On top of a hill in southwest Wisconsin, Todd and Janet Kuehl offer a “wine and dine” experience that’s truly inspired by its scenic surroundings.
What’s better than sipping wine surrounded by an amazing view? It’s a difficult question to answer at Bailey’s Run Vineyard, in New Glarus, Wis., where relaxation and locally produced wine go hand-in-hand with a 132-foot porch that overlooks the rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin.
“We have one of the best views in the area on 12 acres of just gorgeous, gorgeous land,” says Janet Kuehl, co-owner of the winery with her husband, Todd. “We’re in New Glarus on top of a hill, and when the leaves start to change colors, it’s absolutely stunning.”
The Kuehls produce about 20 wines, from a light and sweet strawberry to “Desire,” a premium, dry brut rose.
Since 2018, this year-round winery has been a must-see among New Glarus visitors. The winery is named after the Kuehls’ 9-year-old dog, Bailey, a goldendoodle.
The couple’s journey started in 2015 when Todd came up with an idea to grow his own grapes.
“I thought it was bizarre, but I said ‘Sure, why not,’” Janet says. “I thought he wanted to grow maybe 15 or 20 vines, but after a couple of years, we had 3,000 vines in the ground.”
New Glarus’ rugged hills turned out to be the perfect location for a winery, and the couple figured it could be a well-liked attraction given that New Glarus is a popular tourist destination. As they started planning out their business, the Kuehls met with other wineries to collect as much advice as they could.
Todd honed his craft and worked with other seasoned winemakers to develop a line of creative wines and blends that have become a signature for Bailey’s Run.
One of the Kuehls’ most consistent best-sellers is the Edelweiss. It’s a slightly acidic white wine made from edelweiss grapes, a variety of cold-hardy fruit that’s especially well-suited to the local climate.
“It’s an off-dry wine that’s very crisp, and it’s served chilled,” Janet says. “It’s really easy to drink.”
No matter which wine you drink, the Kuehls are sure it’ll pair perfectly with a wood-fired pizza. Fresh pies are baked in-house all weekend.
“We worked with experienced wood-fire pizza makers,” Janet says. “We didn’t want to put out something that was just going to be OK; we wanted it to be amazing.”
The dough is made from scratch and the herbs are grown on site. The Bailey pizza is a fan favorite, made with mozzarella and Italian sausage. A unique choice is the Kicken Chicken, which has buffalo chicken and is topped with mozzarella and blue cheeses.
“Oh, my gosh, they’re so, so good,” Janet says.
Although the pizza oven is quiet on weekdays, diners can find other food options to pair with their drinks, including meat and cheese boards, pulled pork nachos and large Bavarian pretzels.
Just in case wine isn’t your thing, the Kuehls also keep a dozen beers on hand, including fresh brews from nearby New Glarus Brewing Co.
The winery is open year-round and hosts live music on the weekends. A large lawn leaves plenty of room for families to spread out with lawn chairs and blankets.
“When people come here, they just literally exhale and they set everything else aside,” Janet says. “People should be happy, smiling and relaxed. Creating that atmosphere for each person coming though our doors means everything to us.”
Bailey’s Run Vineyard is open Monday through Thursday at 11 a.m. and Friday through Sunday at 10 a.m.