How a challenge turned into award winning wines in hayward wisconsin
What started off as a “I betcha I could make wines” challenge—“Famous Dave” Anderson the founder and creator of many award winning restaurant concepts and the brain trust for some of the best selling retail products in Grocery Stores and Big Box Retailers—his line up includes: BBQ Sauces, BBQ Seasonings, Spicy Sweet Pickles, Cornbread Muffin Mixes, Bloody Mary Mixes & Hot Sauces. The national seasoning companies Dave works with for his restaurant concepts has shared, “There are probably 5 people in America that are blessed with Famous Dave’s extraordinary palate! Its uncanny how he can create recipes that are tasty, delicious, mouthwatering, and totally 'his own' flavor profile that is quickly discernibly different from all the other thousands of products on the market!"
How Tamarack Farms got started: One day his brother-in-law Paul Rynning who farms the family farm, and he loves growing the sweetest sweet corn, juicy strawberries, beans, cucumbers, melons, squash, a variety of herbs and some colorful flowers—shared one day how some ladies were carrying out some big buckets of strawberries and Paul exclaimed, “It looks like you ladies are making some strawberry pies tonight!” —to which they replied very expressively with big huge smiles, “NO We’re making WINE!”
That brought a discussion between Paul and my wife Kathy how growing up their mom & dad always had in the basement a few A&W gallon jugs with balloons on top. Their mom & dad made homemade wines using stuff around their family farm—crabapple & dandelion wines. And I popped up that I betcha I could make wine too! My wife Kathy thought I was crazy since I don’t drink. But I thought all these 50 some years I’ve been making award winning & nationally best selling barbecue sauces that I could make wines too!
So I hooked up with Dave Von Rueden one of my best friends and my right hand who has been with me since the beginning of Famous Daves and it was Dave Von Rueden who along with me witnessed the first Famous Dave barbecued rib ever eaten! And I knew that Dave has German roots and is curious foodie himself and when I told Dave that I was thinking of making wines—he shared that he loved the idea as in years past he has tinkered around making homemade beer—of course why not right? …he’s German—and they all make beer!
Below you see Dave Von Rueden and myself making the first batches of our wines. We were using the natural fruits that grow in our Northland environment: Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Cranberries, Strawberries, and Apples. Once we made up some batches the first ones weren’t so good but there was some winners so we thought. But the only way to find out was to send them to some wine contests.
WHOA!!! Were we surprised when we received an special package from Winemaker’s Magazine which sponsor’s an international Wine Competition and inside the package was several medals!!! —we quickly & nervously started reading the findings—out of 2500 entries we had been awarded 2 Golds + 2 Silvers + 1 Bronze Ribbons for being Best In Class! WOW! —right out of the gate we’re award winning wine makers! At first we thought this might all be a fluke so we started sending out our wines and we kept winning!!! —and so the journey begins!
Below is a good friend Piero Spada, our Wine Consultant. Piero is an amazing young man who not only has his degree in wine making but he is one of America’s most talented wine making consultants! Piero helped us in the beginning to give us the insights we needed to get into making wines professionally.
He also introduced us to Branches Winery in Wesby, WI owned by Gene & Therese Bergholz. Branches Winery creates award-wines from cold weather estate-grown grapes. Since we decided our Winery has to feature Famous Dave’s amazing food: pizzas, fresh salads, and barbecue—we quickly ran out of space—so currently all our signature wines are made in what’s called a “Custom Crush” by wonderful folks at Branches Winery.
Here Piero with Kathy Anderson and Dave Von Rueden— helping us create our wonderful Wine Inventory for our Tamarack Farms Winery. We carry some well known must have wines but we also feature many small boutique wineries that are too small to sell to a big outlet like Total Wines. Come visit us and you’ll love our refreshing wines!
Good friends Therese & Gene Bergholz, wine makers and owners of Branches Winery that helps with custom crushes to make our own award winning wines featured at Tamarack Farms Winery.
tamarack farms winery