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  • maeapinfographic
  • MAEAP Ceremony Pictures
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This Farm is Environmentally Verified…

“Promoting Stewardship and Protecting the Environment…”

The farm in Suttons Bay and the Montana Rusa vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula (adjacent to our tasting room) are proud to be verified in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP).  This is a voluntary program that helps our farm and the one of our vineyard owner (on Old Mission Peninsula) prevent and minimize any agricultural pollution risks.

MAEAP is a holistic approach to environmental protection. Farms, orchards and vineyards are verified in many different systems. Those applicable to Black Star Farms and our grape growers include Farmstead and Cropping. These pertain to the management of farm infastructure, site conditions and evaluation of vineyard management practices.  A complete description of the program and systems is available from the MAEAP site.  Or if you prefer the condensed version take a look at our infographic below.

maeapinfographic

We salute the Michigan farms and vineyards that are verified. Six of those include our neighboring Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula vineyards that were recognized in a ceremony with Governor Rick Snyder this afternoon. The photo below shows winemaker Lee Lutes and vineyard owner Bob Mampe with their MAEAP plaque.

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April Monthly Coupon

april

2011 Wines Receive Medals at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLWIC) is noted as the “world’s largest charitable wine competition” with a truly international diversity of wines and judges.  Wines from all over the world and from each of the 50 states are judged at this event.

All of the entries are evaluated by a world-renowned panel of judges representing distributors, educators, enologists, sommeliers, restaurateurs, winemakers and writers.  These diversified experts came from all over the United States and around the world.

Throughout the competition, each wine is judged on its own merit – its presence, balance and varietal character.  Wines are blind judged and all wines are presented to the judges in Riedel crystal stemware.  Medals are awarded for the unanimous Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze winning wines and all award winning wines are featured here.

Black Star Farms’ wines to receive medals include:

Double Gold:

2011 Arcturos Pinot Noir

2011 Arcturos Riesling

Gold:

2011 Arcturos Barrel Chardonnay

 Silver:

2011 Arcturos Dry Riesling

2011 Arcturos Cabernet Franc

2011 Tribute Riesling

 Bronze:

2011 Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling

2011 Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay

All net proceeds from the competition benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times.  Located in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes wine country, this not-for-profit organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, adults and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life-threatening challenges.

For more information check out the FLIWC video.

All information for this blog entry has been obtained directly from the FLWIC press release pages.

  • Massage Room
  • Massage Room
  • Massage Room

Massage Therapy at the Inn at Black Star Farms

 

We are pleased to offer a new, dedicated room for massage therapy appointments.  Providing a calm, relaxing environment for individual and couples massage, this new room is also equipped for Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy.

If you aren’t satisfied with the limited pressure of traditional massage, this Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy is for you. The therapist uses parallel bars overhead for balance as she uses slow, gliding foot strokes and compression to bring about structural change in soft tissue.  These techniques can be applied more deeply and therapeutically using the feet, the therapist’s body weight and gravity than manual massage with the hands.  Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy is approved by the national Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks as well as the American Medical Association.

There are many reasons you may choose to seek the benefits of professional massage.  Whether it is relaxation, the need for nurturing touch or elimination of chronic pain, each  therapy session will be customized to meet your unique needs.

Appointments are available from 75 minutes and beyond.  Please allow one week for scheduling. Call or email the innkeeper for more information, 231-944-1251 or innkeeper@blackstarfarms.com.

By |February 27th, 2013|Featured, Inn|0 Comments

Take a Tour of the Inn

Have you ever wondered what it looks like inside our “big red house?” Step inside the Inn at Black Star Farms with this Google 360 Spin Tour. We invite you to browse around, view several of our different rooms, the lounge area and the special event spaces. 

A few navigation tips that may help you are listed below:

  • You can view tour in full screen mode by clicking on ‘Full Screen’ button in upper right corner of tour.
  • Click and hold left mouse button, then move left-right, up-down to view the tour…click on arrows on floor to move forward.
  • You can always start over by clicking on the ‘See Inside’ image on the left side of your G+ Directory page.
  • To move directly into another room/space use the semi-transparent circles on the screen.

Guest accommodations included in the tour are (the link will take you into the tour of only that room):

The Arcturos room is also featured in the tour and is where we frequently host our Harvest Dinner Series as well as weekend dinners.  Both the Arcturos and the Aquarius spaces are well suited for special events of varying degree in size.  Call our Event Coordinator Stephanie Lee Wiitala for more information, 231-944-1258.

Enjoy the tour and if you are a Google+ member be sure to +1 us and share your experience at our Inn. 

 

By |January 12th, 2013|Featured, Inn, Media|0 Comments

Dinners at the Inn

Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton’s artfully prepared dishes will inspire you to savor each bite while fully enjoying our relaxing ambience. Meals are prepared from fresh and local ingredients and are served alongside Black Star Farms wine and brandies.

Dinners are offered select Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. A complete list of dates can be found on our website calendar and sample menu is below. To learn more or to make a reservation please call the Inn at 231.944.1251.

Sample Pre-Fixe Menu ($45 per person)

FIRST

  • Roasted chestnuts

APPETIZER

  • Duck rillette, fromage blanc, balsamic reduction, grilled focaccia

SALAD

  • Roasted yellow beet and apple salad in cheese cup, marcona almonds, verjus, honey

ENTRÉE

  • Oven roasted hard apple cider brined pork loin, cauliflower potato puree, swiss chard, bee pollen butter
  • Prosciutto, basil and fresh mozzerella whitefish roulade, baked polenta, parsley oil, pine nut crumble
  • Wild mushroom, arugula and parmesan chicken roulade, veloute

DESSERT

  • Crème brulee, vanilla infused custard, caramelized sugar

 Eating raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood may increase risk of food born illness. Please ask your server about items that you may be concerned about.

All Events and Dinners Require Reservations. Please call 231.944.1251 or email innkeeper@blackstarfarms.com.

By |January 1st, 2013|Featured, Inn, Media|6 Comments
  • Montague House
  • Montague Address
  • Montague Property
  • Grapes of Wrath rover

A Tribute to the Montague Estate Vineyard

The Wineries of Black Star Farms are a unique operation in that more than 90% of its fruit is sourced from growers who have an ownership interest in the winery, in addition to their vineyards. These “wine growers” have sites that are well suited on both the Old Mission and the Leelanau peninsulas. It is from these quality sites that we are able to consistently source high quality fruit for our wines. To honor these growing partners we have created a new label that we’ve named Tribute.  These are premium wines that showcase the superior nature of these vineyard sites, and are exemplary of the vintage from which they were created.

The first Tribute wine is from the Montague Estate Vineyard on the Old Mission Peninsula. Located approximately 6 miles north of Traverse City off of M-37 this vineyard is home to Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Blanc, Regent and Dornfelder. The 56 acres of land on this site are comprised of vineyards (14 acres) and natural areas protected under a conservation easement.  The current owners Jay and Marie Hooper purchased the property in 1996 and began planting vines in 1999. The first small harvest followed in 2001 and they’ve been at it ever since.

“The property itself has quite a history beginning with Mr. Amos Montague for whom the vineyard and road it sits on is named after,” says Marie Hooper. Marie further provided insight into the ownership timeline that followed Mr. Montague and included two other individuals. “The original house and old barn foundation are still on site,” explains Marie. There have been renovations done but the Hoopers have kept most of the original flooring and woodwork. The beauty of their home is an integral part of the art on this label and was painted by local artist Christopher Smith.

The vineyards are planted on the higher elevation points on the property and are thus more suited to growing grapes. The advantages of where they are located include better water drainage and air flow (less chance of frost) as well as increased sunlight because they are both Northeast and Northwest facing slopes. Vineyards are managed by Jeremy Hooper who can be seen riding around in the “Grapes of Wrath Rover.” Invented by Jeremy this vehicle helps him move around in the vineyard rows when he is pruning and maintaining the vines.

“It has always been our dream to have a wine label and with the grower partnership we have with Black Star Farms it has become a dream come true,” says Jay Hooper who is also honored that this wine is the first one in this series.

Tribute to the Montague Estate Vineyard ($18/btl) is a dry Riesling from the 2011 vintage. There are citrus and stone fruits aromas followed by very subtle minerality. Fresh apple, orange and apricot fruit flavors combine with a hint of spice for a crisp and refreshing finish. It is a delightful wine well suited for many occasions. It is available for sale in our tasting rooms or by calling 231.944.1270.

 

 

By |September 11th, 2012|Featured, Tasting, Winery|2 Comments
  • Don Coe
  • Don Coe
  • Don
  • Don

Managing Partner Don Coe Recieves a Distinguished Award

The Michigan Land Use Institute honored those who help carry out its important mission at the annual Milliken Reception on July 27, 2012.

The reception bears the Milliken name in honor of Governor William Milliken and his wife Helen, longtime member of the Institute Board of Directors, who dedicated their lives to defending Michigan’s environment. They believe that a clean, healthy environment is necessary for a prosperous economy.

The event is the Institute’s yearly celebration where members of the Milliken Circle are honored for their support and it gives the MLUI a chance to honor supporters who have helped in other significant ways.

This year, recognition was given to Managing Partner, Don Coe, a strong proponent of the local economy; Denis Pierce, president of Chicago-based law firm Pierce & Associates and a philanthropist with a deep belief in sustainability and fairness; and former MLUI staff member Janice Benson, who was responsible for much of the success of the Taste The Local Difference food local marketing program.

“Without the input and support of people like Don and Denis, and the work of people like Janice, our efforts to promote clean energy, support local food and farming, build thriving communities, and encourage a strong local economy would be impossible,” said MLUI Executive Director Hans Voss.

In 14 years of ownership and management Black Star Farms has emerged as a world-class winery and a shining example of the importance of local food to a local economy. Don’s actions are tied to a simple but powerful belief that farming matters in Michigan; and a conviction that if we take bold steps now, we can create a durable agricultural economy that creates lasting opportunity for generations to come. Coe received the Milliken Distinguished Leadership Award for his work.

We are honored to have managing partner Don Coe be the recipient of this special Miliken Distinguished Leadership Award. Congratulations Don!

  • leorie
  • Video Pictures
  • leorie
  • leorie

Leorie Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc

Is wine “made in the vineyard?” Winemakers and viticulture experts often agree to disagree on this topic. Head Winemaker Lee Lutes generally believes that it is the symbiotic relationship of viticulture and oenology that make for a phenomenal wine.

“Walk with me”…says Lutes on a crisp fall afternoon while visiting the magical Leorie Vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula. This vineyard is home to the Merlot and Cabernet Franc that make the distinguished Leorie Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc. A brief bit of history ensues as we journey through the rolling hills overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay.

In its olden days this 15 acre plot was a gravel pit built into the hillside. When it was purchased 30 years ago its amphitheater shape was originally designed for development. However, with the assistance of local vintner Bernie Rink the owner was convinced of its prime suitability to grow grapes. What followed was the planting of Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  The 15 year old Riesling and Cabernet Franc are located at the bottom half of the hill preceded by the 20 year old Merlot at the very top. The entire plot faces South West, another added advantage for growing red grape varietals in a cool climate. “The directional element and hillside placement provide numerous benefits for these grapes,” notes Lutes as we continue to walk through the rows of meticulously cared for vines.

Facing South West this site typically retains heat and provides more insulation to the vines. The benefits of this are two-fold, one being that it warms the soil earlier in the season and reduces the risk of frost damage and the other being that it extends the growing season further into the fall. Both of these maximize the total growing degree days, a much needed strategy for growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc in a cool climate.

“Have you ever stood at the top of a hill and felt as if the air was warmer?” asks Lutes. Being on the hill is advantageous throughout the growing season because it results in more heat than being at the bottom. In this vineyard the average difference from top to bottom is typically 15o – 20o with the hottest part being at the top where the Merlot is located. This is another advantage for growing this varietal in our region.

Lutes picks up a handful of the gravel soil and proceeds to explain how this course and porous soil provides better drainage and helps keep the vines “feet” dry throughout the season. He also notes that this soil type is very similar to that of vineyards sites in the Bordeaux region of France.

While standing on the hillside overlooking West Bay, Lutes elaborates more about the exceptional care this vineyard receives and how this in addition to all of the above leads to the birth of his prized red wine. “When these grapes arrive at the winery they are never diseased, they are ripe (often averaging 23-24 brix) and they are picture perfect. It is then the skillful job of our winemaking team to take it to the next level.”

The grapes are individually batch fermented and blended the following spring. The wine is left to meld and age for 12-16 months in new and nearly new American, French and European oak barrels. This wine is very reminiscent of a Bordeaux style blend with a higher percentage of Merlot than Cabernet Franc. The end result being a full-bodied red wine rich with dark berry fruit flavors, earthy spice and complementary oak.

When asked again if he believes that a wine is made in the vineyard, Lutes nods his head and says, “A wine may be conceived and born in a vineyard but it is carefully raised and aged in the winery.”

Double Golds for Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Rieslings

Arcturos Rieslings Win Awards at One of the Oldest Wine Competitions in the United States

Black Star Farms is proud to be part of a wine region that has continued to receive accolades for its quality wines and food destinations. The winery is honored to announce four new awards received at the 36th annual Eastern International Wine Competition.  

The International Eastern Wine Competition (IEWC) is one of the oldest and largest professional wine competitions in the United States. Judges were comprised of the most experienced and unique pool of wine industry professionals. Wines were judged from a field of over 800 wines. Judges awarded a total of 15 Double Gold, 73 Gold, 216 Silver, and 235 Bronze medals.

Two of the Double Golds were awarded to Black Star Farms’ Rieslings, including the 2010 Arcturos Dry Riesling and the 2010 Arcturos Riesling (semi-sweet). Other wines to receive medals include the 2010 Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay and the 2010 Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling – both awarded silvers.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for the quality of our region. 2010 was certainly an exemplary vintage showcasing many of the best attributes of Riesling growing in this climate. These medals will further raise the standards by which we continue to create our wines.” – Lee Lutes, Head Winemaker

For more information about the IEWC including the full list of awards click here.