the middle of Door County. “If I’m not drinking it, you’re not drinking it,” says Turco, whose winery just expanded to include a barrel-fired pizzeria in addition to its tasting room, tapas wine bar, patio and bocce courts.

But if you’re more in the mood for a cherry wine than a dark Zinfandel, the Door has it too, and it’s easy to choose your own wine adventure.

One of the region’s oldest orchards and wineries is Lautenbauch’s Orchard Country. “My grandfather started the farm in 1955,” says Carrie Lautenbauch-Viste, who runs the winery and farm with her sister Erin and her father Bob. This family-friendly winery boasts free tastings of up to six of their 42 wines and hard ciders, in addition to fruit picking, hay bale climbing, tours and a gallery.

For a light-hearted tasting, head to Harbor Ridge Winery for a good chuckle over a glass of their Call Me a Cab, Gimme One Good Riesling or Crimes Against Vines vintages. “We have that very chill, relaxed vibe,” says Jessica Weed, assistant manager. Or plan for a longer visit during events like Carmen’s Last Dance Party—named for their best-selling sweet Concord grape vintage—or Vinyasa in the Vines yoga class.

If downward dog or bocce aren’t to your taste, check the wineries’ calendars for other special activities such as harvest fests and live music offered year-round. Also, don’t rule out stashing a bottle of your fave vintage and heading north on Highway 42, where you can find a picturesque park or pier to settle in for a sunset—the perfect wine pairing.

POP ANOTHER CORK!

If you have more time, there are other watering holes and noteworthy spots along the Door County Wine Trail to explore—from Algoma to Fish Creek—each with its own personality and charm. Just leave enough room in the luggage to take home a few bottles as souvenirs.

Hatch Distilling Company just opened north of Lautenbach and Harbor Ridge. Owner and beekeeper Chris Roedl distills his vodka, gin and whiskeys from honey his bees produce. Enjoy a buzz-worthy tasting or cocktail on the distillery patio.  hatchdistilling.com.

Further north explore Island Orchard Cider, which produces French-style hard cider from Washington Island-grown apples. These ciders have more in common with fine wines, as owner and cider maker Bob Purman carefully cultivates, selects and ages many varietals. The ciderie recently added a kitchen, and later this fall, Purman will release a spirit called Pomona. Inspired by the French liqueur Pommeau, it’s made by barrel-aging apple juice with apple brandy, resulting in a gliding-on the-tongue smoothness. islandorchardcider.com.

And the Parkwood Lodge, with its indoor pool, swing set, tennis courts and firepit, makes an ideal rest stop for family travels. Or, if you’re on the prowl for pup-friendly accommodations, Feathered Star bed and breakfast tops the list thanks to each sleeping room’s private porch.

doorcountywinetrail.com. stonesthrowwinery.com. orchardcountry.comharborridgewinery.com. parkwoodlodge.com. featheredstar.com.