Tom (aka Whistler) began making wine over 45 years ago. The basement of his home in Greenville served as a winery including stainless steel sinks, temperature controlled fermentation room, and of course a wine cellar.
Tom & his wife, Holly have been married for over 45 years, & are blessed with 2 children who are both married, & 5 beautiful grandchildren.
From Winery to Event Venue
In August of 2011 Tom and Holly purchased 16 acres of land in the township of Hortonia with a business plan to become a unique vineyard and winery. A late 1800’s Dairy Barn on the property was perfect for renovating into a tasting room and winery. But out of nowhere people began calling and asking if they could hold their weddings on our beautiful property. From their we built the wedding pavilion, and ended up booked with weddings for those first few years.
It takes between 5 and 6 years for a vineyard to mature, and our grapevines were now producing a substantial crop. We started the process of applying for a winery permit with the State of WI. Whistler was excited he would finally be able to make his own estate wines. He had procured winery equipment from all over the world, and our winery was “ready to go.” However, in the State of WI, in order to hold a winery permit, you must give up your liquor license, (can’t have both) AND wineries must close at 9:00 pm. As we shared this information with potential clients, we quickly learned 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 Fashioned, and everyone would have to leave the property at 9:00 PM? Because of that, Whistler’s dream was crushed, and we changed our direction instead to sell our grapes 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. Each fall, we harvest and sell our grapes to WI Wineries.