Skip to content
2022 Winery of the Year

Big News:  Parallel 44 Awarded 2022 Winery of the Year

After an absence of wine competitions over the last two years due to the challenges of the recent pandemic, Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery is pleased to announce that they are continuing on their tradition of winning wine competitions.

Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery was Awarded “Winery of the Year for 2022” at the International Cold Climate Wine Competition held on May 6, 2022 in Minnesota. The award went to the winery with the most medals in the competition. This competition is the only one exclusively dedicated to the wines made from grapes designed to withstand the winters known to the Upper Midwest, North East, and parts of Canada. The panel of 19 judges ranging from wine writers to sommeliers to winemakers evaluated over 325 wines.

“The reason this means a great deal to us is that this competition is focused solely on the new pioneering grape varietals and maverick winemaking styles that are making their presence known in the wine world” said co-owner and winemaker Steve Johnson. He added “From day one our mission has been to grow and establish a world class wine region in a place no one ever expected, the Frozen Tundra of Wisconsin.”

In addition to the 2022 Winery of the Year title, Parallel 44 also received additional awards of “Best of Show White” and “Best of Class Lacrescent” for its 2021 Lacrescent and “Best of Class Red Blend” for its 2021 Nouveau Rouge. In total Parallel 44 received 15 medals and its sister winery Door 44 received 5 medals. Door 44 Vineyard & Winery just north of Sturgeon Bay received Gold medals for its 2021 Sparkler, 2020 Sparkler, 2020 White Frosting, and 2020 Pink Door.

“We are very proud of our team that works in the vineyards and tasting rooms of our two wineries. It takes a great team to pioneer a wine region that was barely ‘a thought’ only 15 years ago. You need a ton of perseverance and passion on everyone’s part to pursue this mission of growing and producing wines from this part of the world” said Johnson. “But it’s not just us, the goal is to elevate the quality and reputation of this whole region, which now is officially recognized as one of the newest wine appellations in America called the Wisconsin Ledge, named after the Niagara Escarpment. While we produce the most “Wisconsin Ledge” wines out there, we want more and more wineries in the area to continue to grow their production of wines actually grown and produced in this very new American Viticultural Area” said Johnson.

Johnson, who is also president of the Wisconsin Winery Association, noted that while the Wisconsin Wine industry is very tourism centric, his dream is to see people in places like New York and Los Angeles ordering for example a “Lacrescent” from the Wisconsin Ledge just like the people of Wisconsin go to a restaurant now and ask for a “Pinot Noir” from Oregon.

About Parallel 44 and Door 44 Wineries
Parallel 44 Vineyard & Winery in Kewaunee, Wis. was started in 2005 by husband and wife team Steve Johnson and Maria Milano, pioneers in Wisconsin wine making. Steve grew up in Green Bay, ergo a die-hard Packer fan, where his father experimented early on with growing grapes in Wisconsin. Maria came to the winemaking tradition honestly too, as her Italian-born father made wine for family celebrations. The winery is on the same latitude as the storied wine regions of Bordeaux, France and Tuscany, Italy – thus the name Parallel 44. It’s located in the American Viticultural Area (AVA) known as the Wisconsin Ledge Appellation for the Niagara Escarpment ledge that dominates the landscape in the region. The winery’s 35-acre estate
includes more than 7,000 vines and counting.

The winery’s cold-hardy grape vines can withstand minus 30-degree temperatures in the winter and still rebound beautifully in the summer. There are nearly 25 wines in the line-up now; they’re available for purchase at the winery, online at, and at select retailers and restaurants throughout Wisconsin.

In summer of 2013, the owners opened their second winery, Door 44 Winery, just north of Sturgeon Bay, the gateway to the Door County peninsula and interestingly, also located on the 44th latitude. Just as with Parallel 44, Door 44 specializes in wines made from grapes grown in Wisconsin. The address for Door 44 is now 5464 County Road P, Sturgeon Bay. Door 44 wines are available at the winery and at select retailers.

Award Highlights from the 2022 International Cold Climate Wine Competition:

Frontenac Blanc – Wisconsin Ledge – Gold

LaCrescent – Wisconsin – Best of Show White, Best of Class La Crescent
Nouveau Rouge – Wisconsin – Best of Class Red Blend
Pink Door – Wisconsin – Gold

Sparkler – Wisconsin – Gold
White Frosting – Wisconsin – Gold

Recent awards and recognition for Parallel 44 and Door 44 Wines:
 Petite Pearl Reserve named Best Dry Red at the 2019 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition
 Drink Pink! named Best Off-Dry Rosé at the 2019 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition
 Sparkler named Best Sparkling Wine at the 2019 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition
 Ice Wine named Best Wisconsin Wine at the 2018 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition
 Ice Wine named Best Wine of Wisconsin at the 2018 Wine Is Wisconsin Competition
 Ice Wine Ranked 95 points by for the 2018 Midwest Wine Challenge
 Top 40 Wine of the World (Frozen Tundra White) at the 2017 Ultimate Wine Challenge
 2017 Wisconsin Grape Growers Association Winery of the Year
 Winery of the Year at the 2017 International Cold Climate Wine Competition.
 Wisconsin Winery of the Year at the 2017 International Wine Competition
 Best Wisconsin Wine (Sparkler) at the 2017 Wine Is Wisconsin Wine Competition
 Best Wisconsin Red Wine (P44’s F2) and Sparkling Wine (D44’s Sparkler) and Best Wisconsin
Wine (D44’s Sparkler) at the 2016 Wisconsin Professional Wine Competition.
 Best Overall Wine in Wisconsin (Petite Pearl), Best in Division (Frozen Tundra Original), Best Red
Wine (Petite Pearl) and Best Sparkling Wine (Bubbler) at the 2015 Wisconsin Professional Wine
 Best Overall Wine in Wisconsin (La Crescent), Best White Wine (La Crescent), Best Red Wine
(Petite Pearl) and Best Sparkling Wine (Bubbler) at the 2014 Wisconsin Professional Wine
 Best Sparkling Wine (Bubbler) at the 2014 International Cold Climate Wine Competition.

Back To Top