Although Wisconsin is the land of beer and cheese, wine connoisseurs will have a new locale to sample their beverage of choice in Madison’s first wine tasting room, scheduled to open this fall.
Cambridge Winery owner Frank Peregrine plans to open the wine tasting room with his wife on the 1000 block of South Whitney Way. Peregrine said the wine room, slated to open on May 1, will allow the public to sample between eight and 10 varieties of wine from Madison, as well as wine from other regions.
Although the wine tasting room is expected to open in September, the Cambridge Winery is still in the development stages and is seeking county approval to harvest grapes and make their first batch of wine. Peregrine said the winery should be in full operation by 2015 and will have 30 acres of grapes.
Despite the prevalent “beer-drinking culture” in Madison, Peregrine said he is optimistic about the tasting room.
“The youth may still drink beer but the older crowd drinks wine,” he said. “Last year wine surpassed beer sales in the United States.”
Mark Woulf, the city’s food and alcohol policy coordinator, said he has not yet seen a proposal for the tasting room, but it would require licensing similar to city bars.
However, Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, said new Wisconsin legislation may allow this facility to operate without a standard alcohol license because it provides samples of its own wine, as opposed to simply operating as a bar.
Peregrine added the winery will work to create a signature wine using growers and manufacturers in California as partners to this project.
“We are trying to build brand recognition,” he said. “We want to sell directly to the public create a relationship. This is the only place in the world you can buy Cambridge wines.”
Peregrine said he and his wife have not finalized how much they would charge for wine tastings.
The wine tasting room will be located across from Vitense Golfland, on the 1000 block of South Whitney Way, and they plan to open Sept. 1.