Interview: Renate Hauser of Bayfield Winery
As the Berry Capital of Wisconsin, Bayfield is the perfect location to start a winery!
Using a majority of local fruits, including apples, blueberries, raspberries and rhubarb, Bayfield Winery produces 11 varieties of wine that can be purchased online, at the farm or throughout town.
Read our interview to find out more about Bayfield Winery, including how to order bottles of wine for your wedding!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Bayfield Winery.
My name is Renate Hauser and I have been the chief wine maker for Bayfield Winery since 2002, when it was completely transferred to me from my husband Scott (part of the Hauser’s Superior Farm family). In my previous life, before the winery, I was an accountant so I still do all my books and taxes, etc. I spend my summers working in Bayfield and my winters working on Water Island, one of the US Virgin Islands where Scott works year round. We have two adult children Ian and Caitlin, Ian stays on the farm all year working the farm and helping me in the winery and Caitlin is starting a new business adventure in the Virgin Islands.
Scott and I started the winery in 1995 with a great idea and not much for capital. Bayfield Winery came into being as an added value product for the farm. The goal was to bring the visitors from downtown Bayfield up to the farms – all of which have little farm stores. It’s taken a long time but we finally get good traffic during the peak summer and fall weeks.The winery has slowly grown over the years adding new and interesting wines and retiring some others. The winery shares the retail space at Hauser’s Superior View Farm in the historic barn where it is open only part of the year for retail sales. The barn is unheated and really uncomfortable in the winter. A new production facility was built in 2008 allowing for more growth, of course, now we need another bigger building.
Do you grow the fruit used to make your wine? Also, tell us a little bit about the process from growing the fruit to producing the wine.
We don’t grow all of the fruit for making the wine, some of the fruit comes from neighboring farms and some I have to get from a fruit broker in Chicago. We do grow the apples, blueberries, raspberries and rhubarb for the wines which are all harvested at different times.
The apples are pressed in the fall after they ripen. They are immediately tested and adjusted for acidity and sweetness if required to make the final product what we want it to be then the totes containing the cider are left to sit for a couple of days to let the solids sink to the bottom. We then rack off the cider on top of the solids and pump it into one of the fermentation tanks, make any final adjustments, add yeast and the fermentation begins.
We use the same process for all of the fruit and blend the wines over the winter, bottle in the spring in-time for the retail store to open.
Bottling Process at Bayfield Winery
Have you done orders for weddings?
Yes, we have done orders of wine for weddings. Most brides are either familiar with the wine and know what they want or come in to taste the wine then pick out what they want. Most brides pick up the wine because they are having a local wedding but we have shipped wine to a few brides further away. We do offer a discount if they purchase a case or more of the wine.
How far in advance do you prefer couples to order their wine?
Unless we are close to running out of the wine the couple wants, a few days’ notice is fine. We can pack up the wine and have it ready for them to pick up at their convenience. Large orders are no problem to fill just as quickly as small orders. We do suggest they pick up the wine or make arrangements for delivery a few days ahead of the big day to reduce stress.
Are there any recommendations you have for engaged couples planning their wedding?
Come in with the menu you plan to serve and we can help you pick out an appropriate wine. We also recommend the couple try the wines to make sure they are getting what they want and expect.