Jan/Feb
2017

Women and Wine: Villa Bellezza Winery and Vineyards: Wine Tasting and Winter Sports at a Mediterranean-Style Winery

Written by Nicole L. Czarnomski
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Villa Bellezza Winery and Vineyards, offering award winning wine and gourmet food, is worth the hour drive any time of year. Make a day of it and get some fresh air and exercise while you’re there this winter.

Villa Bellezza Winery and Vineyards is located in Pepin, Wisconsin. “Bellezza” is the Italian word for “beauty,” which aptly describes Villa Bellezza’s architecture and the surrounding valleys and scenic bluffs. The sprawling southern European-style building includes the tasting room, piazza, catering kitchen, reception hall, generously sized foyer, great hall or ballroom and luxurious apartments, perfect for pre-wedding preparations.

DAHLENS CREATE A LEGACY

Eighteen years ago, Derick Dahlen, owner and winemaker at Villa Bellezza, met restaurant owners Rosette and Maria in Minneapolis. Rosette and Maria, originally from Calabria, Italy, loved creating savory meals for their customers at Sorrento Cucina. Over the years, the Dahlen family developed a friendship with Rose and her husband, Umberto. Through Rose and Umberto, the Dahlens met the owners of a small farm and vineyard in Zagarollo, Italy. They experienced the delight in handmade things and wanted to create their own legacy.

CASA DELLA PANTERA

Derick is one of two winemakers at Villa Bellezza and is the visionary behind the classical architecture. Julianne Dahlen is a marketing aficionado who is in charge of sales and marketing at Villa Bellezza. The Dahlen family planted vines at their vacation home in Stockholm, Wisconsin more than 10 years ago. The vineyard is named Casa Della Pantera, after their home outside Stockholm. The literal translation is “House of the Panther.” According to the Dahlen family, the bluff area has been known for its sightings of a lone yellow mountain lion for many years. 

Frontenac, St. Pepin and Prairie Star grapes are grown at Casa Della Pantera. The Dahlen family has since planted more vineyards known as the Villa Bellezza vineyard. Today, Villa Bellezza is much more than vineyards; it’s a relaxing place for families and friends to create special memories and enjoy good conversation.

Villa Bellezza is open year-round and hosts events throughout the year. It’s perfect for weddings and receptions, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, corporate events, winery tours and private parties. Invite your family, friends or association to host an event there. They will cater to all your needs.  

SIP AND SKI

If you’re looking for adventure, Villa Bellezza has partnered with a local farm for the third year in a row to offer snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Kim Beebe, Villa Bellezza advertising coordinator, says, “Once again we've teamed up with our neighbor Tom Brockman and his Lucky Dog Farms to offer rustic cross-country ski and snowshoe trails for our guests.” 

Beebe recommends checking in at the tasting room to purchase glass or bottle(s) of wine, then explore the trails. “We’ll provide you with a map, and signs along the trail will keep you on track. Ski on the left, snowshoe on the right. The trail is 2.6 miles long, with a shorter 1.4 mile course available. There are also several optional cut-throughs to shorten the distance,” says Beebe. The trail is available when snow is on the ground and before sundown during tasting room open hours. Make sure to bring your own gear to enjoy the trails. Villa Bellezza doesn’t rent snowshoes or skis.

APRES SKI

After you’ve had your fill of fresh air and powdery snow, head back to the tasting room to relax with another glass of their award-winning wine and sample some of their savory dishes. They offer baguettes and Italian meats and cheeses every day. On the weekend, indulge in paninis, salads, flatbread pizzas and dessert.

VILLA BELLEZZA WINERY AND VINEYARDS HOURS OF OPERATION:

Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday - Thursday11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nicole L. Czarnomski is a freelance writer.