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Timber Hill Winery

Milton, WI


Crusin Rating: C+

Booze Rating: B- (Jalapeno ups the curve)

Extieror of Timber Hill Winery, taken from the parking lot

Halfway between Madison, WI and Burlington, WI (home of The Runaway Brewery & Micropub) lies the town of Milton. We don’t know a lot about Milton other than it has a supper club and two wineries. The supper club, Frederick’s is pretty decent, really, and a nice spot to stop for a drink and a steak but we’ve only been there once. Our usual stop is today’s post, Timber Hill Winery. Discovered quite by accident when we had a little extra time on our hands heading to the lake, we stopped on impulse and have since made frequent stops for one of the secret ingredients to Cruzinforbooze bloody Mary.

On our first trip I remember thinking that we were clearly lost when looking for the winery. We had gone close to some railroad tracks, warehouses, and were clearly in the midst of a business park. This was in the dead of late winter so it was of course dark, snow-covered, and everything was shut down for the most part as COVID just began to rear its head.

The winery is fairly small and unassuming, dwarfed by nearby silos and warehouses it’s easy to miss, even on a sunny day. However, once there you are greeted by a small patio and a few picnic tables on the grass. The space inside features a large bar, a merchandise corner and several tables. It is in a very shed or pole-barn like building but it doesn’t feel like it once you are inside with the exception of some metal walls. The staff inside is always friendly and the space is clean. There is an added bonus in that the bathroom is through the production area so you can always sneak a peek at what work is being done!

We didn’t get much of a chance to speak with anyone but what we will say is that there are always events taking place at the winery, from wine yoga, to music, to charity events, it can be a very busy place in summer. We were able to snag five wine samples for five dollars so we opted for two tastings to hit as many as we could:

2 outdoor wine flights

Frontenac Gris - Golden color that smells of ripe apples, this wine was high in acidity with medium tannins. The acidity was pretty strong and a lot of the finer grape notes were lost.

Marquette Rosé - Definitely interesting to turn a traditional dark, full-bodied red made into a blend like this. It was still plenty tannic with a strawberry nose. This was decent.

Crescent - This white smelled of spiced syrup with clove and candied praline. It was crisp, tasting of sour green apples with the right amount of acidity. This wine was pretty good, especially on a hot day.

Edelweiss - I’m always bummed when a winery’s Edelweiss isn’t good because I always think this wine traditionally tastes of sweet fall. This one smelled like Menard’s, no joke. It smelled like a hardware store and had a heavy mouthfeel. It tasted of sweet simple syrup with hints of pear. Definitely pass on the smell alone.

2017 Petite Pearl - This red smelled of burning woods chips, nice and smokey but the taste did not live up to the aroma, there was some nice charred oak in there but I was really expecting something full rather than the light red fruit. It was overall pretty watery. Too bad.

Sunday Funday Sparkling White - Smells of maple syrup and similar to how Edelweiss should smell. It had high acidity but was mixed with sweet green apples and pear. This was an easy-drinker for anyone and everyone.

Dragon’s Breath - This one got me on the name alone, described as having dragonfruit and habanero my hopes were pretty high. I was wanting some spicy-kiwi-like fun.

If I could just digress here a little, dragonfruit or pitaya, especially red dragonfruit is a beautiful magenta color inside and out and would make for a uniquely vibrant, out-of-this-world wine. Why then am I sitting here sipping something that looks like Orange Crush that the ice has melted in? Also, dragon fruit, while looking extremely cool and having an awesome name is pretty mild in flavor like a mellow kiwi mixed with some pear. To have a wine based on that flavor, or anything for that matter, is a little silly as the flavor is so subdued in the fruit.

I was really hoping the habanero would come through to liven it up a bit. Who doesn’t enjoy a little fruity and spicy to perk up an average line-up, especially when we are such fans of the Jalapeno wine? It just wasn’t there, it was about as spicy as mayonnaise and a huge letdown. What could have been a standout, fun riff on a fruit wine just left me sad at the missed opportunity.

Cranberry - Hannah loves cranberry, loves sour beer and sour wine (when it should be sour, of course). This was weathered red barn in color with high tartness but it was a little overdone, and this coming from Hannah who loves the flavor. Cranberries have a wonderful flavor when used in moderation, but when the wine tastes as picked a little-too-early, it just leaves you puckered out (yikes, with the Dad puns).

Blood Orange - This wine was orange with high clarify and smelled of muddle orange and some orange Pine Sol. It tasted exactly like orange runts. Take that as you will.

Caramel Apple - Yes I know, why did we venture down this road? Well, if we only drank things we like, we’d never step out of our comfort zone and find new things to enjoy. It’s just a shame this wine wasn’t one of those times. It tasted and smelled exactly like those old-timey green and caramel suckers you would get at Halloween. Perhaps I would enjoy this more when spooky season rolls around.

So, not great. But, what is really great is the Jalapeno wine. Not for drinking of course, but I use it in Bloody’s, Martini’s, cooking, and all sorts of various applications. It’s really a great addition to any bar and can fully replace Tabasco in your cocktails at home. We make the stop a few times a year to stock up on several small bottles and we will keep going back for this one. If you’re on the road and nearby, Milton makes a decent stop of two wineries and a supper club. A pleasant afternoon adventure by all accounts if you live within an hour or so. Not all the wines here are amazing, but the Jalapeno should be a staple in any home bar.

The famous jalapeno wine

See you at the next stop.

To learn more about Timber Hill Winery please visit their website at: or on Facebook at: @TimberHillWinery or on Instagram: @TimberHillWine

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