A Tour for the Senses: A guide to the Door County Wine Festival

Whether made from traditional grapes, Door County cherries or numerous other fruits, the wines produced locally are growing in number every season. Wisconsin winters may scare off some growers, but the wineries located along the Door County Wine Trail have found a home – and a following – here. Each stop has its own personality, from the ambiance to the varietals, ensuring that every sip is a memorable, delicious experience. 

If you’re headed to the Door County Wine Fest on June 25, you’ll have a chance to sample products from most of the wineries along the wine trail (Stone’s Throw and Anchored Roots wineries will not be at the festival this year). Get to know the featured wineries, then follow the wine trail to check them out in person. 

von Stiehl Winery

115 Navarino St. in Algoma

von Stiehl acquired its license in 1967, making it the first and oldest winery in Wisconsin. Still using its original Door County Montmorency cherry recipes in its sweet and dry cherry wines, it has expanded its selection to include cranberry, raspberry, blackberry and Door County–grown grape wines.

von Stiehl bottles and makes all of its 40-plus wines on-site in tourable facilities. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its Civil War–era site has indoor and outdoor seating where visitors can enjoy live music on Fridays and Saturdays during July and August.

Door 44 Winery

Door 44 offers live music throughout the summer. Pictured here is repeat performer David Cavanaugh, who will perform again July 1. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

5464 Cty P in Sturgeon Bay

After a honeymoon in Napa Valley and a couple of decades of experience in Kewaunee County, Steve Johnson and Maria Milano opened Door 44 in 2019. Inspired by a bottle of red wine and a baguette, this newest location north of Sturgeon Bay offers easygoing tasting while overlooking the vineyard.

Enjoy performances during the winery’s Music by the Vines series; visit on Sunday Funday for specialty mimosas and wine cocktails; or take a facility tour on select Saturdays throughout the season. 

Red Oak Winery

With its large windows and open space, Red Oak is perfect for a casual drink or a hangout with a group. It offers 19 varieties, and its speciality is Oompa Loompa Blue: a mix of grape and blueberry. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

5781 Hwy 42 in Sturgeon Bay

With the support of family, Andrew Wagener opened Red Oak Winery in 2004, and as the wine-tasting room and vineyard experience grew, the winery changed locations, landing in Carlsville in 2020. 

Though spicy wine is Wagener’s specialty, his bestseller is Oompa Loompa Blue: a grape wine with a splash of blueberry. He also features Chocolate Blu Raz, a dessert port that’s half blueberry and half raspberry; and Mystic Red, which is described as a “mysterious, sweet red wine.” 

With those names and a friendly staff, Red Oak is great for people who know exactly which notes they’re looking for and those who just know what colors they like. The laid-back atmosphere and grass seating out front make it a great casual choice during your trip.

Door Peninsula Winery

5806 Hwy 42 in Sturgeon Bay

With 50-plus wines, Door Peninsula offers the most choices of any one winery in the state. That extensive list began in 1974 with classic Door County cherry, along with strawberry, apple and plum wines. 

After establishing its own vineyard, the fruit choices have expanded to homegrown grapes, as well as mangoes, blackberries and pears. The winery offers free tasting of its wines and ciders, and $3 tours of its facilities. 

If you’re looking for harder alcohol, Door County Distillery – connected to the winery – bottles Luminous vodka and a variety of gin, bitters, whisky and brandy.

Simon Creek Vineyard & Winery

5896 Bochek Road in Sturgeon Bay

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape without resort-level costs, Simon Creek is right for you. Tucked behind trees and situated next to its vineyard, the winery feels removed, yet is within a few minutes of the main highway.

Don Whitson-Schmidt, a wine server for four years at Simon Creek, recommended the Untouchable Red as a good food wine, the American Gewürztraminer as a clean and refreshing choice that’s similar to a Riesling, and – because this is Door County – Simon Creek’s cherry wine.

The 19-year-old winery also offers free live music on its patio on Sundays, all wrapped up in a vibe that’s classy-yet-casual, quiet and removed in the best way possible.

Harbor Ridge Winery

Harbor Ridge features both premium and popular wines in flights of four samples. It also offers all 29 of its wines by the bottle or glass. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

4690 Rainbow Ridge Court in Egg Harbor

Located just outside downtown Egg Harbor, Harbor Ridge draws people in both T-shirts and dresses, kids and dogs. Its variety offers something for everyone, from a buttery Chardonnay to its best-selling Knockin’ Heads Red. 

Right next to the vineyard is outdoor seating with tables, picnic tables and a gazebo to provide a welcome escape. And, if the “Music Today” sign is perched out front, you can also catch one of the many live-music performances throughout the summer. 

Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery & Market

9197 Hwy 42 in Fish Creek

What had been the Lautenbach Orchard family fruit farm since 1955 became a winery during the 1970s. The first estate-grape wines were named after the grandchildren in the family, and guests can now enjoy more than 40 wines and hard ciders.

The market and tasting room are open year-round for indoor and outdoor seating, and coordinating your visit with a pick-your-own cherry or apple period creates a fun, on-the-farm outing for both adults and kids. While tasting a flight or touring the grounds, you might also be tempted to try setting a new record in the cherry-pit spit. 

Get details about the Door County Wine Fest and buy tickets at

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