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Bubbly Nouveau!

Our newest wine, 2008 Bubbly Nouveau, was released at last night’s Members Only Wine Club event. This delicious addition to all your holiday festivities is only $10 a bottle, so it’s a sparkling way to celebrate without breaking the bank. You’ll dazzle your friends with the latest “star” in our galaxy. Drink now as this wine is not meant to be cellared.Bubbly Nouveau is available at any of our three tasting rooms or online.

Always the right size and never the wrong color!

Not sure what kind of wine to buy…why not let them choose? Our new gift cards are great because they can be purchased for any amount and redeemed at all Black Star locations, including the Inn and the Farm Market. Cards are available to purchase at all Black Star properties as well as through our on-line shopping cart. Get a head start on your holiday shopping today!

Up on the Farm-July 16th

It’s been a hectic ten days with the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City and our getting the new on site Farmers Market ready for customers, but we’ve survived both. Shelves were stocked, freezers filled, coolers chilled, coffee brewed, and we were open on Saturday morning. We are featuring local and out-state Michigan processed foods (from Food for Thought, Cherry Republic, Rocky Top Farms, TLC Tomatoes, Midsummer Exotics, Great Northern Roasting, By the Light of Day, Sisson’s, Carlson’s, Moomer’s, Leelanau Fruit, Undercover Vegetables, and Northern Seasons so far) along with our own and locally grown produce that farmers are bringing to us daily. We’re planning cooking demos on Saturdays starting next weekend. The Farm Market will be open during the same hours as our Tasting Room – 10-6 daily and 12-5 on Sunday – at least through October. It’s just one more must-see for you at our Agricultural Destination.

The New York Times has discovered northwest Michigan wine country and given us our due. We, along with our Leelanau and Old Mission winery neighbors, were the stars of an article titled “Wine Country Grows Where the Cherry is King” by Beth Greenfield in their July 13th edition. She writes, “The Leelanau’s 13 wineries include the large Black Star, where visitors sample pinot noir and the winery’s own brandy and cheeses under the high, domed roof of a sun-drenched shop and tasting room.”

We got some much needed rain this past week so crops and vines are doing well. Nic has basil running rampant, plenty of salad greens, snap peas, and cucumbers. It’s just about the end of the sweet cherries, but tarts are being shaken and sent to processing plants around the area. You don’t often find fresh tart cherries for sale because they’re quite delicate. After shaking, they are trucked from the orchards in huge, open, water-filled bins to protect them from bruising. You’ll often see damp patches on the road where cherries have sloshed over the edge as the heavily-laden trucks take the curves a bit too quickly. Be patient if you get behind one of these haulers…just sit back and enjoy the beautiful views. Raspberries are abundant and being picked for both our CSA and for use in this year’s batch of Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine and eau de vie. We’re expecting glass for last year’s to be here this week so that bottling can begin.

The Inn and Stables had distinguished guests last week – the historic Blue Devils Horse Platoon – who were escorting the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, which was on display in Peshawbetown. Kari on CpautoThey did an impromptu demonstration on Tuesday evening and a clinic for the local sheriff’s mounted patrol. One of the regular riders was ill, so one of our innkeepers, Kari, saddled up on his horse and did us proud.

John Ayres and Don were at the MSU Extention Horticultural Station on Tuesday as part of the Cherry Festival’s Cherry Industry Day. Local cherry producers and MAEAP farms were honored. The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program is an innovative, proactive program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities to voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. We were the 100th farm in Michigan to be certified.

The heavens smiled on Saturday’s wedding of Jamie Hunter and Bill Gross. Their dream was to be married up in our vineyard. Showers and thunderstorms prevailed into the afternoon, but Jamie and Bill persevered. Clouds began to disperse at about 2:45, and the sun shone brightly on their 3:00 ceremony. A bagpiper, who had been secreted behind the vines, piped them and their guests through the vineyards and down to the Inn for the reception.

Rosemary and Thyme are 8 week old Angora goats that will be shorn in the fall giving us some wonderful mohair fiber. Rosemary (l) and Thyme (r)We’re still awaiting the birth of the new kids to join them, but mama Sierra is holding on. The llamas have been shorn and are looking spiffy in their short coats. Wilbur and Pumbaa, our potbellied pigs, are enjoying their swimming pool, and Wooliam and Lamborghini – you guessed it – our lambs – are fuzzy and adorable and waiting for a visit.

Check out our new Farm Market – Up on the Farm.

Up on the Farm – July 6th

On Sunday afternoon-into-evening Don and Malu will be pouring wine at Cherries D’Vine, a second-year event at the National Cherry Festival in

Traverse City.

Hagerty Center at the Great Lakes Campus of Northwest Michigan College couldn’t be a more beautiful venue. It sits at the foot of the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay and overlooks both the Leelanau and

Old Mission Peninsulas, source of the wines being paired with food prepared by the culinary students right there at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. With a slogan like “Eat, Drink and Be Cherry” you can’t go wrong.Lee has returned from the Riesling Rendezvous at

Chateau Ste. Michelle in

Woodinville, WA and reports, “
My trip was beyond my expectations simply because our wines were so well received by everyone there. To participate in joint tastings with wineries from all over the world including Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and have the wines do as well as they did, makes me very proud of our efforts here in northern Michigan. When I say that the wines did well, I mean that in numerous comparative tastings our wines stood on their own as being distinctive, representative of the variety, and representing place (terroir.) For an industry as young as our own in Michigan, especially compared to some of the European regions, I left

Seattle
feeling very good about our place in the Riesling field.”
Meanwhile, back in the vineyard…things are cruising right along and it’s setting us up for a potentially brilliant grape year. The winemaking team is enthusiastic because if we have anything close to a typical fall, we’ll have plenty of time to fully ripen the fruit – and not just the white fruit but also the reds. (They hold this enthusiasm close to their chests, however, as they know what can happen with fall rains – as in 2006.) The vines have now just been tucked into their catch wires and probably are at their most visually attractive state.An early cherry harvest is well underway with both tarts and sweets in abundance. Cherry picking the lazy wayWhen complete, we’ll have picked (sweets) or shaken (tarts) over a quarter of a million pounds of fruit right here in our orchards. Don is taking the lazy way out…it’s that easy with the sweets, and they’re so delicious. Our five-county area accounts for over half of the total US production of cherries which includes over 70% of the US grown tart cherries

.

Chef Corey is starting to prepare dinners for our

Inn guests. He’ll be cooking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, and serving from 6:30-8:30. Guests will have a choice of three entrees, an appetizer and salad, and dessert. The menu will feature many items from our farm and local purveyors and, of course, paired with Black Star Farms wines. Entrees will be in the $20-$30 range. If you have a room reservation you’d be well advised to make a dinner reservation by calling the

Innkeepers at 231.944.1251.
As summer is upon us, the

Inn is booking up quickly. We do have some openings mid-week, but our weekends are completely booked until November with the exception of August 24-26 and Labor Day weekend.

Next weekend is the target date for the official opening our farmers market. It will be open daily through the fall and at least on weekends through the winter and until May. We’ll carry the freshest produce from both our and other local farms and Michigan-made farm products. Pictures and a rundown of products next time.

Nic attends the farmers market in Traverse City each Saturday with fresh produce and the weekly bags for pickup by our CSA members. Because of the Cherry Festival, the market will be at the barns at the Village of Grand Traverse Commons instead of the usual site for the next two Saturdays. He reports that the corn was “well over knee high on the 4th of July.”

We’re hosting Winning with Women, Connecting with Men, a FREE Introductory Seminar for Men and Women, on July 12th. Led by Caren Field, a Limited Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, this co-ed seminar is designed to help you to understand the complementary design of men and women in order to create winning partnerships and true connection with the opposite sex. Call Caren at 231.392.2373 to reserve your spot for this fun and informative evening.‘Til next time – Up on the Farm.