A sweet red wine called #ThrowbackThursday Red promises to take you back to a simpler time – when recess was your main priority.
As winery owner and winemaker Amanda Stefl was talking about the winery she recently opened in Milton, #ThrowbackThursday Red was being bottled in a back room. It’s one of three named after hashtags and part of the Social Sweet Series that’s in the works.
Timber Hill Winery is located 1223 E Storrs Lake Rd, Unit 1. To get there, head east on Storrs Lake Road from the Milton House and turn right into the driveway before the greenhouses. The winery is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
It was a Friday afternoon when Stefl, with the help of relatives, was bottling wine.
More than five years ago, Stefl graduated with a degree in microbiology. Before she made wine, she worked in a lab. Looking to do something else, she attended a career symposium for microbiologists and was inspired to try winemaking.
She took classes in wine making and winery management at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There, she learned all about growing grapes and making wine from Midwestern varieties.
With the help of her parents, Tim and Pam O’Leary of Fort Atkinson, she started making wine at home. Together they made the wine for her wedding and not just one kind but several including white, red, dry and sweet.
“People loved it and that was even more of a motivator,” Stefl said.
To make the wine, Stefl uses grapes from cold climates (known as cold climate varietals).
Whether the ingredients are grapes or juices, she said, “We try to get as much as we can from Wisconsin.”
She’s picked grapes in Oregon (Wisconsin) and gotten grapes near West Bend.
Most of the wines are named after the varietal. (Blends and special series are exceptions.)
Diamond, for example, is the name of the grape. A medium body dry white, it’s described as having a pronounced floral bouquet rounded out with a hint of golden apple.
A soft semi-dry red, Frontenac has aromas of cherry, blackberry and plum.
Antler Shed Red is described as a bright, ruby red dry wine with early aroma and well-balanced flavors. (It pairs well with steak or wild game like venison.)
And, it’s one of Stefl’s personal favorites.
The name Timber Hill Winery comes from a love of the country, the outdoors, and the thought Stefl may someday have a winery on top of a hill, surrounded by trees. She and her husband, Matthew, were married at Milford Hills in Johnson Creek. The winery logo was inspired by its antler chandeliers.
The flavors of Timber Hill may be sampled in the tasting room with cheese and crackers. Thirteen wines are now available to purchase as a sample, by the glass or by the bottle. Along with bottles of wine, mulling spices may be purchased to add to wine warming in a crockpot on a cold day.
Stefl has observed customers have different tastes.
“It’s amazing to me how different everyone’s tastes can be,” she said. “Couples come in and experience different tastes and smells from the same wine.
“That’s the beauty of wine,” she said. “It’s in the eye of the beholder.”