What to Drink in Potosi, Wisconsin
I went for a short mini-vacation to stay with friends and do a little late-fall mushroom hunting in Potosi, Wisconsin. This tiny town in Grant County sits on the the junction of the Grant and Mississippi Rivers, just north of the Illinois-Wisconsin border in the "driftless" area. This part of Wisconsin was not touched by the glacial movements and is therefore full of bluffs, rolling hills, and natural springs. Originally a lead-mining town, Potosi feels frozen in the mid-1800s; the town and surrounding areas are nostalgic and picturesque.
These two establishments are right across the street from each other and make for an enjoyable afternoon.
Whispering Bluffs includes a coffee cafe and chocolate bar. they have plenty of comfortable seating and an piano for entertainment in the evenings. We were there during the week in the "off season," but the wonderful women behind the counter allowed our talented friends to play and sing during our wine tasting.
At the time we visited, the tasting was about $10 per person for 6 different wines, but refundable with the payment for a case of wine. Whispering Bluffs has a full range of wines: whites, reds, and dessert. All of their wines are easily drinkable and skew slightly to the sweeter-side.
Whispering Bluffs owned by Wes and Janet Helmick, opened their doors in May of 2012. Many of their grape varieties; including Maréchal Foch, Marquette, Noiret, LaCrosse, Brianna, and Edelweiss; are grown locally in the vineyard in nearby Cassville. Wes Helmick is an avid bird watcher and painter - all of their wines are named after local and migratory birds to this region in Wisconsin, and the labels feature reproduction's of Helmick's paintings of them.
I'm more of a dry, oaky red drinker, and I really enjoyed the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak (featured in the glass above, not on it). This soft tannin Cabernet & Marquette blend is slightly aged in oak. It is easy to drink and pairs perfectly with red meats, pizza or tomato based pasta dishes.
For those of you that enjoy white wines, I would highly recommend the semi-sweet Meadowlark. This wine won the double gold medal at the 2018 Wisconsin State Fair, and silver at the University of Wisconsin wine competition. This wine is described by Whispering Bluffs as "a well-balanced semi-sweet white wine with a fruity nose and hints of apricot, peach, pineapple and honey." One of the best semi-sweet wines I've tasted in a while. We consumed two bottles of it while preparing dinner that night - risotto made from foraged mushrooms and scallops!
Just across the street is Potosi Brewery and the National Brewing Museum. Originally founded in 1852 along the Great River Road, the Potosi Brewing Company brewed more than a century’s worth of beer before closing in 1972. Re-founded on its original site in 2008, the Potosi Brewing Company has brought craft brewing back to Potosi, Wisconsin. Potosi Brewing is also committed to giving back to the community - it is the country's only non-for-profit brewery, and all profits are donated to charitable causes.
The Potosi Brew Pub features a full selection of seasonal and standard beer from Potosi Brewery as well as a few "guest handles" and a large range of bottled beers and hard ciders. The food is typical pub-food and is good quality. We had the cheese curds - they are paired with one of my favorite Wisconsin-made mustards: Mary's Mustard, made with honey and heat!
After you eat, you can take a brewery tour and view the museum. One of the things that I really appreciate about Potosi Brewery is that they are serious about their water. The deep aquifers surrounding Potosi’s hills and valleys provide natural spring water to Potosi Brewery with excellent naturally sourced brewing water. When you walk through the pub, you cross over a glass panel that allows you to see the natural spring running through the brewery.
I highly suggest vacationing in Wisconsin's driftless area, and Potosi should be on the list of a small town to visit. I know you will enjoy it!