This past Sunday, May 20th marked the One Year Anniversary of the toppling of our iconic Mighty Oak tree. The Burr Oak, which graces the Wollersheim Winery and Distillery logo, is as much a part of our historic winery as the vines, barrels and cellars. It defines us — so we’re doing our best to save it.
While we were thankful that the tree fell away from the original winery building, saving the irreplaceable 1850s limestone structure, it was nonetheless difficult to see our beloved oak tree keeled over our pathway. But as the shock of the bewildering sight dissipated, a plan began to form.
We contacted our longtime arborist and got right to work. Using a crane, a team of chainsaws and a lift, the crew began to remove the damaged extremities of the Mighty Oak and continued pruning the tree until it was given its best chance at survival.
Though hopeful, we were ultimately unsure at the future of our Mighty Oak as the growing season approached. Surviving disaster during the summer months in Wisconsin is far from a guarantee that the same will continue through the infamously brutal winters.
“All spring we waited to see if the buds were swelling,” 13th generation winemaker Philippe Coquard said. “Every day I walked by to check and yes – one day the buds had opened and now the tree is alive and looking great!”
So with summer approaching and despite a seemingly never ending winter, it appears our Mighty Oak has fared mighty well over the long and arduous winter months.
The branches are strong and the leaves and buds are as green as can be. It stands now as the most wonderful archway on the redbrick path as you ascend the hill to Wollersheim Winery and Distillery.
“It is resting and continuing to grow in its new position, as nature is relentless and will adapt and adopt to this new path of growth,” Philippe stated. “We are proud to have the Arch of Wollersheim Winery.”
The tree isn’t without it’s scars, but it’s here to stay.