Despite our family’s vast efforts to preserve it, our Burr oak present on the Wollersheim logo, also known around the winery as our Mighty Oak, has reached the end of its historic life.
The well-known oak was already 30 years old when construction began on the winery building in the 1850s. It grew majestically as part of the winery’s family, decor, and the winery’s life, until it fell down, resting on its branches in May 2017.
“We did absolutely everything that we could to keep it going, and it almost worked, but over the last two years we saw less and less foliage,” Wollersheim’s Winemaker Philippe said. “This spring it was even less and the last few little green leaves have turned brown and disappeared. It is the end.”
While we are sad to see this chapter come to an end, we know we did everything in our power to save this extraordinary tree. When the Mighty Oak fell in 2017, we contacted our longtime arborist and got right to work. With the help of a crane and a lift, our team armed with chainsaws began removing damaged extremities until the oak was given its best chance at survival.
Concrete footings were dug deep into the ground for steel supports that were engineered to support the tree in its leaning position. Permanent cradles were installed at the top of the posts, completing the project. Had we pulled the tree back up, the concern was that we’d do more damage.
Though hopeful, we were ultimately unsure of the future of our Mighty Oak as the years passed. Surviving disaster during the summer months in Wisconsin is far from a guarantee that the same luck will continue through the infamously brutal winters. This year it has become evident that Mother Nature and Father Time have at last taken their toll on the illustrious oak tree.
While the life of the tree is no more, it will continue to grace the walkway at Wollersheim in its new form as a natural arch for as long as the team is able to maintain the safety of the structure.
“We will keep the Mighty Oak Arch for as long as it will be safe to do so,” Philippe promised.
Ever since the Mighty Oak fell, we have been preserving several young oak trees in that area for a future oak tree to someday become the next Mighty Oak for future generations.