Ryan Prellwitz holds a bottle of his new Mascoutin wine near a sign off the Mascoutin trail pointing to his winery.
 
Ryan Prellwitz holds a bottle of his new Mascoutin wine near a sign off the Mascoutin trail pointing to his winery.
 

   If you build it, they will come, but if you improve it, they will come even more.

   There’s some wisdom that holds true for Ryan Prellwitz, his local business and an adjacent recreation trail.

   The growing popularity of the Mascoutin Valley State Trail — an old railroad bed going from Ripon to Berlin (and Rosendale to Fond du Lac) — has given him a secondary but reliable source of visitors.

   The crushed limestone trail is one of two lifelines that sustains Vines and Rushes Winery, the other being the “main drag,” County Road E north of Ripon.

   As trail improvements have been made over the past few years, usage has grown. And, with help from a trail-side sign nudging them toward Vines and Rushes, those users are stopping by for a sip or snack.

   “We see more and more people coming in off of the Mascoutin as it’s getting promoted,” Prellwitz said.

   They include bicyclists, snowmobilers, runners and walkers and even horseback riders.

   “The trail itself is getting more and more heavily used all the time ... All times of day, all weather, there are people that use it,” he said ...

   The health of the trail is so important to the future of his business, Prellwitz has decided to give something back to foster the symbiotic relationship. It’s a new wine, aptly named “Mascoutin,” from which $1 from each bottle sold will be donated to the trail.

Read the full story in the June 12, 2014 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.