Winery commemorates historic Peshtigo fire - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Winery commemorates historic Peshtigo fire

Peshtigo (WAOW) -

Keeping the past top of mind and using Midwest-grown ingredients commemorates a tale in Wisconsin history, according to Forgotten Fire Winery owner Joe Callow.

"We get our cranberries from Nekoosa, apples and cherries come from Door County, we have a small vineyard, and we bring in some grapes from Wisconsin and Michigan," Callow said.

Nestled just outside the community of Peshtigo in southern Marinette County, the winery stands in an area that 142 years ago to this month was burned from the map.

In the 1800's, Peshtigo was a bustling town near the bay of Green Bay. But on Oct. 8th, 1871, the town exploded into flames. A massive wildfire, one that historians to this day recount as one of North America's most destructive left nothing but ashes in its wake.

"There was tornado-like conditions that day along with the dry fire so it really moved fast," Callow said.

But while the wildfire swept across northeast Wisconsin, southern Michigan and onto the Door County peninsula, another major blaze was burning; the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

"And that's how we ended up being forgotten. Everyone knew about the Chicago fire which is a big fire, but ours was three or four times more devastating. And in history, it was kind of easy to gloss over," Callow said.

That's the idea sparking the name for Callow's winery, Forgotten Fire.

"We named one of our wines 'Phoenix Rising.' It's just like the city. It all rises again," Callow said.

And as this year's grape crop comes in and Callow gets to work, his business is keeping the story of Peshtigo's history alive.

For more information on the Forgotten Fire Winery, follow this link here.

For more historical information on the Peshtigo Fire, follow this link here.

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