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Rock 'n' Wool Winery

Poynette, Wisconsin


Crusin’ Rating: B+

Booze Rating: C+


Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Rock N Wool Winery- Barn tasting room

This week we are checking out a spot not too far from Madison, and the first winery we’ve been to in a while! Spring has definitely sprung when the wineries start to open back up in Wisconsin, but this is a spot that’s open year-round out in Poynette, Wisconsin. Rock N’ Wool Winery is located on 40 acres about 40 minutes from downtown Madison. The winery - a homestead winery - lives inside a barn that, according to the owner, Sean, is over 100 years old. This winery was an early stop before Crusin' For Booze came into being and has been a spot we have been back to a handful of times, especially in the warmer months.

Rock 'N’ Wool Winery was home to the former Rock 'N’ Wool Acres, the farm owned by the current owners parents that was purchased back in the 80’s. The owner, in his own words, started off as a creative writer, but after working in the restaurant business in Chicago, found himself wanting to open his own winery and create his own product. After fixing up the barn and turning the basement into a wine production space, planting vines in the rocky, well aerated soil, and the ground floor into a tasting room, Rock 'N’ Wool winery has been growing steadily since its creation. When we first visited Rock 'N’ Wool, there was a small tasting room that could fit maybe a dozen people, along with a small patio with plastic furniture right outside the main barn doors. Now, the tasting room features a loft, complete with spiral staircase, a secondary sitting area and wine shop. The outside, it seems, features a new sort of attraction every visit. Starting with a disc golf course, the property now sports a shed that serves as a secondary bar in the summer months, the Jackass Saloon events space and bar, seating in the main barn area, and what seems to be events every other weekend including hay rides and regular bingo games.

We elected to visit on a day that was just slightly too cold to fully enjoy the main barn space, which is open to the outdoors, in order to bring Barlow with to his second winery! The trusty car blanket definitely came in handy. There was a wedding shower being hosted in the Jackass Saloon so it ended up not being very peaceful as wayward toddlers were all to eager to pet a puppy in training. It ended up being just a little bit too much excitement for puppy and sort of was the complete opposite of the relaxing afternoon we had hoped for. It was a major bummer that because frozen pizzas are available that dogs aren’t actually allowed inside the tasting room, which is understandable. Not an issue in summer obviously, but definitely troublesome at 42 degrees.

We were able to snag a flight of 4 wines for $15.00 which has definitely gone up over the years. To be truthful, when we first visited we joined the wine club here because you got a small percentage off of a case 4 times per year plus on visiting you would get a free mini flight of ½ oz samples. This, at the time, was perfect for us since we visited only to pick up our case and taste some wines to see if we wanted additional bottles. They ended up discontinuing the sample flight and eventually it just became too far of a drive to get cases when we were able to pick up the bottles we wanted here and there at stores around Madison. Since then, they have revamped the wine club to offer shipping - the samples have been replaced with special release parties.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Wine Beer Distillery Blogger- Rock 'N' Wool Winery- Wine Flight

On to the wine!

Nadia Jo (11.5% aBV) - This dry white, almost totally clear in color smelled of peach, pineapple and green apples. A noticeable mineral component mixed with pineapple juice gave the impression of summer fruit salad sitting in a bowl perhaps right on the cusp of being in there too long, despite this, this wine, with a sort of angular pineapple component, finished slightly perfumy. While I didn’t love the mineral-aggressive taste here coupled with the pineapple, Hannah enjoyed this one the most of the wines we tasted.

Solitude (14% ABV) - This dark, ruby red had plenty of wet wood on the noise, not unlike a spring hike, with a blackberry backbone. Tannins were prevalent with notes of fragrant raspberries and a well-oaked finish but I thought I caught a hint of crab apples with a little sourness that seemed out of place. This was my favorite of our tasting.

Maria’s Blush (11.9% ABV) - I won’t bore you with a trip down the rabbit hole, but long-story short, a Blush wine is a pink wine that leans sweeter, a Rosé is a pink wine that leans dry. The methods for creating both can vary from how long the skins of grapes stay in contact with the juice to full on blending white and red wine together (McIntyre, 2019). This Blush was, as far as we could tell a light red, rather than pink and had syrupy strawberries on the nose which were lighter than, say, jammy notes, but definitely sugary. We tasted strawberries and cherries with distinct notes of pineapple and green apple with noticeable acidity. Hannah enjoyed this one as well and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a case of a blush made by blending of a red and white together since I was picking up notes of the higher acidity of a white, but sweet strawberry notes of a sweet red.

Toboggan (11%ABV) - A sweet dessert wine, this wine was a cloud yellow and had an overarching bouquet of butterscotch. I found the mouthfeel here to be almost oily - as some stouts can be, except this one gave the impression of olive oil, rather than motor oil in terms of viscosity. Lots of butterscotch, peanut butter and maple sugar when tasting which was definitely unique for any wine we’ve tried, but we agreed this wine was sweeter than a spoonful of fresh honey.

Crusin' For Booze- Wisconsin Beer Wine Distillery Blogger- Rock N Wool Winery- Barlow the mascot

Full disclosure, we have actually not rejoined the wine club, despite the revamped perks. 20% off a case is a solid discount but we have so many Wisconsin wines to try that we don’t always love getting tied down. Look for a future post on some of the wines that we do try and keep in stock on the Crusin’ for Booze home bar!

It’s also important to point out that in that first visit, talking with Sean very early on in the process is one of those visits that really inspired us to focus on Wisconsin-based creators of wine, beer, and all other forms of imbibements. And while our palates have evolved and changed, and we’ve tried things all over the state, even though Rock 'N’ Wool may not be our favorite, we are always going to look back on past visits with fondness and appreciate it as one of the first stops on our journey. I have a lot of respect for what Sean has done and created and think he’s an awesome example of what a local Wisconsin-business can be, one that really depends on the local community as their support base, and though we may not really love many of the wines, we can definitely love the idea behind them. For that reason, and for an experience of a quintessential Wisconsin Winery that doesn’t take itself too seriously; I do recommend a trip out to Rock 'N’ Wool in those summer months if you’re within an hour drive.

Until next time, keep on cruisin’, don’t stop boozin’.

To learn more about Rock 'N' Wool Winery, please visit their website at: or on Facebook: @TasteWisconsin or on Instagram: @RockNWoolWinery

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