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Door County Wine, Cheese and More

Door County is located on a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan in northeast Wisconsin. It has 300 miles of shoreline, thousands of acres of cherry and apple orchards, numerous state and county parks, lighthouses, wineries and breweries, art galleries and more. Door County has a year-round population of 28,000 and as many as 250,000 during the summer. It has been referred to as “The Cape Cod of the Midwest”. 

While staying in nearby Green Bay, Wisconsin we decided to take a day trip to Door County. We had been in the area before but it had been a number of years ago since our last visit. We could easily spend a week or two exploring the area but our current schedule only permitted a day so we made the most of it. Follow along as we sample wine, eat a variety of cheeses, watch goats on a roof, hike along the shore of Lake Michigan and much more. 

The first stop of the day was at Door Peninsula Winery in Sturgeon Bay. The winery offered seven free samples of wine from their huge selection. 

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Our favorites were their Blackberry, Blackberry Merlot and Frostline ice wine. The store also had fudge, flavored mustard and olive oil samples. 

Simon Creek Vineyard and Winery in Sturgeon Bay was next on the tour. It is located in a beautiful, quiet setting in the country. The winery offered five wine samples for $5 including a souvenir glass.  

Just down the road from Simon Creek was Schopf’s Hilltop Dairy. At the dairy you can purchase sandwiches, fudge, ice cream and gifts. Outside there is a petting zoo and in fall they feature a corn maze.  The dairy tour is accessible from inside the building and offers views of the milking parlor along with educational information all about milk cows and dairy production. 

At the dairy we were able to watch their 20 cow milking parlor in action. The dairy milks 500 cows three times a day producing approximately 4,300 gallons of milk per day. 

Schartner’s Farm Market in Egg Harbor offered fresh produce, wine, maple syrup and fresh homemade pies. The pies are made with fruits that are grown by Schartners including sweet and tart cherries, plums, apples, raspberries and strawberries. The maple syrup is made from sugar maple trees that are part of the family farm as well. 

Schartner’s Farm Market also sells local crafts and home decor. As expected, Green Bay Packer decor is popular in northeast Wisconsin. 

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Harbor Ridge Winery was the next stop on our day trip to Door County, Wisconsin. They offered 6 wine samples for $4. We really enjoyed their “Carmen’s Last Dance” wine and learned that it is their most popular product. It is a sweet full-bodied Concord grape wine that is full of fruit flavor. 

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin is also home to Wisconsin Cheese Masters. We stopped in to sample a few of their offerings. Great cheese! We especially liked their Airco cheese which is made from cow, goat and ewe milk and then lightly smoked over apple wood. 

A relief woodcarving made into a light switch at Wisconsin Cheese Masters. 

As we continued north east through Egg Harbor we found Wood Orchard Market. This is a fun stop with a great mix of produce, bakery, food products, gifts and home decor. They offered free samples of many of their products including fresh warm cherry donuts that are made in-house. They were as delicious as they sound!

A sampling of the home decor offered at Wood Orchard Market. 

Directly across the highway from Wood Orchard Market in Egg Harbor is Door Artisan Cheese Company. They offered a variety of cheeses as well as craft beers and wine. They advertised fresh cheese curds on their sign but sadly were sold out before we arrived just after noon. 

Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market in Fish Creek is a great stop. They offer wine, dips, salsa, cherry products, bakery, candies, etc. 

The winery offers free samples of up to six wines. Our favorite was their Blackberry Splash. It is a light fruity wine with pronounced blackberry flavor. Yum!

This Bloody Mary dip was amazing. It had just enough kick to keep it interesting but not overpowering. Mmm. 

Further north east is the town of Sister Bay which is home to Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik. After all the sampling we did on our trek through Door County we didn’t have room to eat a big meal but still had to stop to look at the uniqueness of the roof of the restaurant. 

The roof is composed of sod and during the daytime hours from May thru October of each year is home to several goats. They were very entertaining to watch and the streets were filled with people taking photos of their antics. 

Our last stop of the day was at Cave Point County Park in Sturgeon Bay. The park features underwater caves, hiking trails and limestone cliffs along Lake Michigan. The air was considerably windier and cooler as we neared the water. Glad we always keep jackets stashed in the car as we sure needed them. 

What a day we had in Door County, Wisconsin! Even with all the stops we barely made a dent in all that Door County has to offer. It is a great summer destination that should be on every traveler’s agenda at least once. We look forward to going back to the area at some point when we have much more time to explore. Happy travels!