By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 05, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Wineries offering personalized winemaking options and hosting clubs for grape-fiends that want to get their feet dirty (not literally dirty, of course) in the process of turning grapes into wine are nothing new. But, local versions are few and far between.

Kewaunee's Parallel 44 Vineyard and Winery -- 18 miles east of Green Bay -- has changed that by launching its Barrel Club, which allows a limited number of wine lovers to crush grapes and press them, then rack, filter and bottle their own wine.

The two dozen bottles that result will bear the customer's personalized label.

"The enroll is going well," says Parallel 44 co-owner Maria Milano. "We are close to filling our enrollment, which is meant to be small intimate group."

Milano says that so far, the club has attracted -- unsurprisingly --a wine lover who is curious about the process.

"The people seem to be wine enthusiasts who not just love to drink wine, but want to cross over into that wine making world that is part agricultural, part science, part art with a touch of romance and fun."

Membership in the club also includes a few other perks, including advance wine tastings, hands-on classes and access to winemaking podcasts.

The Barrel Club costs $444 and includes two dozen bottles of your own wine with your own label.

Contact Parallel 44 -- the name of which refers to Kewaunee's latitude, which also runs through Bordeaux and Tuscany -- at (888) 932-0044 or at

Summer wine event just a Stone's Throw north

While Russell Turco's Stone's Throw Winery is located in Door County, you can get a taste of what the winery has to offer at a wine-tasting event in Mequon.

The debut Stone's Throw Winery end of summer wine tasting event takes place Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at The Take Five Lounge at Marcus North Shore Cinema, 11700 N. Port Washington Rd., in Mequon.

The event features eight varieties of wines from 12-year-old Stone's Throw, which makes its wine in Door County from California- and Wisconsin-grown grapes.

There will be gourmet hors d'oeuvres and music by local jazz guitarist Michael Arnold.

The food is prepared by Steven Schnur, who is executive chef of the Zaffiro's Pizzeria and Bar at the cinema.

Tickets are limited and cost $35 per person. They can be purchased by contacting (262) 241-8484 or

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.