News From The Vineyard

The Story of Whistler’s Knoll

In August of 2011 Tom (AKA Whistler) and his wife Holly, purchased 13 acres of land in the town 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 a winery. But out of nowhere, people began calling to ask if they could hold their wedding on our beautiful property. Because of that, we built the wedding pavilion, and ended up booked with weddings from May thorough October 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. Fast forward to 2016 and we started the process of applying for a winery permit with the State of WI. Whistler had been making wine in the basement of his home for over 45 years so he was excited to finally begin making estate wines and opening our tasting room. He had procured winery equipment from all over the world, and the winery was ready to go.
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Tom studied Viticulture & Enology through the University of Missouri.  He is a member of the Wisconsin Grape Growers Association (WGGA)  and the Wisconsin Agriculture & Tourism Association (WATA.)

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

We learned that in the State of WI, once you hold a winery permit, you can not also hold a liquor license (it is illegal to have both.) AND to complicate our wedding bookings even more, we found out wineries must close at 9pm.
As we began sharing this information with potential clients, we quickly realized that IF we began making wine, 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 at 9 pm? We came to a “fork in the road.” Whistler’s dream was crushed. Instead, he decide to change our direction and sell our grapes each fall to other wineries and continue operating as an event venue. From there the floodgates opened and we knew we had made the right decision.

Mrs Whistler

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.  

See our FAQs page for all of event planing questions!