Extracted from Wollersheim Distillery
Wollersheim Winery sits on a scenic hillside across the Wisconsin River from Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. In the 1840s, the Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy discovered the sloped land where the winery sits today, and planted it with grapevines. During his short time in Wisconsin, Haraszthy also incorporated the state’s first town, Sauk City. In December of 1849, he followed the gold rush to California, where he also had a hand in developing the state’s wine industry.
Peter Kehl, a German immigrant, took over the property after Haraszthy left, building the structures that still stand today, and planting American grapes to make wine. After Peter Kehl’s death, his son Jacob continued the family winery and started making brandy. In 1899, after Jacob Kehl’s death and a difficult winter, the Kehl family stopped making wine and converted the property into a conventional Wisconsin farm. When Prohibition passed in 1919, remaining wine was sold, and leftover barrels were used as firewood. The Kehl family stayed on the property for two more generations.