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Cracked Barrel Winery

Hudson, Wisconsin


Crusin’ Rating: B-

Booze Rating: B-


If you’ve been following along recently, you know that Hannah and I had quite the battle with balancing our tasting duties in Hudson, WI and the fairly serious heat in the 90’s during our visit there. That saga continues as we take a look at, to our knowledge, Hudson’s single winery, Cracked Barrel Winery. Cracked Barrel was our first stop in Hudson before looking for some food and checking in at our hotel. While there were several wineries in the area, some even doubling as Wedding Venues - the wedding we attended was actually at a Winery near Stillwater, MN - there was not going to be enough time on this trip to stray too far from our base of operations. While a weekend seems like plenty of time to hit just about everywhere, you’d be surprised how the time flies when you start checking places 20-40 minutes away. There are never enough hours in the day! We intentionally picked a winery because, as you all know, Hannah, for the most part, prefers wine over beer or spirits so we do our best when reviewing a city with multiple spots to prioritize at least one winery. Since there was only one in question in Hudson, it made that choice fairly easy.

Cracked Barrel Winery sits just off of highway 35 on Hudson’s south end. A structure that very much is set up like a house inside serves as the space. A foyer, complete with staircase and raised ceiling serves as the wine shop and houses the tasting bar, with a glass-walled room holding wine tanks that very much look like little hot-air balloons. There is a seating room that has a TV and fireplace, and plenty of windows. The outside patio is fully decked out with shade sails, umbrella tables, pergolas, and a little gazebo. A band was setting up for live music, but, unfortunately the temperature in the early afternoon - a sweltering 89 - prompted us to enjoy a tasting in the sitting room. Hannah noted that, for a winery, the gift area was fairly small in comparison to most with fewer wine-related knick knacks which was unusual, but not a bad thing. In the early afternoon we were the only folks in the tasting room which did give us the opportunity to bounce some questions of the staff who were amicably chatty.

Hannah and I did a tasting of 5 wines for $9. There were also bottled beers available, non alcoholic options, pizzas, charcuterie boards, and giant soft pretzels available in terms of food.

Bee’s Knees (10.1% ABV) - This white blend was ordered since I am a fan of the cocktail and the name caught my eye. A nose full of honey and wildflowers with pear, lemon and pineapple when tasting. This wine definitely had some highly noticeable tartness to it and had a very herbal leftover impression once swallowed.

Shenanigans (10.2% ABV) - This wine is made from Black Currants had a jammy nose of ripe dark fruit mixed with strawberry. With a noticeably bold body full of juicy currants and a decidedly tart finish, this is a wine that was hitting the notes of a fruited sour and Hannah really enjoyed every bit of it.

Reflections (12.8% ABV) - This Frontenac Rosé was the color of strawberry juice and had red berries followed specifically by black cherries. With a medium body and medium-high tannin content, this wine was deceptively at medium acidity, and almost left a warming burn as it moved across your palate which I enjoyed even though it may not have been appropriate for wine to be that boozy.

Proximo Red (ABV Not Available) - This red, made from Petite Pearl, had a decidedly brandy aroma - sweet and woody. Overly boozy when tasting, with a heavy body, and notes of clove, oak, and other spices. This wine was overly woody for both of us. Pass on this one.

Sirius (9.4% ABV) - Made from Brianna grapes, this white had notes of pineapple and mango on the nose, with other tropical fruits in the background, with a light body tasting of more of that tropical fruit and a soft finish, this wine made a great wine slushy which Hannah opted to try right before we left!

Cracked Barrel would make a decent afternoon on a day with more agreeable weather. There are some lawn games, plenty of seating, outdoor music, and even some food options without having to order in or depend on a food truck that are a little more substantial than a cheese plate snack. I could easily see an hour or two of a weekend afternoon spent here, even as fall rolls around. While not all of the wine was great, there were two decent options out of our five that I could see either of us getting a glass of. The space was clean, well lit, with friendly staff, and beverages for everyone. Even if you don’t love wine, a wine slush might be a gateway or decent compromise on a warm day. While I won’t recommend a trip up to Hudson based entirely on a trip to Cracked Barrel, we both liked it enough to recommend it if you’re visiting Hudson.

Until next time, keep on Cruisin’ don’t stop boozin’!

To learn more about Cracked Barrel Winery please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @CBWinery or on Instagram: @CBWinery570

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