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A Taste of the Mid-West: Double-Decker Butter Burgers & A Multi-County Marquette from Wisconsin + Fun House Potatoes from Minnesota #WorldWineTravel

Updated: Apr 13

This month Jeff of Food Wine Click! has the World Wine Travel writers looking at hybrid grapes. What a fun exploration! I paired many hybrid grapes from the Mid-West in my California Kitchen .

Read Jeff's invitation here. Thankfully Jeff also pointed us in the right direction with some resources. I was grateful to have been given an introduction to the American Wine Project. I ordered four bottles, photographed below and listed from left to right: 2020 Antipodes Frontenac Gris, 2022 Light Verse Piquette Blanche, 2021 Sympathetic Magic Marquette, and 2022 Ancestral Pétillant Naturel.

The American Wine Project

In 2018, American Wine Project began to explore the possibility of growing grapes and making wine in the Upper Midwest. In 2019, the project landed in historic Mineral Point, Wisconsin in a former high school's Tech Ed building.

Let's Talk Hybridization

A hybrid plant or organism is not a genetically-modified plant or organism. Those are two very different processes. GMOs are created by deliberately altering genetic material. A hybrid is simply cross-pollinating two of the same species to improve a specific quality such as yield or resistance to cold.

Hybrid grapes, originally cultivated in response to phylloxera, are made by crossing European Vitis vinifera vines with American Vitis labrusca or Vitis riparia grapes. In the late nineteenth century, after phylloxera destroyed most of the vineyards in Europe, grape breeders began experimenting with new combinations of resistant grapes that would be largely unaffected by pests, cold, and mildew.

Until recently, hybrid grapes were banned in Europe. Still less than five percent of vineyards around the world are planted with hybrid grapes. But climate change has spawned made winemakers to embrace the new grapes. The winemakers in Languedoc-Roussillon and Bordeaux are among the first in France to make wines with these resistant cultivars.

North America has a robust history of growing hybrids as many varieties were developed at Cornell University and the University of Minnesota. In fact, parts of Vermont, Michigan, Canada, and the Finger Lakes region of New York have been growing hybrid grapes such as Vidal Blanc or Marquette for decades.

Wine producers and wine drinkers are slowing warming to these new grapes. Here are some posts to - hopefully - inspire you to try to get your hands on a bottle or two.

The Rest of the Group

Here's what the group is sharing...

A Taste of the Midwest: Double-Decker Butter Burgers & A Multi-County Marquette from Wisconsin + Fun House Potatoes from Minnesota

I already mention that the American Wine Project is based in the Upper Midwest. The wine I am featuring in this post is a multi-county Marquette from Wisconsin. Actually, had I known what wines the others were going to pour for the event, I might have gone with a different bottle since Jeff of Food Wine Click! and David of Cooking Chat also poured Marquettes. Still it will be interesting to read their explorations and my other pours and pairings are below.

2021 Sympathetic Magic Marquette

Marquette was first crossed in the late 1980s before being introduced by the University of Minnesota in 2006. It one of the cold hardy, disease resistant red wine grapes that came out of their grape-breeding program. And it has proven to be one of the most popular grapes bred to withstand cold climates.

This particular bottle - a single varietal, 100% Marquette - is sourced from multiple counties in Wisconsin, including 36% from Iowa County, 36% from Dane County, and 28% from Oconto County.

I am unsure if there is a particular number that designates something at 'small batch', but with a production of only ninety cases, I would consider this run small batch. This wine is whole cluster fermented with native yeasts before being aged in mostly neutral oak barrels.

The wine poured a deep ruby color and had aromas of black and red fruit along with violets and cedar notes. On the palate the wine had beautiful savory layers of black olive and white pepper. I knew that I wanted to pair the wine with meat and potatoes!

Double-Decker Butter Burgers and Fun House Potatoes

I started researching recipes from Wisconsin and came across a reference to a 'butter burger.' It's offered at a chain called Culver's and is basically a burger served with sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese on a buttered bun. We skipped the bread and made it a double-decker with two patties. You can say that mine isn't that as it is missing the bun. Fine. I'll call this butter burger-inspired, but it was delicious and a great match with the Marquette.

You can use your favorite burger recipe. I kept everything really simple.



  • 1 pound ground beef (prefer organic, grass-fed)

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

  • freshly ground salt

  • freshly ground pepper


  • 2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms

  • 4 Tablespoons butter

  • 1 Tablespoon peeled and pressed garlic

To Serve

  • grated Emmental cheese

  • mustard



In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together all of the ingredients until well-combined. Form six patties and grill or cook on the stove to your preferred doneness. Remove from heat, sprinkle with cheese, tent, and let the residual heat melt the cheese.


Melt butter in a skillet. Add in the mushrooms and sauté until they release their moisture. Stir in the garlic and cook until the moisture is absorbed and they begin to crisp.

To Serve

Since we went (non-traditional without a buttered bun), I layered a meat patty with melted cheese on a plate, smeared it with mustard, and spooned mushrooms on the burger, then repeated with a second layer.

Fun House Potatoes have been a staple in our household since I heard a story on NPR about Amy Thielen's book Company: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others.

I already mentioned that I got four bottles from the American Wine Project. Below are the other pairings. Recipes and tasting notes to come!

A Loved Up Dinner + 2022 Light Verse Piquette Blanche

Click for recipe and tasting notes. I served this bottle for our Valentines' Date Night In with musubi hearts, kimbap-inspired sushi, and inarizushi.

Provençal Beef Stew + 2020 Antipodes Frontenac Gris

Recipe and tasting notes coming soon!

Prawn Curry + 2022 Ancestral Pétillant Naturel

Click for recipe and tasting notes. Made with the Brianna grape, this Pét-Nat was bursting with tropical flavors and sent me to the kitchen to make a coconut-based seafood curry.

I ran out of time to write up all of my recipes and pairings. I am missing one... I hope you'll check back soon to see that match.

This exploration was fun and educational for me. Before Jeff picked this topic, I had never sought out any hybrid grapes. In the meantime know that the combined wine writers group will be back next month with a #Winophiles theme. Topic and host still to be determined. Stay tuned!

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7 Σχόλια

Linda Whipple
Linda Whipple
20 Απρ

I bet that juicy Marquette was delicious with a juicy burger! I've enjoyed this hybrid when visiting Minnesota some years back. First I've heard of the American Wine Project, though.

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David Crowley
David Crowley
19 Απρ

You really dove into the topic with the variety of wines you ordered! I never heard of "butter burgers" before. Looks tasty!

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Jeff Burrows
Jeff Burrows
17 Απρ

We don't stop at many fast-food restaurants, but we make an exception for Culver's and a butterburger. I'll bet they would love to serve Marquette with their burgers, alas, no alchohol!

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Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes
14 Απρ

These are new to me grapes, but that just made my list longer and stronger. Those pairings look so delicious, I want to lick the screen. :)

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13 Απρ

I am so unfamiliar with these grapes, I love this mini class on them! I am unfamiliar with the American Wine Project and now I want to know more! Your pairings look divine (stunning photos)!

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