Days of wine and sunflowers

Thanks to the owner/developer of one iconic Up North destination, we discovered another.

Lee Bergsbaken, who rotated his crops six years ago and grew Wisconsin’s prettiest Sunflower Festival, spent a little time chatting with us Saturday afternoon and urged us to check out the Hammen Family Orchard, Cider Mill and Winery.

So, after a quick stop at O.J.’s Midtown for a couple of slices of pie to-go, and then St. John’s Church for palms and absolution, we headed right on over. We’re so glad we did.

The Hammen Family Orchard straddles County Road E, midway between Highway 22 and the Yoder Bakery. It features apple, cherry, plum and peach trees, mulberry and raspberry bushes and, of course, grape vines. For more than 30 years, Paul Hammen has been making cider, mead and wine from the fruits he grows. Three years ago, he decided to offer them to the public and, every season since, he has added to the menu.

When we stopped in, they had six varieties of grape wines, 11 types of fruit wine, five meads and three ciders. For just $5, we were able to sample five wines and keep the glass!

Amber Hammen, a former high school teacher who returned to the family farm to help her dad run the winery, cheerfully manned the bar and gave us both the history and some future goals for the place. She said she’d like to start including live music this summer and expand the outdoor seating area.

In addition to the alcoholic offerings, Hammen Family Orchard sells apple cider vinegar, a variety of pickled vegetables, salsa, goat milk soaps and lotions and sunflower oil and popcorn from Bergsbaken Farms. They also cross-promote Yoder’s Bakery and host apple tastings in the fall.

We brought home two bottles of wine, the Petite Pearl (a dry, bold grape wine with notes of red cherry and plum) and Marquette (Ring Out Ahoya for this medium body dry red wine with blueberry and light caramel notes).

We’re pretty excited to have another cool, local place to enjoy this summer and we’re really looking forward to retuning with friends and family.

Lee Bergsbaken does more for his community than anyone realizes. I’d really like to write a whole post about him someday. He recommended The Hammen Family Orchard and Winery and so, of course, we gave it a try.
This shot will be more beautiful in almost any season but this one. Still, it is a nice view of some of the fruit trees, bushes and vines.
Amber Hammen is a really friendly and knowledgable host. Her dad Paul makes the wines, meads and ciders. He also made the beautiful bar from a giant slab of wood.
You can see the operation from the tasting room.
Here’s a tip: The Mulberry wine is going to go fast so, if you want to give it a try, I’d head over there soon. (The mulberry wine is a sweet wine that tasted a little like dessert.)
The Mulberry wine is one of their most popular.
They also sell Apple Cider Vinegar.
Bergsbaken sunflower oil…
Bergsbaken popcorn.
And homemade goat milk lotion and soap and pickled vegetables.

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