Experience history, creative food pairings, relaxation and innovative winemaking at Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery in the village of Kohler.
The beautiful 7-acre property dating back to the 1800’s was once home to the Dreps family and their beloved and blind lead workhorse, Birdy. Birdy was quite the legend, and today his story lives on throughout the property including its name and with a beautiful life-size Percheron draft horse sculpture of Birdy on the front lawn.
Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery in Kohler has three distinct spaces for guests to enjoy: the 1881 brick farmhouse turned restaurant; winery and spacious outdoor patio; and The Granary Bourbon Bar inside a gorgeous early 1900’s barn with original hand-hewn beams and floors.
Blind Horse Winery & Patio
A great way to start the Blind Horse journey is in the modern barn setting with a wine tasting or wine and cheese pairing. Blind Horse’s knowledgeable staff guides guests through General Manager and Master Winemaker Tom Nye’s winemaking process including the history of the property, Nye’s background, procurement of grapes and the process of grape to bottle. Enjoy four Wisconsin cheeses such as Carr Valley, Hook’s Cheese and Santori that pair perfectly with four Blind Horse wines in this delightful tasting. Other options include a wine and Kohler chocolate pairing as well as an interactive barrel-tasting tour.
Winemaker Nye’s background and innovation are impressive. Hailing originally from the East Coast, he learned the art of winemaking working for a seasoned Italian winemaker. He would later incorporate those learnings and his own along the way to create the available varieties you find today at Blind Horse, which are unlike the typically sweeter Wisconsin wines.
Nye gets all of his grapes from California growers, crushing them within 48 hours of arrival. All fermentation, barreling, blending and bottling happens on-site (which can sometimes take years – depending on the blends). He has great passion and pride in his process. “It’s an art,” he says. “I love taking a grape and making it into something that people enjoy.” Nye strives to innovate, push boundaries and continue to challenge himself and his wine-making process.
Blind Horse has a handful of sweet wines like the ever-popular Peach Chardonnay but the winery focuses mainly on dry whites and reds like the Dam Sire, a blend of zin, Cabernet, Grenache, Syrah and Petite Syrah, or the new floral-forward White Stallion, which is half Pinot Grigio and Viognier in a custom clear white bottle. Looking for bubbles? Blind Horse makes a lovely sparkling brut – made in a very laborious and time-consuming French process, but worth it! Make sure to check out the bottles with Braille, an homage to Birdy, of course.
The outside patio area is the lifeblood of the property, along the trees and babbling brook; a wonderful place to enjoy nature, easy conversation or special events and music. The patio has a casual kitchen with items like tacos and pizzas. Outside kitchen hours vary. Blind Horse hosts myriad events including a Blues & Wine Festival, Food Truck Fest and Country Music Festival as well as local and live music. A full list can be found here.
Winery hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Blind Horse Restaurant
Open since 2014, the property’s restaurant is an upscale-casual dining experience set in the rustic 140-plus-year-old farmhouse. Open Monday through Saturday at 5 p.m., the small but creative menu, inspired by Napa Valley, hits the palate in all the right places with unique flavor pairings. Check out appetizers like LaClare Farms goat cheese curds with Door County cherry compote, lamp dumplings or fried chicken buns with sweet chili glaze. Enjoy the creative bruschetta board with various options to choose from including crab, roasted tenderloin, port wine-poached figs or prosciutto. This is not your basic board! Entrees include such delights as the savory butternut squash ravioli, tender slow-braised short rib risotto, pancetta-wrapped scallops, filet and a salmon tower with Nuoc Cham dressing. Pair with a glass or bottle suggested by Nye. Stay for an after-dinner drink, dessert like panna cotta or a house-made sparkling wine martini. Blind Horse Restaurant’s downstairs cellar provides additional seating or space for private parties.
The Granary Bourbon Bar
Get cozy inside The Granary Bourbon Bar, a full-restored early-1900’s barn with reclaimed wood and hand-hewed beams. The vibe is rustic, chic and uber-inviting. Clearly, bourbon is on the menu – served neat or on the rocks as well as classic cocktails, wine and beer. (Make sure to ask about the barrel-aged cocktails.) The Granary also has a menu including sandwiches, soups, salads and appetizers like pad Thai, truffle fries, crab cakes and the must-try housemade bratwurst and sauerkraut dumpling “brat stickers.” Granary Nights feature a pop-up restaurant – like Ramen nights and Friday’s Fish Fry and $5 Old Fashioneds. Saturdays call for live music. The Granary Bourbon Bar is open Thursday to Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. Tell them a little Birdy sent you.
For more information about Blind Horse Restaurant & Winery, visit theblindhorse.com.
6018 Superior Ave.
Kohler, WI 53044