“One of the trail’s most memorable properties combines wine, luxury and agricultural tourism at Black Star Farms near Suttons Bay. Tiers of trellised grape vines ring Black Star Farms’ winding entrance before giving way to the farms’ iconic Kentucky-style estate home. In the adjacent winery/cheese shop, guests watch as vintners and cheese-makers ply their crafts.” Todd Dulaney, “45th Parallel Finds” AAA Living Michigan September/October 2007

“The Leelanau Tour highlights four fantastic vineyards along the peninsula and culminates at the revered Black Star Farms where tour-goers get to watch old-fashioned wine-making and cheese-making in their natural habitats. Indulge in handcrafted samples… ”

Meredith Rose, “Fall in Love: The Romantic Autumnal Side of Northern Michigan” Northern Express Weekly October 4, 2007

“You travel up to Black Star Farms and see vines on each side of the road, a manor house and horses grazing on the field. You drink wine with homemade cheeses. It’s outstanding.”

Larry Weis, CEO of AutoCom Associates of Bloomfield Hills, MI quoted by Maureen McDonald Crain’s Detroit Business Into the grape: Michigan’s wineries a popular destination for wine lovers, September 3, 2007

“Tomorrow’s task: to judge 365 wines. With six tables of four judges apiece, that’s an average of 61 wines each judge gets to taste.

But tonight was dedicated to socializing, as early-arriving judges gathered at the State Room in MSU’s Kellogg Center for dinner, accompanied by a sampling of Michigan wines. “Wow!” was the collective reaction to 2006 Rieslings from Black Star Farms”

Joel Goldberg “The Crowd Begins to Gather” www.michwine.com August 6, 2007

“Black Star Farms is one of Michigan’s finest wineries. Their wines are consistently excellent in both reds and whites. Black Star is an outstanding example of how Michigan has become one of the better wine producing regions of the world.”


“Cizma called himself a ‘fairly serious wine enthusiast,’ traveling to wine regions around the world and already exploring Michigan.

‘I’ve been to the local wineries to meet the winemakers and immerse myself in Michigan wines,’ he said, speaking fondly of winemakers Lee Lutes at Black Star Farms and Charles Edson at Bel Lago: ‘They are winemakers on a par with anybody in the world.’

Even in Illinois, he said he knew about Michigan wines. He poured Larry Mawby’s sparkling wines and Black Star’s spirits at Grace Restaurant in Chicago and Elaine in Naperville, Ill.”

Grand Traverse Resort Executive Chef Ted Cizma quoted by Sandra Silfven “Grand Traverse Resort a wine and food destination” Detroit News July 19, 2007

“‘What we lack in heat we make up for in summer sunlight because we are so far north,’ says Lee Lutes, winemaker at Black Star Farms, which produces wines and spirits solely with fruit grown on and within 20 miles of the estate. The visitor-friendly compound includes stables, a creamery, tasting room, and an eight-room plantation-style inn where the best suites have fireplaces.

From Black Star’s open-trussed tasting room, tipplers can watch Anne and John Hoyt make their award-winning cheese, most of which is sold to picnic-packing travelers…

But if provisioning is the chief reason to weekend in Leelanau, picnicking is its prime reward. Hike into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with a crusty baguette from Stone House Bread Café in Leland, a wedge of the Hoyt’s Raclette, a bottle of Black Star Farm merlot cabernet, and, of course, lots of cherries to top it off.”

Elaine Glusac National Geographic Traveler, July/August 2007, page 123, The Long Weekend “Hitting Pay Dirt in Northern Michigan”

“The Leelenau’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.”

Beth Greenfield “Michigan’s Wine Country Grows Where the Cherry is King” The New York Times July 13, 2007

“Black Star Farms, not only a winery but an “agricultural destination” with a luxurious inn, the Leelanau Cheese creamery, a horse farm, petting zoo and other attractions, has reached capacity at its site on the Leelanau Peninsula and is planning further expansion – and of course another tasting room – on the Mission Peninsula as well.”

Dennis McCann “By the glass or the barrel” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 21, 2007

“Hot labels: New York’s Dr. Konstantin Frank, Ohio’s Firelands, Wisconsin’s Wollersheim and Michigan’s Arcturos by Black Star Farms.”

Sandra Silfven, “Great Lakes Great Wines Tasting” Detroit News May 31, 2007

’06 Arcturos Semi-dry Riesling: Chairman’s Award, unanimous Gold Medal, 2007 Riverside International Wine Competition.

“This (Black Star Farms) hard cider still tastes like apples – not sugary like a juice box, but sparkling like club soda. It tastes like apples with a buzz.”

Mary Lu Laffey Philadelphia Inquirer “Hip Trip / Traverse City sparkles, with a kick” January 21, 2007

“Wine Business Monthly has identified today’s most exciting top 10 brands from small and medium-sized wineries during 2006. 9. Black Star Farms Food-friendly (2005 Arcturos) Riesling Out of the Midwest.”

Wine Business Monthly January 16, 2007

“The 112-guest country affair was filled with special touches that reflected the couple’s personality. The winery offered the perfect balance of natural beauty and elegance, ‘a classy but not stuffy atmosphere,’ says (bride) Lori.”

“The patio at Black Star Farms provides the perfect backdrop for pre-wedding photos of Jay and his groomsmen.”

Style the magazine January/February 2007

“Dry Riesling 2004 Winery at Black Star Farms Michigan ($14) Racy acidity, vibrant fruit – good enough to make the menu at Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago.”

Sandra Silfven Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report 2007 Global Report: Atlantic Northeast: Most Exciting or Unusual Finds

“Good wines are being made all over the U.S. now – we had a lovely Pinot Noir from Michigan a couple of weeks ago, 2004 Black Star Farms ‘Arcturos,’ reasonably priced at $22.50.”

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, “Tastings” The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2006

“Then there are the world-class Rieslings of Michigan. Peninsula Cellars, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Black Star Farms are but three superstars. ”

Dan Berger “Riesling Rebirth” November 8, 2006 appelationamerica.com

“Far and away, the best cider out of more than a dozen I tried came from Michigan’s Black Star Farms Winery… the Black Star Farms cider was the only one that achieved that key characteristic of good vino – the long finish. ”

Rating: “Very Good” “Without aping champagne, this cider succeeds as a delightful alternative.”

Eric Felten Wall Street Journal October 7, 2006

“Black Star Farms seems more a vision of Kentucky’s horse country than Leelanau County. The winery boasts not only a state-of-the-art tasting room with a soaring wood-beamed ceiling but also an adjoining creamery that serves as home to the Leelanau Cheese Co. Stables are located right across the drive. There’s a barnyard full of farm animals, including chickens whose freshly laid eggs are served at breakfast. The Inn at Black Star Farms sports an imposing colonnaded front that opens onto a two-story lobby. Eight guestrooms named after stars in the northern sky are reached at the top of a staircase so sweepingly grand you feel a little like Scarlet O’Hara every time you descend.”

Bill Daley Chicago Tribune September 28, 2006

“Black Star, under the Arcturos brand name, produces award-winning wines, but there’s so much more… Winemaker Lee Lutes hits his stride with the 2005 varietals, but try any vintage of his Pinot Noirs, which British wine expert Tom Stevenson once called ‘the wine he wants for dinner.'”

Sandra Silfven Detroit News July 12, 2006

“Michigan’s Black Star Farms won the most gold medals (at the 2006 Great Lakes wine competition) – six – for wines that ranged from the stunning 2004 A Capella Riesling Ice Wine to the 2004 Pinot Noir.”

Sandra Silfven Detroit News May 18, 2006

“We would like to share a menu from a Social Luncheon hosted by President and Mrs. Bush in honor of Congressman John Dingell, at which we served the Arcturos Pinot Gris, vintage 2004. The Evergreen Tomato Bisque with Leek Fondue and the Great Lakes Walleye Pike with Butternut Squash Risotto were a great stage for the clean fruit and exuberant structure of the Pinot Gris.”

Letter from Daniel Shanks, Ushers Office, The White House, January 23, 2006

“Black Star Farms, Michigan’s superstar boutique winery (artisanal creamery and luxury B&B inn) has risen to the top under the skillful guidance of Lee Lutes, this state’s most gifted red-winemaker. Lutes even manages to bring a touch of class to hybrids, making a yummy Red House Red from a blend of Marechal Foch, Dornfelder, Regent and Cabernet Franc.”

Rated: 2 Stars “Very exceptional wines. The local equivalent of a Bordeaux super second.”

-V- “Wines of exceptional value for money, whether they are inexpensive or not”

Tom Stevenson The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia Fourth Edition, (2005)

“Please enjoy this menu from a Dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Bush, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, at which we served the Black Star Farms ‘Sirius Maple.’ (It) proved to be a delightful finish to a memorable evening.”

Letter from Daniel Shanks, Ushers Office, The White House, May 21, 2005

“Michigan Rieslings continue to wow wine judges across the country. Now, it’s the 2002 Arcturos Late Harvest wine from Black Star Farms that’s in the winner’s circle. At the 14th annual Jerry D. Mead New World International Wine competition in California the Leelanau Peninsula Rieslings won a gold medal, then Best of Class, Best of Varietal, and in a final taste-off or 17 wines, Best New World Dessert Wine and the Galleano Family Trophy – quite a statement for a wine that costs about $12.

‘It was the best of all the dessert wines,’ says event organizer Eileen Tillery. ‘It’s usually Canada’s ice wines that win the trophy.’

Despite the “late harvest” designation, which marks it as a sweet wine, it doesn’t come off as cloying. It has a core of bright acidity to offset the sweetness, which is typical of Michigan Rieslings.”

Sandra Silfven Detroit News April 9, 2004

“Lee Lutes (of Black Star Farms) is Michigan’s finest red winemaker.”

Tom Stevenson Decanter Magazine April 2004

“Black Star’s Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling offers a nice floral bouquet with German-style hints of stone and minerals, and leads into restrained, but appealing flavors or honeysuckle, peach and pineapple.”

Chris Kassell Detroit Free Press Holiday Wine Guide November 11, 2003

“(Lee) Lutes of Black Star Farms is among dozens of dedicated winemakers who are making waves within a tiny sector of the fine-wine community that understands and appreciates dedication to improving the art of cold-climate winemaking.”

Dan Berger – On Wine Napa News August 5, 2003

“Black Star’s top wines, I thought, were the light, high-acid but still properly earthy and peppery 2000 Arcturos Pinot Noir and the sensational 2000 A Capella Riesling Ice Wine”

R. W. Apple Jr. The New York Times July 30, 2003

“Black Star is a lavish operation on a former horse farm with vines planted in a natural amphitheater reminiscent of Italy and a white-porticoed Inn. Among its products are fine, handcrafted cheeses.”

R. W. Apple Jr. The New York Times July 30,2003

“Black Star’s A Cappella Riesling Ice Wine is a knockout, as well as a fascinating Pinot Noir under the Arcturos Label.”

Doug Frost, San Francisco Chronicle July 24, 2003

“Star of the Peninsula – Cheese, wine and cherries mingle at an upper-Michigan inn, creating a tasty weekend getaway… Black Star Farms is a jewel set in the scenic Suttons Bay.”

Long Weekends Spring/Summer 2003

Black Star Farms Riesling Ice Wine A Capella 2000 – Score 87

Remarkably thick, lots of cream, pineapple and quince. Sweet, slightly heavy, maple syrup and caramel finish.

James Molesworth’s Top Scoring US Regional Wines Wine Spectator November 30, 2002

“Black Star Farms offers a Spirit of Cherry brandy along with brandies made from pears, apples, apricots and plums…a natural move for people who have been drinking top-shelf vodkas and tequilas.”

Gerry Khermouch Business Week Magazine October 21, 2002

“Leelanau Peninsula just off Lake Michigan, has half of the state’s 30 odd wineries including the most impressive, Black Star Farms at Suttons Bay.”

Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences August 8, 2002

“Snobs might turn their noses up on such wines, but the quality of the Black Star Sirius Cherry wine is apparent on a single sniff. It’s a dramatic example of how great fruit wine can be when handled by a great wine maker.”

Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences August 8, 2002

“In 2002, A Capella Ice Wine won a gold medal over 1251 wines at the Grand Harvest Awards Competition and went to the White House recently to accompany dessert at the annual Governors’ Conference in Washington DC”

Sandie Parrott Oakland Press June 2, 2002

“Forget roosters at dawn and a clanging dinner bell. This ultra-chic inn on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula (is) furnished in exquisite contemporary décor. Surrounded by 160 acres of orchards, vineyards and woods, the inn also features… a sauna. If you go, be sure to sample some of Black Star Farms’ award-winning wines and special French-style brandies.”

Donna Marchetti Home and Away Magazine May/June 2002

“Lee Lutes (of Black Star Farms) will become the first Michigan vintner to present wine at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, OR….among the year’s top events for “wine geeks” with only 100 vintners allowed to take part.”

Edward Hoogterp Ann Arbor News Bureau May 17, 2002

“We would like to share a menu and program from a Dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Bush, honoring the Governors of the States and Territories, at which we served the Black Star Farms A Capella Riesling Ice Wine, vintage 2000. The wine’s boundless fruit and firm, elegant structure were very well received.”

Letter from Daniel Shanks, Ushers Office, The White House, March 18, 2002

“Black Star Farms Spirit of Pear won a gold at last year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a gold at the 2001 Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition”

Sandra Silfven Detroit News Feb. 5, 2002

“Black Star Farms dry Riesling was almost a Sauvignon Blanc, with lots of fruit but bone-dry. The Chardonnay was delicate with a touch of oak, and the Merlot had a rich complexity that lived up to its deep red color.”

Donna Marchetti Cleveland Plain Dealer July 29, 2001

“What makes Black Star stand out is that is patterned after a resort in the French or Italian countryside, a place to stop and try the local wine, hike amid the arbors, sip a nightcap and then roll into bed. For oenophiles, foodies, and folks who have no idea where fresh food and wine come from this is the place for a relaxing dream vacation or day trip.”

Patty LaNoue Stearns Detroit Free Press June 10, 2001

“Black Stars’ ’98 Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc already show immense promise, as does their dry (Sirius) cherry ‘port.'”

Graydon and Sherri DeCamp Food Arts Magazine July/August 1999

Imagine this: A relaxing drive from Detroit ends with a magnificent glass of your favorite wine in the breathtaking splendor of Leelanau County. Here is where Michigan brushes the globe’s 45th parallel. Running east through France’s Rhone region and Northern Italy and west through Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it is here, midway between the North Pole and the equator, that some of the Earth’s best wines are made. For those who enjoy fine wines, Black Star Farms is a Northern Michigan must-see. Sample a glass of their 2002 Arcturos Pinot Noir and you’ll be hooked. But Black Star Farms not only offers great beverage tasting and tours of their impressive facilities; they operate a comfortable, eight-room bed and breakfast, equestrian facilities and an all around good home base for discovering all that this amazing region has to offer.

Brian C. Louwers AOL City Guide-Detroit