The Omnibus Liquor Bill is now Official!

The Omnibus Liquor Bill that was vetoed earlier this fall has finally been signed and put into action. This is great news for anyone involved in the wine and spirits industry as the bill has many benefits. Read below to learn more about the bill from our managing partner Don Coe, who was instrumental in getting this bill on the table and passed.

What is this bill called and where can others find information on it?

It is the Omnibus Liquor Bill and the actual bill number is HB 6224. Information about the bill can be found on the Michigan Information (MIRS) website.

How long have you and others been advocating for this bill?

3 years

What exactly does this bill permit?

There are several different provisions to the bill they include:

  • The ability for MI wineries to charge for tastings at their tasting rooms, without a food requirement.
  • The ability for MI wineries to host off-site tastings at retail stores across the state.  
  • The ability for MI wineries to apply for a license for Sunday morning and Christmas sales.
  • MI distillers being able to sample and sell spirits at offsite tasting rooms.
  • Allowing MI restaurants to provide the spirits at a catering event.

Why did the governor originally veto the bill?

The governor opposed the amount of wine poured at the off-site retail tastings, that being 3 three oz samples. This is a large amount that she would like to see made smaller.  She also opposed the provision which would have allowed MI restaurants to provide spirits at a catered event.  She felt that this provision impacted upon the business of MI retailers who supply the spirits and would like the individual who is hosting the event to have to purchase the spirits directly from a retail store.  

Victory

After 3 years of commuting to Lansing from Traverse City to advocate for this bill, Mr. Coe is no doubt very pleased and eager to see these provisions put into action. The one he is most excited about pertains to small Michigan distillers having the opportunity to introduce their products to consumers at offsite tasting locations. ”This will lead to increased exposure of the spirits as well as an increase in the demand for them at independent retailers.  This is very exciting for all of us involved in the spirits industry,” notes Coe.  On the homestretch, we are now waiting for approval from the township and county governments where our tasting rooms are located to begin sampling the spirits at all of our tasting rooms. For now if you are interested in trying any of our spirits they are available at our Old Mission tasting room only. Stay tuned for an update on when they will be at all of our sites.don

A Re-Cap of our Sparkling Wine Twitter Tasting

 

cortcase:

 

@whavill There’s always something happy about a glass of bubbly.  #bsfbubbly

DonCoyote99: Nice active bead #bsfbubbly
bstar2009: Love this! RT@whavill: I taste green apple as well with a hint of happy #bsfbubbly
DonCoyote99: Extra dry style at least, great acidity and intensity #bsfbubbly

Bubbles make everyday special…that’s what we think as well as those who participated in last week’s Sparkling Wine Twitter tasting (Tues. Nov. 16th).  The tasting featured two new bubbly vintages, including our 2010 Be Dazzled and our 2010 Bubbly Nouveau.  The wines are very different in style and taste.  Some of the featured comments are posted above. For a more complete look at what transpired that evening take a look at the transcript here. There were 307 tweets and 24 participants.  Michigan By The Bottle also posted a great re-cap video just after the tasting.  Take a look at their video below.

 

Nice Article About Michigan Wines

Howard W. Hewitt  newspaper columnist and blogger of  Grape Sense – A Glass Half Full  visited us this summer to learn more about  the Michigan Wine Industry. On his trip Mr. Hewitt  found that he was pleasantly surprised…Read more of what he has to say in this great article posted on Palate Press, The Online Wine Magazine.

 

Top 5 Holiday Wines List

Let us help you make your holidays easy and fun this year. Start planning your wine selection early with our top five suggestions below.  

1. Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cider 

 Sparkling, light-bodied semi-dry fruit wine – $10.00/bottle                                                    

This Hard Cider boasts a refreshing spirit that is bubbling over with the flavor of fresh, crisp apples! The familiarity and vibrancy of this wine set the stage for a festive holiday gathering.  It is also wonderful when mulled. Pair with appetizers, salads, and turkey. 

2.       Arcturos Pinot Noir 

 Complex, medium-bodied dry red wine – $25.00/bottle                                                           

A beautiful ruby color invites you to the bright aroma and taste of ripe berries and roasted, spicy oak.  An elegant and soft Pinot Noir with enough versatility to go with everything from hors d’oeuvres to the main dish.

3.  Arcturos Riesling

Complex medium-bodied semi-dry white wine- $16.50/bottle                                          

This wine is floral and spicy on the nose with ripe stone fruit flavors on the palate. It will pair beautifully with an assortment of flavors, spices, and white meats.

4.       Be Dazzled

Light-bodied dry sparkling wine – $12.50/bottle                                        

A fun sparkling wine with fresh and crisp fruit flavors followed by an off dry finish. This is a  great one to have around for the unexpected toast.

5.       Sirius Pear Dessert Wine

Complex full-bodied sweet dessert wine – $18.50/bottle

This wine is the true essence of Northern Michigan pears. Highly aromatic and full of rich fruit flavors, it is a decadent treat! Upon the first sip you will be rewarded with a vanilla-like pear flavor that is then complimented by the smooth brandy finish. It will pair wonderfully with fall inspired baked goods.

Toast the Season Strudel Recipe

Rosemary and garlic shredded duck strudel with chevre cheese, caramelized onion and wild mushrooms. Topped with a walnut roasted red beet-basil pesto.

Filling

  • 1 duck, roasted and shredded
  • ¾ cup chevre cheese
  • 1 cup sliced red onion
  • 2 cup wild mushroom mix
  • 3 T butter
  • ½ cup fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • S&P

Rinse duck in cold water, pat dry. Marinate with olive oil, ½ rosemary, ½ garlic, S&P and refrigerate for 3 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, roast duck for 45-50 minutes. Let cool and pick meat, then shred and place in a large mixing bowl. Caramelize red onions by sautéing them in butter for 8-10 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and sauté for 8-10 more minutes. Put the mushrooms and onions in the bowl with the shredded duck and add the rest of the ingredients, combining well. S&P to taste.

Pesto

  • 4-5 medium roasted red beets
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • ½ cup parmesan
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • S&P

Add all ingredients to a food processor and combine well until smooth.

Phyllo

  • 1 lb or 20 sheets of phyllo dough
  • ½ lb melted butter

On a cutting board place 1 single sheet of phyllo and lightly brush with melted butter. Fold in half and repeat. Fold in half and repeat again. Place a small spoonful of the filling at the base of the buttered phyllo dough and fold like a flag all the way to the top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until light brown and crispy. Top with the pesto and serve.

Wine Club Appreciation Dinner

 
Friday, November 12th, 6:30 – 9 pm 
 
Don’t miss this fabulous event planned exclusively for wine club members. This is a unique opportunity to taste our wines along side complementary dishes, prepared by our chefs from the Inn. They will be presenting a harvest feast that will include seafood, poultry, wild game and local meats.  The preliminary menu includes:
  • Pistachio and pine nut crusted rack of venison served alongside a pancetta basil risotto croquette with a Sirius port wine reduction.
  • Horseradish and sesame crusted ahi tuna on a wanton crisp with an edamame bean salad and a miso aioli.
  • Heirloom tomato leek braised Piedmontese short ribs served with a fontina celery root puree and roasted cipollini onions.
  • Smoked rabbit, spinach and morel mushroom cannelloni in a white truffle Parmesan cream sauce and garnished with toasted pine nuts.
  • Pan seared sea scallops stuffed with crab and fromage blanc with a kalamata olive basil pesto and lemon garlic couscous.
  • Prosciutto, roasted beet and arugula salad with Bartlett pears, goat cheese and candied macadamia nuts.

Dessert Menu Items Include:

  • Vanilla bean pumpkin cheesecake with a chocolate sea salt bark and a creme anglaise.
  • Pecan white chocolate torte topped with a raspberry and blueberry compote.
  • Apple, cranberry and toasted walnut blondie topped with a pear brandy caramel and Amaretto whipped cream.

This is our most popular wine club event and an RSVP is necessary by Nov. 10th. The cost is $55 per person and space is limited. RSVP to Chris Lopez at 231-944-1271 or clopez@blackstarfarms.com.

 

PigStock TC

Chefs Street and Paul are attending PigStock Traverse City, a three-day course in the heritage breed Mangalitsa pig.  They’ll learn butchering from Austrian-trained expert butchers & farmers  Christof and Isabel Wiesner, charcuterie from Michigan chef and author of  Charcuterie: The Art of Salting, Smoking and Curing, Brian Polcyn,  and how to prepare everything but the squeal.  This should lead to some even more delicious dishes at the Inn and Hearth & Vine.  Who knows?  You may even meet a  woolly Mangalitsa on our farm next season.

Mangalitsa pig

Mangalitsa pig

By |November 1st, 2010|Farm, Inn|2 Comments

Hard Apple Cider at Black Star Farms

In the last year hard cider has become more popular amongst beer and wine drinkers. Knowing that cider production dates back to colonial times it is fun to note that it is a beverage making a comeback.  In recent years we have been making cider from a variety of different apples. Our winemaker Lee Lutes is proud to be part of an emerging cider making movement in Michigan as well as in the Midwest and Washington.

The ciders we make at Black Star Farms are made in a “winemaker’s” style.  What we mean by this is that we aim to keep the fruit component very fresh and bright, and retard any oxidation or degradation of aromas and flavors.  In other words, this cider should taste like fresh apples right off the tree, and not like apple beer (not to take anything away from that style, but it is not what our focus is).

In addition to this style our winemaking abilities allow us to do some production processes that make the cider deeper and more complex – things like lees aging and stirring as well as some oak aging programs.  These processes are intended to make our ciders more interesting and dynamic to drink.

We use approximately 8 different apple varieties in these ciders including, Rhode Island Greenings, Winesaps, Spies, Red and Golden Delicious, Galas, Jonathon, and Crabs.  These are mostly eating/cooking apple varieties, as local farmers have not created extensive plantings of “traditional” cider varieties, but this plays out well for the style we are striving to create.

Lee and two other prominent cider producers including Dan Young from Tandem Ciders and Mike Beck from Uncle John’s Winery will be representing the state of Michigan at the upcoming Cider Days Festival in Franklin County, Massachusetts. This event represents all things cider. Lee and the others will be participating in a series of educational events including round table discussions, specialty tastings, and research to find the next best apples for cider production.

This year all of the apples for our Hard Apple Cider were pressed at our Old Mission winery. We had a large lot of up to 75 bins. This kept the winery staff busy loading, pressing, pumping, and cleaning. The end result is sure to be a cider bubbling over with the fresh taste of Northern Michigan apples. For a glimpse at the process take a look at this short picture video.

Get a Taste of Michigan Wine on Twitter

Cortney Casey from Michigan By The Bottle shares the story behind the popular Tweet & Taste Michigan Twitter Events. Thanks Cortney and Shannon for all that you do to promote the Michigan wine industry!

For wine lovers, few experiences are as enlightening as sitting down with local winemakers and picking their brains on the labor and love behind transforming what’s in the vineyard to what’s in your glass.

That’s the concept that spurred MichiganByTheBottle.com’s Tweet & Taste Michigan series, which built upon similar successful “virtual tastings” in other wine-producing regions across the country. The weeknight event encourages Michigan wine fans to purchase specific wines from a featured winery or wine trail (typically with discounted shipping), then “meet up” on Twitter to discuss their impressions and directly ask questions of the winemakers themselves, who also take part.

You name it, the winemakers have answered it, from queries about their vineyard practices, grape sourcing, oak techniques and appropriate cellar-stashing periods to tasting room ambiance, pricing and distribution, winery history and popularity of specific wines.

Everyone uses a hashtag, #ttmi, at the end of their “tweets” to ensure they can follow the conversation, creating a chat room-like environment. Helping augment the conversation are several facilitators, including myself and my husband, Shannon Casey, founders of Michigan By The Bottle; Claudia Tyagi, a master sommelier; and several wine bloggers from throughout Michigan and beyond.

Black Star Farms was the first to team up with us when we launched the project back in March, and the inaugural Tweet & Taste was a resounding success, attracting 70 active participants contributing nearly 900 tweets. We’ve since followed up with successful TTMI events highlighting Shady Lane Cellars, Lake Michigan Shore wineries, Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and, most recently, Silver Leaf Winery. We’re already working on plans for the next one!

While admittedly nothing can top a face-to-face rendezvous with the makers of our favorite Michigan wines, not all of us fanatics are lucky enough to live along a wine trail, where such interactions might be more feasible. And meeting up in person with wine lovers scattered across Michigan would likewise be a challenge. Tweet & Taste is the next best thing — with the added benefit that virtual wine tasting “party” can be attended in such haute couture as slippers and PJ pants!

On Nov. 16, Black Star Farms will be hosting its own virtual tasting on Twitter, and we’re eager to take part. An ardent fan of sparkling wine, I’m chomping at the bit to try the two new releases slated for sampling that evening: the 2009 BeDazzled and the 2010 Bubbly Nouveau (soon to be listed on their website).

Twitter tasters can give their impressions and get answers from Black Star Farms’ affable winemaker, Lee Lutes. The event starts on Twitter at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 using hashtag #bsfbubbly. To find Black Star Farms on Twitter look under @bstar2009.

To ensure you catch all the action, we at MichiganByTheBottle.com recommend using a Twitter client like TweetChat.com, which will automatically add your hashtag to each tweet and help you easily follow the fast-moving conversation.

To encourage participation, Black Star Farms will be offering the pair of bubblies for $20, a 20 percent discount off the regular price of $12.50 apiece. They’ll be available in all three Black Star Farms’ locations (the Bubbly Nouveau is being released at the BSF wine dinner Nov. 12, and available to the public after that) and also can be shipped throughout Michigan and to various other states. For more information, call Coryn Briggs at (231) 944-1311.

 We hope to “meet” you online Nov. 16! Cheers!

National Buzz on the Traverse City Wine Industry

“It was once considered one of northern Michigan’s best kept secrets, but there’s more evidence that the rest of the country is beginning to catch on to northern Michigan wine.” 

Watch the rest of this story from 9&10 News by clicking on the link below.

9&10 News – National Buzz on Traverse City Wine Industry.