Building Relationships For Life:

Wollersheim Winery

Wollersheim Winery was established in 1972 by Bob and JoAnn Wollersheim. Today, it is managed by winemaker Philippe Coquard and his wife Julie, Bob and JoAnn’s oldest daughter. It is the largest winery in Wisconsin and one of the leading wineries in the Midwest. They have received accolades for the 2012 Winery of the Year and 2013 Wine of the Year at the San Diego International Wine Competition. They have achieved milestones such as their 40 year anniversary and the release of COQUARD Brandy. Now they are celebrating history — the history of wine and their winery story.

The Wollersheim Winery property is rich with history. The national historic site was selected for vineyards in the 1840s by Agoston Haraszthy, the founder of the California wine industry. Agoston began aging wines in a sandstone cave snuggled in the vineyard hillside of the property. Bob Wollersheim dreamed of preserving the cave shortly after purchasing the property. According to Julie, her father wrote in his journal, “Look at the cave in August — it is too expensive to fix now.”

Philippe and Julie knew it was time to make his dream a reality — the wine cave was preserved this year. The renovations included new landscaping, a walking path to the cave, and a wine garden terrace near Bob Wollersheim’s commemorative oak tree. According to Philippe, “We are still looking into ideas on how to use the cave, but it has been here since 1847, so why rush?”

The Wollersheim Winery story is one of legacy. For Philippe and his family, winemaking has been a way of life for over 400 years. For Julie, growing up at the winery meant an early “understanding of the scope and history of the business. It is a part of your life from the beginning.” Now, the third generation is contributing to the family’s winemaking legacy. “It means everything to have our children involved,” said Julie.

Bank of Prairie du Sac has been with Wollersheim Winery since their story began. “My parents started the winery with nothing — Bank of Prairie du Sac and Charlie Ploetz believed in their dream,” said Julie. It has been a partnership from the start; Bank of Prairie du Sac remains a trusted adviser as the winery continues to evolve. “We have a 40-year relationship with Bank of Prairie du Sac built on trust — trust is everything,” said Philippe. Bank of Prairie du Sac and Wollersheim Winery have built a relationship for life.