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So far Black Star Farms has created 58 blog entries.

'04 Ice Wine Available

Twelve intrepid souls braved bitter cold in 2004 to pick the Riesling grapes that had been left on their vines in hopes of the right conditions to make ice wine. The temperatures had remained below freezing for a few days, so December 19th’s 8 degree morning was deemed to be the time to pick.

Covered in a half-foot of snow, Old Mission Peninsula’s Leorie Vineyard was the spot, and the picking began at sun-up, about 8am. Despite the chilly temperatures, the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t too strong making this year’s picking a “relatively pleasant” experience.

The vines had been covered in netting to discourage the birds, and, once it was cut away, all the leaves and some of the grape clusters fell into the snow, thus making the hunt for fallen clusters part of the ritual. Every grape counts when each only gives up about one drop of juice. Picking took about four hours. The bins of grapes were rushed back to Black Star Farms for the outdoor crushing to begin; the frozen grapes are not allowed to thaw. Juice coming off the press was at about 55 brix – a measure of sweetness – about two and a half times the normal brix for table wines.

Local photographer, David Fox, was on hand to capture the day’s events for posterity. Go to David’s web site to see just what happened on that frigid day.

Exceedingly slow fermentation finally finished, and the 2004 Ice Wine was bottled in February and just released in November. The residual sugar is a staggering 40%, while alcohol is at 7%. Come on in to the Tasting Room for some of our latest “liquid gold.”

Blackstar Farms Ice Wine Vineyard photo by local photographer David Fox

By |December 27th, 2006|Winery|0 Comments

Wall Street Journal Touts Hard Apple Cider

If you’re looking for “far and away the best cider out of more than a dozen I tried,” heed Eric Felten’s word in the Wall Street Journal on October 7th, and look no farther. In his “How’s Your Drink” column he rated our Hard Apple Cider “a revelation. Like the first bite of a perfectly ripe apple straight from the tree, the taste was clean and fresh, not sugary or syrupy. And then, unlike any other cider I tried, that beautiful, uncluttered apple taste lingered, fading slowly and gently. Without trying to impersonate wine, the Black Star Farms cider was the only one that achieved that key characteristic of good vino-the long finish.”
He rated our cider “Very Good,” and his tasting notes read, “Clean, focused, fresh apple taste with a long, lingering finish. Without aping champagne, this cider succeeds as a delightful alternative.”

By |October 9th, 2006|Featured, Tasting, Winery|0 Comments

Michigan's Champion Cheese

The Leelanau Cheesemakers have done it again! The State Fair judges have announced that John and Anne’s Raclette is Michigan’s Grand Champion Cheese for 2006.

Their Raclette – mild, aged, and peppercorn – and flavored fromage blanc is available at Black Star Farms tasting room in Suttons Bay and at select local stores. You can also order the Raclette by phone at 231.271.2600.

If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out on a bit of heaven.

By |August 16th, 2006|Creamery|0 Comments

Double Gold

Results are in from the 2006 Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition held on August 2nd in Lansing. The distinguished panel of judges awarded a Double Gold to our Sirius Pear Desert wine. Plus we pulled in 18 other medals! For complete results click the link below.

Visit Michigan Wines

By |August 15th, 2006|Winery|0 Comments

American Cheese Champs

Anne and John have done it again. Their mild and aged Raclette cheeses have each taken 1st place in their respective divisions at the American Cheese Society’s 2006 Competition and Judging held in Portland, OR.

There were 941 cheeses entered in 22 categories (with 91 sub catagories.) Each cheese was judged alone on its merits, and awards were not necessarily given in each category. To win TWO 1sts is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations are in order.

Visit The American Cheese Society

By |July 25th, 2006|Creamery|0 Comments

International Results

The World Cheese Awards – the world’s most prestigious international cheese event – were held at Taste of London and entries were received from the USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to every cheese making nation in mainland Europe. 120 experts from around the world judged a total of 1542 cheeses.
Green Peppercorn Raclette was a big winner for Leelanau Cheese Co. taking a silver medal in Class 28b – Other hard pressed or repressed cows’ milk cheese with savoury additives. The mild Raclette was awarded a bronze medal in Class 51 – Semi-hard cheese not in any other class. Because each cheese is judged separately and graded on its own merit, no medals need be awarded, so to be judged medal-worthy at all is an honor.
Congratulations to John and Anne on bringing home the prizes.

Visit The Great Taste Awards

By |June 19th, 2006|Creamery|0 Comments

Black Star Shines

Our wines did extremely well in the recent Great Lakes Great Wines Competition, and Sandra Silfven spread the news in her weekly Detroit News column. Click below for the scoop.

Visit The Wine Report by The Detroit News

By |May 20th, 2006|Winery|0 Comments

New Medals from the Finger Lakes

The world’s largest charitable wine competition, the 2006 Finger Lakes International, was held April 1st and 2nd in Rochester, New York. We entered our newest releases, and every wine we sent won a medal. In all, 3086 wines were evaluated by 48 judges. Our results follow:

’04 Arcturos Pinot Noir – Silver

’05 Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling – Silver

’05 Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling – Bronze

’05 Arcturos Late Harvest Vignole – Bronze

’04 Arcturos Cabernet Franc – Bronze.

Visit Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

By |April 10th, 2006|Winery|0 Comments

Select Registry

According to Select Registry, an annual travel directory dedicated to principles of hospitality, quality, romance, and fine food and wine, we are a Distinguished Inn of North America. They provide unforgetable introductions to exceptional Inns, B&Bs, and unique small hotels. The 18th edition of their guideis available at our Inn. Check out what good company we keep. Their site can help you to plan your next getaway in style.

By |April 4th, 2006|Inn|0 Comments


Anne and John Hoyt are celebrating the 11th Anniversary of Leelanau Cheese Co. They first made their delicious Raclette in Omena, Michigan in March of 1995, and opened for business that Summer when the cheese had been properly aged for 3 months.

Eleven years later and still going strong, they make and age their cheese at Black Star Farms. Come on in to our Tasting Room where you can watch them at work in the Creamery, find all their cheese for sale, and taste some wines, too.

By |March 25th, 2006|Creamery|0 Comments