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Under construction: Coming in January
As of June 17, Brambleberry is now a licensed winery. But that is only part of the process. While we have been approved by the state of Wisconsin to make and age wine, we are awaiting federal approval to sell it. Our winery is under construction and we anticipate our tasting room to be open in early January. We will update the page as the project progresses. As of Nov. 17 the carpenters are beginning to frame in the structure. Soon we will have walls and a roof.
We want to thank the voters of the town of Franklin for supporting us in this venture. Until April of 2013, Franklin was a dry town. Three times a liquor license referendum has failed. But this last April our neighbors voted overwhelmingly to support liquor licenses so we can proceed with a winery.
We have made wine for the last 10 years from our homegrown organic fruits: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and rhubarb. We've even made parsnip wine. After appreciating and writing the wine column for several area newspapers for the last 10 years, we are now fulfilling our dream of opening a small winery.
We will make wines from our estate grown fruits, including a small planting of frontenac and frontenac gris grapes. We have tested many cold climate grapes which are still a challenge to grow in our climate. We are also of the opinion that warm climate grapes make better tasting wine, so we will purchase juice from vineyards around the world. We plan to make a variety of red and white wines in addition to the estate-grown labels. We will also have "sweeties" so there will be something for everyone.
In the meantime, B&B guests may sample a preview of some of the wines we will have on offer. After our tasting room opens, guests will only be able to drink wine they have not purchased from us in their guest rooms, due to licensing restrictions.
Future winery hours will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 7 p.m. All B&B overnight guests will receive a free VIP pass that will allow them to taste all of our wines for free (during winery hours). Wine will be sold by the glass or by the bottle.
Visit other local wineries while you stay with us. A must visit on weekends May through December is the Tenba Ridge Winery. John Gill offers a variety of award-winning and unique wines. For a story Chris wrote about Tenba Ridge when the winery opened in 2002, click here.
Click here for a video tour of Tenba Ridge.
John uses some family wine recipes to make a variety of artisinal wines, including reds, whites and the best country fruit wines you've ever tasted. Enjoy a glass while sitting on Tenba's tasting porch with an incredible ridgetop view.
Another wonderful local winery is Elmaro Vineyards near Trempealeau. The winery has a brand new tasting facility and makes wine from cold-climate grapes, many of which are grown on site in their own vineyards.
Other local wineries include Sandstone Ridge Winery near Northfield (about 25 miles), Seven Hawks in Fountain City, Danzinger in Alma (about an hour north) andGarvin Heights Vineyards in Winona, Minn.
In Black River Falls be sure to visit Buzz & Brew, a shop for home wine and beer-making enthusiasts and the Sand Creek Brewery. If you're heading to La Crosse, be sure to stop at The Wine Guyz a full-service wine bar on King Street downtown for some excellent wines.
We're located in the middle of the Great River Road Wine Trail, which features nine wineries with a passport program that allows guests to earn a wine glass once they have visited and received stamps from each of the wineries. No purchase is necessary, and completed passports may be turned in at any time. Visit the website for more information, printable brochure, maps and more!
Please check out our weekly column which introduces people to the different varieties of wine that we ourselves would drink. We rate each wine on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, but never feature a wine below 2.5 stars, because if we wouldn't drink it, we won't write about it. The wines we feature are mainly between $7 and $15.