Tom began making wine over 45 years ago. The basement of his home in Greenville had served as a winery including stainless steel sinks, temperature controlled fermentation room, and of course a wine cellar.
Tom & Holly in Whistler’s Vineyard. They have been married for 42 years, & are blessed with 2 children who are both married, & 5 beautiful grandchildren.
But that wasn’t enough to satisfy his thirst for a vineyard & winery. In the fall of 2011 he and his wife Holly purchased 13 acres of land in the township of Hortonia. An 1800’s Dairy Barn on the property was perfect for renovating into a unique winery, and event venue.
From Winery to Event Venue
Our original Business Plan was to become a Vineyard, and a Winery. As we began our barn renovation, people starting calling us and asking: “Do you do weddings?” We thought, why not? This will help to pay our bills until we have our own estate wines to sell. We ended up booking every weekend except one from May through October during our first year without even advertising. Our 2000 grapevines were maturing, and now we were ready to apply for our Winery Permit, so Whistler could begin making estate wines. We had all of our equipment purchased, and the winery was ready to go. In the State of WI, once you apply for a Winery Permit, you must give up your liquor license, AND wineries must close at 9:00 pm. We quickly realized that IF we began making estate wines, all of our business would go away! Who would book a wedding if their guests couldn’t even have an Old Fashion, and everyone would have to leave at 9:00 pm? Because of that, we decided to sell our grapes each fall to other wineries, and continue operating as an event venue.
Holly is a Master Gardener and has meticulously landscaped and planted gardens all around the property. During the summer months you will see hummingbirds, butterflies, and bumble bees (her FAVORITE) flitting in and out of the blooms in Holly’s Wine Garden. And guests are always welcome to sip a glass of wine while touring our gardens.
What We Grow
People are often surprised to learn that grapes can be successfully grown in Wisconsin. We planted cold hearty varietals such as Marquette, Marechal Foch, Frontenac Gris, Prairie Star, and Niagara. They are thriving in the sandy loam soil here. In addition, we have an Elderberry Orchard because Tom makes an amazing Elderberry Wine. Our grapevines need to grow a couple years yet before we begin to harvest and make our own estate wines. While we are waiting, we are serving wines that are purchased through our Beverage Distributors.