MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

On the wine trail

In November, taste the fruits of the harvest on winery road trips.

Wine tasting at a vineyard.

© Torsten Muller

As fall winds down on forest trails, the season is just gearing up on wine trails, where groups of wineries invite folks to take a little drive, sample the wares and maybe take home a few bottles.

Since wineries tend to be in very scenic areas, thatís not such a bad idea. And in late autumn, many offer special events to put buyers in the holiday spirit.

Here are wine trails in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. There are no in-person events in 2020, but most wineries still welcome visitors.

Mississippi River Valley

Great River Road Wine Trail: Most of the members of this Mississippi River Valley group are between Red Wing and Winona, but they stretch from Prescott at the mouth of the St. Croix to Marquette in northeast Iowa.

For the Holiday Harvest Wine & Food Festival Nov. 13-14 in 2021, an advance ticket for $30, $15 for Sunday only, buys a wine glass, bottle tote and wine and food tastings at all 12 wineries.

Iowa Wine Trail: Eleven wineries are part of this group in the Mississippi River Valley between Decorah and Clinton. 

The fall event Hollywood and Vines, with food and sampling at all 10 wineries, is canceled in 2020.

Illinois

In Galena, Nouveau Wine Weekend includes a Friday parade, tastings, music and vineyard tours the weekend before Thanksgiving. However, it is canceled in 2020.

Michigan

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: There are 25 wineries along the spine of this peninsula north of Traverse City, Mich., wrapped by the warm waters of Lake Michigan. 

A tasting tour of Wollersheim Winery.

© Beth Gauper

A tour guide pours samples at Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin.

Instead of the usual Toast the Season, it's offering Hunt for the Reds of October on weekdays in October, $25 for a glass of red at more than 20 wineries plus a wine glass.

Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail: Ten wineries line this sliver that stretches into Grand Traverse Bay north of Traverse City, Mich.

Its Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off, which pairs wine with comfort food, is very popular, but it's canceled in 2020.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin River Valley: This isn't an official trail, but it's easy to go from one vineyard to another in the Wisconsin River Valley, from Spurgeon and Wild Hills near Muscoda to Botham near Barneveld and Wollersheim in Prairie du Sac.

Wollersheim Winery holds a free Ruby Noveau Tasting on the third Thursday of November. A Vintage Christmas, with festive foods and carolers, is canceled in 2020.

For more about Wollersheim, see A vintage vineyard.

More wine trails

Many other wineries welcome visitors in fall as well as year-round.

For more, see Following a wine trail.


Last updated on November 3, 2020