I find nothing more exciting than a true success story. An idea put into action, a hobby becoming a fruitful business, dreamers that are doers. Spoiler alert: Pieper Porch Winery and Vineyards is exactly that – a dream made a reality through the hard work of Kathy and Todd, the husband and wife visionaries who built their neighborhood winery from the ground up!
I had the pleasure of visiting Pieper Porch, a local winery and vineyard in the Mukwonago/Waukesha area a few weeks back. Located off the winding country River Road with Vernon Marsh as its picturesque backdrop, you will find this family-owned, artisanal winery specializing in some pretty distinctive wine varieties. Pieper Porch sits on 11 acres and has a welcoming 1,300 square foot porch that is heavily frequented in the warmer months. Kathy and Todd live and work on the grounds and find support in their small but mighty 10-person staff. As you enter the property you can’t help but embrace the countryside that surrounds you gifting you the experience of relaxation and the opportunity to unwind and unplug. The winery itself is intimate in size but offers ample seating, two tasting bars, and enough room for small events. You are greeted by many of their awarded wines on display, in addition to the staff’s warm welcoming smiles. Pieper Porch prides itself on making guests feel like family, stressing the Midwest values they grew up with. The family’s main goal is to serve and educate the community with their wines and the process that goes into creating their products.
What began as a mere hobby for Todd quickly evolved into a rewarding business. As his winemaking progressed and his knowledge matured, an opportunity was realized and the slow curation of what makes Pieper Porch what it is today was put into motion. Both Kathy and Todd are proud to share that they have not yet strayed from their original business plan built so many years ago – and that business just continues to get better. What makes Pieper Porch unique is the fact that they are a small batch winery (producing 72 – 144 gallons at a time). By providing smaller quantities, it allows them some freedom to also try different varieties. They offer both grape wines – which many are familiar with – reds and whites. But what they are most known for are their fruit wines better known as their porch wines. Flavors ranging from apple, cranberry, peach, and rhubarb to their very unique, and oh so tasty lemon and lime wines! The citrus creations are crowd pleasers and paired perfectly with the warmth of their porch on a summer day. Their stainless-steel barrels that you can’t help but notice inside their winery plays a unique part of their process, as that is where the wines age. The ones on display are merely décor but give you a taste of where the wine lives before being bottled.
Originally opening with 8 varieties – 4 grape-based and 4 fruit-based, their collection has grown considerably over the years. And their popularity continues to grow too! The best form of advertising is word of mouth, and the love of their community patrons and others visiting has put them on the map as a destination in the area. Kathy and Todd do not serve food but encourage you to bring what you like – they have said they are impressed with the picnics and displays people have brought in! Everything seems to pair well with a bottle of their wines.Before signing off, I asked Kathy and Todd to share some insider tips when it comes to visiting a vineyard and taking part in a tasting. Here is what they had to say:
- Walk in with an open mind. Use this opportunity to taste different wines. You may know what you already like, so try something new.
- Be present. At the tasting bar, its best advised you pay attention. The staff at most wineries are there to not only serve you but educate you too. Pieper Porch purposely does not don TVs on their walls or play loud music, creating the perfect atmosphere to solely focus on the experience.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! As previously mentioned, they are there to educate guests. Speaking to Kathy and Todd, they love what they do, and get pleasure from others interest as well. Don’t feel intimidated, it’s just wine.
- Lastly, be cognizant of how to properly hold your glass. Wineries ensure their wines are at the correct temperature for serving, so holding your wine glass at the stem or base is proper etiquette.
I first heard of Pieper Porch Winery from my neighbor (again, word of mouth is a powerful thing) and knew I had to check it out. I am beyond appreciative of the time that Kathy and Todd took out of their day to educate me on their process and products. I even left with the purchase of two wines. We are in the midst of the holiday party circuit, which means it’s a great time to have bottles on hand, and a unique variety from a local vineyard would make an incredibly thoughtful gift. Speaking of gifts, Pieper Porch is a gift to the community providing a fun and safe space to enjoy some cool wine and the company of others. I am already looking forward to planning my next visit.
Wine Tastings: 5 wines at no charge
Pieper Porch is open on the weekends Friday – Sunday | 11 am – 5 pm