By Taylor Smith
Just three miles outside of Menomonie, Cottage Winery is an up-and-coming destination close to home that offers the feeling of a natural, secluded getaway. Father and daughter wine enthusiasts Tom and Teresa Jorgenson have created a space that’s designed for relaxation, fun and learning.
The Jorgensens began working on Cottage Winery about five years ago. Teresa has a background in computers and event planning, and Tom had been in the construction business his entire life.
“I think he just wanted a project, and he came up with the winery, so I’m like, sure let’s go for it!” Teresa laughed.
The two of them built the two main buildings, the bridge, waterfall and vineyards themselves on a bare piece of property.
“My dad had found this plot of land that was close to the freeway and had rolling hills—it was just the most gorgeous setting,” Teresa said.
There are multiple sites for weddings, and this spring there are building plans for a new three-season pavilion to be used for receptions. They currently have 16 weddings booked for this coming summer and are expecting a busy season.
“We’re kind of a winery meets wine bar,” Teresa explained in the tasting room, which consists of a small bar, decorative tables and rustic shelves stacked with various bottles of wine.
“We have six bottles with our label, and we also buy wines from all around the world,” Teresa adds.
They carry wines from California, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America as well as local brands. In addition to wine, they also offer cheese, crackers, chocolate, beer and soda.
“We have a tasting sheet that usually has around 15 wines you can choose from that switches up every week,” Teresa explained. “We definitely have our staple wines, though.”
In terms of a background in the wine business, Teresa exclaimed, “The only experience I had in the wine industry is that I drank and knew I liked wine! We’re casual in the sense that we’re learning about wines too, so we don’t want our guests to think that they can’t come out here if they’ve never had wines or they know they don’t like any wines. We’re here to educate.”
Jorgensen emphasizes that learning about wine is nothing to be afraid of. Whenever she comes across someone who’s hesitant to try new wines, she reassures, “It’s just a liquid. We’re not the French; we’re not the Italians; we’re Americans. We’re going to drink things how we want them to be drunk.”
“I would actually love to get more University of Wisconsin–Stout students out here,” Jorgensen said. “I love the students that come.”
They’re determined to attract of-age students to the winery and offer a 10 percent discount if you show your student ID. They’re also striving to keep prices reasonable, and most glasses are in the 6 to 7 dollar range. Keep an eye out for upcoming events as well, including “Around the World Wine Tasting,” “Port and Chocolate Tasting” and a grape stomping event.
The opening date in early March is still dependent upon the weather, but it will be announced on their Facebook page and website, cottage-wine.com