Growing Grapes in Wisconsin

Grape growers in Wisconsin experience several difficulties brought about by the bitter cold winters of the region. Nonetheless, the state’s proximity to Lake Superior in the north and the Lake Wisconsin and Wisconsin River in the south makes it viable for some cold-hardy varieties to grow and flourish in Wisconsin. The Lake Wisconsin in south central Wisconsin is where majority of the vineyards and wineries in the region are located. This area is surrounded by rolling hills with elevations of up to 800 feet, where the soils are either gravel or sandy loam. The state is home to Agoston Haraszthy, father of the world-famous California wine. He first planted wine grapes of the Vitis vinifera variety before his frustration with the harsh climate settled in and he migrated to warm, sunny California. Recently, however, grape growers have amassed profit from growing cold-hardy French-American hybrid varieties that can be used for making wine. Marechal Foch is the most popular among growers in Wisconsin, but Serval, Vidal, and Leon Millot are also commonly found.

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