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Edwin Brix Vineyard

Juneau, WI

 

Crusin’ Rating: C

Booze Rating: C

 

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Edwin Brix Vineyard- Exterior

Nestled a little way off of the beaten path about an hour northeast of Madison lies the first registered winery in Dodge County, Wisconsin, Edwin Brix Vineyard. The vineyard is currently in its 5th generation of farming. This small tasting room is not only the first registered vineyard, but one of the only spots that produces imbibements in the entire county. To the best of our knowledge, Ooga Brewing Company and Cercis Brewing Company are the only other options. You can check out why we always hit up Ooga whenever we are in Dodge County (hint, it’s the spicy beer) and why Cercis has one of our favorite bartenders in the state in our posts. Our initial exploratory visit to Edwin Brix took place fairly early on in the midst of the pandemic so we figured it was time to check it out again now that things are getting back to [new] normal.


Edwin Brix sits on the side of a small ridge off of Welsh Road in Dodge county, situated amidst other quiet farms and the odd country house. The owner’s of the winery live on the property in a house that features some major windows that you view before you turn onto Welsh Road. There is something special about places that are located on a homestead property and it seems to happen with wineries the most frequently - Botham Vineyards & Winery, Spurgeon Winery, and Wild Hills Winery all come to mind. While it can feel a little intrusive to park next to someone’s home, often times you know you’re going to be around the owner or someone close to the owner at these types of spots. Should we call them something? I think Homestead Wineries works. You know we here at Crusin' For Booze are always excited to interact with the owners and makers themselves.



While the house is large and impressive, the barn that serves as both the production space and tasting room is a smaller affair. There’s a mutli-tiered deck outside with metal stools and tables whose color scheme reminds me of an old college haunt in the summer- The Memorial Union Terrace. The deck addition, we aren’t 100% sure, but we don’t recall it being as extensive as it was on our first visit, and definitely don’t remember the outdoor hanging lights and other small touches that make this place (we assume) a lovely spot to hang out on a warmer day. With us going back and forth between 40 degree days on the weekends and rain and snow hanging around during the week, it was just a little bit on the cold side to do an outdoor tasting.


We made up for it though, by having Barlow along for his first official review. As you know, Barlow has been struggling a touch with his people manners and this trip actually solidified his need for his upcoming puppy classes as he was quite distracted by the people and the winery cats rather than focusing on the wine.


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Wine Beer Distillery Blogger- Edwin Brix Vineyard- Bar

Inside the tasting room, which takes up the main floor of the small barn, you’ll find two high tables, some bar seating and two low tables for a total of about 16 people that can be seated. There’s a bathroom to the left, a hanging TV in a corner to your right that, thankfully, was showing photos of the owner’s family rather than blaring a game in the small space. There were 4 other people that sat at the bar - two couples - which was a huge change from it being just Hannah and I on our last visit (understandably!). Other decorations involved some old barn items and plenty of awards bestowed in the winery as well as Wisconsin wine-related pamphlets. Tastings were $10 for 8 wine samples, plus if you spent $50 on wine bottles, one of your tastings becomes free. Other than the free tastings we’ve experienced, this is probably the cheapest tasting for the amount of wines we’ve run across in Wisconsin. Conveniently, there are 7 sweet wine offerings an 7 dry offerings which allowed Hannah and I to sample everything they had, plus try a wild card from the other’s batch. We elected to review two of each wine to give us a little more time to keep an eye on our mischievous, and sometimes belligerent puppy. We were happy to learn that all of the grapes are estate grapes grown right on the property, which is somewhat of a rarity in Wisconsin.



2018 Marquette - This dry red was the first I picked to review since Hannah has been looking for a solid Wisconsin Marquette ever since we started the blog. Unfortunately, this one was not what she was looking for. Red garnet in color with some oak notes, cherry, and dark berries on the nose, this wine was sour through and through almost as if you had bitten into a Granny Smith apple. While it wasn’t on par with some of the sour beers that Hannah loves, it definitely came through as a sour cherry. Not off to a promising start!


2021 La Crosse - You know if I see an Elmer Swenson - (the father of Wisconsin grapes) cultivar used in a wine, I’m going to absolutely try it. This semi-dry white smelled of delicate pear and featured high acidity, peach, and apricot while tasting. While I enjoyed it, it was perhaps a little too-understated for our taste. Not bad by any means, though.


2021 Rosé - Hannah’s first choice to review, as it’s one of her favored types of wine, smelled of slightly underripe strawberries and the green tops of those same strawberries -fronds? A light amber-garnet in color, there were notes of watermelon, strawberry but that strawberry was closer to strawberry syrup. Neither of us were terribly enamored with the syrupy notes when tasting as it reminded us of some of the seltzers we’ve come across that have flavored syrups added to them after the fact. This one was a pass for us.


2021 Brianna - Like me, Hannah is always going to prefer - or at least try - a Wisconsin grape developed by Elmer over anything else. The 2021 Brianna was a white that was full of mango, pineapple, coconut, and orange. In stark contrast to a lot of IPA’s we taste, but with similar flavors exhibited, it was neat to smell that flavor profile on a wine. Hannah loves her chilled patio wine on hot summer days and this white had the right amount of acidity to counter the perceived richness of banana, strawberry, pineapple, and mango when tasting. Hannah suggested this would make a great wine slush for the coming summer. Although I tend to prefer dry wine, I had to admit this one was refreshing and fun!



Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Edwin Brix Vineyard- Exit Sign

We really liked the fact that everything was grown on the estate and respected that it was a Wisconsin family business. While we did not leave with any bottles, we both really enjoyed the 2021 Brianna. If it were nearer other spots of interest outside of Ooga Brewing in Beaver Dam, we might find ourselves out at Edwin Brix on a more regular basis, especially to check out what it’s like in summer. The host behind the bar is always more than willing to tell us all about the estate and the grapes, and I find when he pours the wine he’s actually informing us about the wine, rather than a canned spiel that merely is read off the label we’ve seen at some bigger wineries. We will most likely find ourselves out at Edwin Brix at some point in the future. If you’re in Dodge County you should check them out, and if you’re looking to complete the Wisconsin Wine Trail Ooga and Edwin Brix make a nice one-two punch of a booze cruise. I’m not going to advise not visiting as the wine is all serviceable, but this one is only going to be for those really looking to hit wineries coming out of Madison or Milwaukee. For farther than that, you’d have to be pretty dedicated to Wisconsin wines to make the trip.


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


To learn more about Edwin Brix Vineyard please visit their website at: http://www.edwinbrix.com/ or Facebook: @EdwinBrix or on Instagram: @EdwinBrixVineyard

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