The wine industry on the Old Mission Peninsula continues to grow in all of the right directions. Read more about it in this great article by Sandra Silfven at the Detroit News. Be sure to view the video as well to learn more from some of the key players involved.
With three Best of Class trophies and a total of seven gold and double gold medals at the recent 2010 Michigan Wine Competition winemaker Lee Lutes is buzzing with excitement. He is proud to be part of a team of individuals that made these awards possible.
“So often in this business the winemaker gets all of the credit when really the credit needs to be distributed to everyone involved in organization. I would like to personally thank all of our staff at Black Star Farms for their supported efforts around these wines. In addition we would like to express appreciation to the growers who consistently produce high quality fruit for us.”
Top award winners from Black Star Farms include:
- Best of Class Dry White: Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Pinot Gris
- Best of Class Semi-Dry White: Black Star Farms - 2009 Arcturos Riesling
- Best of Class Sparkling Wine: Black Star Farms - 2008 Sparkling Wine
- Double Gold: 2007 A Capella Pinot Noir
The Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition is sponsored by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. The competition showcases Michigan wines to highly regarded analysts, winemakers and wine writers in the country. The competition is open only to wines produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. This year forty-four of the state’s 73 wineries entered a record 399 wines.
Judges included five Master Sommeliers, and internationally known authors, winemakers and wine educators. Leading the group through the day was food and wine writer Christopher Cook, who judged at the competition for 12 years before becoming its superintendent in 2001. Cook is also a judge at wine competitions throughout the United States and abroad.
Wines are judged from dry to sweet and from white to red within sweetness level. Younger vintages precede older ones. Awards include, Best of Class, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, Bronze and in select years Judges’ Merit. For more information on the awards and judging process visit the Michigan Wine and Grape Council website.
Lee further states that “We are honored to participate in this annual competition that supports us as winemakers, increases the public and trade about our industry as well as being a vehicle that guides the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council in their efforts to promote the quality of Michigan wines.”
A complete list of medal-winning wines is available online at www.michiganwines.com.
Michigan by the Bottle has also produced this great video covering the awards ceremony. The video includes interviews with the winemakers and loads of fun pictures.
For Consumer Education and Convenience…
Riesling Taste Profile Gets High Marks from Trade and Consumers
The Riesling Taste Profile developed by the International Riesling Foundation (IRF) to help consumers predict the taste inside different bottles of Riesling was met with enthusiasm by both the trade and two separate groups of consumers—those who drink Riesling regularly, and those who had tried Riesling in the past but are not now Riesling consumers.
Those findings came from two related market research projects undertaken by Wine Opinions of St. Helena, CA for the IRF, with results presented by John Gillespie at the Riesling Rendezvous conference in Seattle. The online trade survey involved wholesalers, restaurateurs, retailers, and others, while the two consumer segments were interviewed in online focus groups. The overall purpose of the studies was to determine current perceptions of Riesling in the United States, its potential for growth, opinions about Rieslings from different regions, and the potential value of the Riesling Taste Profile.
The Riesling Taste Profile was developed to create a standardized, consumer-friendly way of knowing what taste to expect in different bottles of Riesling, from dry to sweet and in between. This is determined not by natural residual sugar alone, but by its interplay with acid and pH. Working with wine makers from many countries, with leadership from California wine journalist Dan Berger the IRF developed technical guidelines for four categories (Dry, Medium Dry, Medium Sweet, and Sweet), as well as a simple graphic for consumers to reference on back labels and point of sale materials. Full information about the Riesling Taste Profile, including downloadable graphics, is available at the IRF web site (www.drinkriesling.com).
Although only a small portion of the trade respondents had seen it due to its newness, when shown the graphic more than three-quarters (76%) said it would be helpful to consumers when making a purchase decision, and over half (53%) see it as a useful tool for staff in recommending Rieslings to consumers. This is particularly relevant given the large staff turnover in restaurants especially, but also in retail settings.
Among regular Riesling consumers, the Riesling Taste Profile was well received and considered very helpful, especially for novices not familiar with wine in general and Riesling in particular. Riesling non-drinkers were on balance positive about the Riesling Taste Profile, but expressed some concerns about the accuracy of the system and the possibility it would cheapen the wine’s image. However, given that the major barrier to Riesling trial by non-drinkers remains the perception that Riesling is ONLY a sweet white wine, the Riesling Taste Profile was seen by most respondents as a positive contribution to consumer confidence in purchasing.
The IRF Riesling Taste Profile is appearing on more than 15 million bottles of 2009 vintage Riesling in the U.S. market in 2010, with that number expected to grow substantially in future years. Australia’s Barossa Grape and Wine Association has endorsed the Taste Profile, and many Australian producers are expected to include in on their 2010 vintage wines to be released in the near future. Winemakers in New Zealand and other countries have also adopted it.
In some countries like Germany, at present it cannot be used on wines sold domestically, but Schloss Johannisberg has added it to its wines exported to the U.S. In South Africa, where use on the actual label is also currently prohibited, Paul Cluver Winery is using it on its point-of-sale materials. Samples of the Riesling Taste Profile’s use are shown on the IRF web site, as is a listing of wineries using it.
Additional major findings of the trade study:
- Overall, the trade has great regard for Riesling, and understand its special attributes, versatility, and uniqueness.
- The continuing widespread consumer perception of Riesling as only “a sweet white wine” remains a major barrier which may be overcome by the Riesling Taste Profile and other forms of education.
- German and Alsatian Rieslings are most respected, with California and Australian wines viewed as the least expensive.
- Continuing growth is expected due to increased consumer interest in Riesling and greater awareness of dry Riesling.
Additional conclusions from the consumer focus groups:
- Riesling drinkers buy various styles of Riesling in all price ranges, and see Riesling at all price points as a good value.
- Riesling may benefit from the “ABC” movement (Anything But Chardonnay) spurred largely by the aversion to oaky wines.
- Riesling drinkers consume it for a variety of occasions and at various times of year, especially in warmer seasons; enjoy it with food or along; and appreciate Riesling’s versatility.
- Alsatian Riesling is highly regarded among Riesling drinkers.
The studies are available for free to “Friends of the Foundation”, and for $495 to others. Information about becoming a “Friend of the Foundation” is in the “About Us” section of the IRF web site.
The International Riesling Foundation is the only global organization focused around a single grape variety, and includes a distinguished Board of Directors of more than 30 top Riesling producers from Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States (several states). Its mission is “to increase awareness, trial, and sales of Riesling wines through a comprehensive, integrated system of industry cooperation, research, trade education, and consumer communication.”
Media Contact: Jim Trezise, email@example.com, 585-394-3620
At TASTES in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons there’s a little bit of the Alpine heaven being offered. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings you can reserve a cozy barrel table for 2-6 guests and enjoy the Matterhorn Grill dinner.
Your meal consists of ham, sausages, vegetables and bread that you’ll grill right at your table. Meanwhile, you’re melting luscious Leelanau Cheese Raclette right under the grill. When it’s ready, you’ll pour the cheese over the grilled fare. It’s delicious. A choice of three flights of wine comes with your meal, and Caren and Kevin are ready to help you choose which one you’ll most enjoy.
We open for tasting at noon, Tuesday through Sunday. If just reading about the dinner has whetted your appetite, please call for a reservation at 231-944-1349 as seating is limited. (Sometimes you can talk Kevin into a Tuesday or Wednesday night dinner, too, or a private party.)
Join us at the farm for a casual FAMILY FARM DINNER on the patio at the Hearth and Vine Café on Sunday, July 25 from 6-9pm Featuring foods from our farm and our neighboring farms Just give us a call for info or to let us know you’ll be stopping by! 231.944.1297
We are excited to be a part of the upcoming Grow Benzie summer picnic on their farmstead in Benzonia. The picnic will feature gourmet summer fare prepared by chefs Hosea Rosenberg and Dave Query. Hosea is a chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder, CO as well as the season 5 winner of Top Chef. Dave is the owner of 7 Colorado restaurants under the umbrella name of Big Red F Restaurant Group. Alongside their fabulous creations we will be serving a selection of our wines including, Arcturos Pinot Gris, Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay and our Red House Red.
Grow Benzie is a community farmstead dedicated to enriching the lives of Benzie County residents by fostering self reliance through education in agriculture, nutrition, job training and life skills. Their site is a demonstration and training center for sustainable gardening and is a symbol of hope from both our past and our future. Their focus is on Growing Healthy Children and Communities, bringing people back to their “roots” of self sufficiency and taking care of each other.
What an honor to support this organization and share our wines with the community involved in this project!
For more information please contact the Grow Benzie office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherry harvest has begun and the National Cherry Festival is underway…this calls for a nice chilled glass of good ol’ cherry wine. It is surprisingly refreshing and it pairs well with a multitude of summer inspired recipes. We love it with BBQ ribs, coleslaw and corn on the cob. It is also lovely when mixed with a bubbly and makes a crisp cherry sparkling cocktail. Yet another use is in salad dressings and marinades…really the possibilities are endless.
In honor of the annual Cherry Festival we are offering a great discount on our Cherry Wine. Already on sale for $8.50 we are offering an additional 20% savings on this delightful wine making it a mere $6.80 a bottle.
Use this coupon to receive your discount. Don’t delay as the coupon expires July 31st!
The line up for the 2010 Riesling Rendezvous includes a full team from Northern Michigan. Participating wineries include, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, Left Foot Charley, Peninsula Cellars, and 2 Lads. The wineries are also a co-sponsor of the event along with wine marketing boards of Germany, Alsace & Austria.
Riesling Rendezvous is an event that brings together leading experts and producers to explore the versatility of Rieslings from around the world. Northern Michigan winemakers will have unprecedented opportunities to showcase their wines among the world’s great producers, influential media, trade professionals and interested consumers.
Equipped with award winning Rieslings and a new logo representing the hand as the “State of the Riesling” Northern Michigan winemakers will rendezvous with a purpose to highlight their success with this noble grape variety. As a co-sponsor of the event the wineries will be providing wine for one of the lunch programs, serving the region’s wine to more than 250 participants.
When asked about the event, Sean O’Keefe, winemaker at Chateau Grand Traverse elaborates that “a number of Northern Michigan winemakers have been working for many years to create what they believe to be a true regional style. We are excited to be participating in this event, and look forward to presenting our wines alongside the classic Rieslings of Germany, Austria and Alsace. This is a fabulous opportunity for us to show that not only “can” we grow Riesling in Northern Michigan, but that we can do so at the highest international level.”
The event will be held on July 11, 12 and 13th and is hosted by North America’s premier Riesling producer, Chateau Ste. Michelle of Washington state and Ernst Loosen of Germany’s renowned Dr. Loosen estate.
Information about Northern Michigan wineries participating is below:
Bowers Harbor Vineyards is a family run winery surrounded by epic views of Lake Michigan’s historic Bowers harbor. Our cool climate region produces dynamically expressive varietal wines.
Black Star Farms is a unique agricultural entity that features three tasting rooms, two winery production facilities, a distillery, B&B Inn, and equestrian facility. The winery is proud to represent the viticultural diversity of the Northwest Michigan region.
Chateau Grand Traverse has moved into its second generation of family winemaking – and has grown to be one of the largest Riesling producers in the Eastern United States. Riesling is the winery’s passion, and it has been a tireless promoter of the variety as the Old Mission Peninsula’s signature grape.
Left Foot Charley is a winery located in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The winery works with 14 local growers exclusively to provide the highest quality fruit for their varietal and blended wines.
Peninsula Cellars is a family run winery located on the Old Mission Peninsula. Their philosophy toward wine making is minimalistic, allowing the regional expression of the fruit to come through.
2 Lads Winery is a 10,500 square foot facility located on 58 acres on the Old Mission Peninsula. They specialize in cool climate red and sparkling wines.
In addition, the wines of Bel Lago and Chateau Chantal will be represented by Linda Jones, of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, as it is acting as co-sponsor for the Michigan portion of the event.
We are at it again on Twitter…this time we are participating in a tasting with Supermarket Sommelier Bill Ging from the Oakland Press. This is a fun and educational event that you can do without even leaving your house.
Winemaker Lee Lutes has chosen to feature three of our wines including, 2008/09 Arcturos Pinot Gris (depending on availability either is fine), 2007 Arcturos Pinot Noir, and the Sirius Pear Dessert Wine. Lee will be leading the discussion and welcoming comments and reviews about all of the wines. The idea behind these “twastings” is to make wine purchasing and tasting less daunting as well as more accessible for the average consumer. Participants are encouraged to look, smell, taste and then decide — just like they would if they were in one of our tasting rooms. Ging also writes a weekly column in the Oakland Press that corresponds with the scheduled Twitter tastings.
Want to participate? Pick up one, two, or all three of the featured wines at a local store (some suggestions are below) or order them on-line in time for the tasting next Thursday, June 24th. Log on at 7 p.m. to the Supermarket Sommelier Twitter site and the Black Star Farms Twitter site to sip, tweet and follow the conversation. Use hashtag #ttbsf.
Here is a list of stores and the featured wine(s) they stock in the Oakland County area:
- Colasanti – all three wine, the Pinot Gris, the Pinot Noir and the Sirius Pear
- Farmington Liquor – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Grapes & Hops Market – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Holiday Food Center – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Oxford Wine & Beverage – Pinot Noir & Sirius Pear
- P-Fino – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Plum Market – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Rudy’s Market – both the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Noir
- Alex’s Market & Grill – the Pinot Noir
- Johnny Pomodoro’s – the Pinot Noir
- Kroger in Bloomfield Hills – the Pinot Gris
- Manny’s Liquor Shoppe – the Pinot Noir
- Market Fresh – the Pinot Noir
- Market Square of Birmingham – The Pinot Gris
- Meadow’s Party Store – The Pinot Gris
- Oakridge Market – the Pinot Noir
- Red Wagon – the Pinot Noir
- Royal Liquor – the Pinot Gris
- Tom’s Market – the Pinot Gris
- Westborn Fruit Market – the Sirius Pear
We look forward to tasting with you soon!
Here is a great photo video compiled by photographer, Laura Teeple. The photos were all taken during the Marigold Cork and Fork event in March at the Hearth & Vine. There are plans for another Cork and Fork event in September at TASTES of Black Star Farms. More details will follow…
Thanks Laura and the Marigold crew for the photos and the good time!