With their continued dedication in offering consistently exceptional experiences, our events team is excited to bring you a fresh and educational take on the wine paired dinner. Due to the overwhelming success of the first dinner, we invite you to join us for an encore presentation of this special culinary and nutritional event on February 12th at 6:30 PM at the Inn at Black Star Farms. Kathryn Ayres, a local dietitian and licensed nutritionist, uncovers the science behind the French’s ability to have a diet high in saturated fat yet maintain one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. The evening will include a presentation that explains how to benefit from including wine and foods such as brie cheese in the diet. This will be followed by a three course wine paired dinner that parallels the presentation. Gain insight into living a healthier life while enjoying the wonderful wines and farmstead cuisine of Black Star Farms! For more information on Kathryn Ayres MA, RD, LD/N visit her website Meals for Medicine.
Seats are limited so order your tickets today at My North Tickets.
The team that turned a 120-acre equestrian facility into a renowned agricultural destination south of Suttons Bay has announced an ownership transition. Don Coe, who with partner Kerm Campbell turned Sport Valley Farm into Black Star Farms and created a world-class winery, bed & breakfast operation and agri-tourism destination, is retiring. Kerm and wife Sallie Campbell have bought out partners Don and Marylou Coe to take full ownership of the 17-year-old operation. “I am 75 years old,” says Coe. “I made a promise to my wife – it’s time for us now. It is time to retire.”
Campbell, the farm’s major grape grower/supplier, assures that guests will experience business as usual. “We have assembled a top-notch team who will continue providing guests with the most remarkable experience … Our family is looking forward to providing more great experiences in 2016 and beyond,” says Campbell.
Coe has a long history of promoting Michigan’s agricultural industry, serving two terms on the Michigan Commission of Agriculture & Rural Development, including a stint as chair. He received the Milliken Distinguished Leadership Award from the Michigan Land Use Institute in 2012 for his work in advocating for farming and the importance of an agricultural economy.
Hearth & Vine
Take a break from your busy preparations this season and join us for a holiday celebration on the farm on Friday, December 18th from 5 pm-8 pm. The Hearth & Vine Restaurant at Black Star Farms invites you to gather around the outside fire pit for complimentary eggnog and mulled wine, while you take in the last Great Lakes Fish Boil of the year. This traditional culinary event includes a presentation and boil-off, a selection of fresh local Lake Michigan fish, potatoes, vegetable, coleslaw, house made bread, dessert, and a glass of house wine or non-alcohol beverage. More of a poultry fan? A wood-fired, oven roasted half chicken may be substituted in place of the fish. The cost is $30 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and under (3 and under are free) and includes tax and gratuity. Space is limited, so make your reservation today at: (231)944-1297. Or order your tickets online at My North Tickets.
The Suttons Bay Tasting Room
The tasting room will stay open until 8 pm (wine tasting ends at 5 pm) offering 20% off all bottle sales. This will be the perfect time to stock up for all those holiday parties, or finish up your Christmas shopping!
December 18th and 19th only the Inn will be offering a fantastic weekend holiday special. Stay Friday and Saturday night in your choice of available rooms for $438.45 (inclusive of tax and fees). In addition to all the fabulous amenities like the gourmet breakfast, daily hospitality hour and VIP wine tasting, guests will be able to buy one Friday Night Holiday Dinner (described above) and receive the second one for free! This incredible deal will not last long so call the innkeeper now at: (231)944-1251.
Got the mid week blues or need a great gift idea for that oh-so-hard-to-buy-for person? Take a break (or send your loved ones) to the Inn for two nights in your choice of available rooms on Sunday and Monday or Wednesday and Thursday for only $438.45 (inclusive of tax and fees) during the dates of December 1, 2015 and May 1, 2016. Can’t find a date that works at all? After May 1, 2016 the promotional amount of this certificate can be used as a dollar value towards a stay indefinitely.
John Gonzalez has become one of the most tireless promoters of the Great Lakes State through his “Michigan’s Best” series showcasing our state’s best food and drink experiences. Last week he and his crew unveiled their selection of Black Star Farms as Michigan’s Best Winery saying, “It’s hard to argue with a great business plan, incredible wine, attention to detail and a sense of Michigan pride.”
General partner Don Coe and his staff took us on an incredible journey to a one-of-a-kind “agricultural destination” that features a tasting room, distillery, an Inn, restaurant and farm on the Leelanau Peninsula. Founded on 160 acres in 1997, you can find Black Star on both peninsulas, as well as at a downtown Traverse City tasting room. “We want to be an agricultural destination,” Coe said. “We’re here to celebrate the land and the unique soil we have here.”
Black Star Farms offers a great variety of wines; all stack up against the others. The A Capella Ice Wine was served at The White House twice; for George W. Bush in 2002 and Barack Obama in 2008. The vineyard distributes 22,000 to 25,000 cases of wine throughout Michigan each year.
You can read on the see the other wineries on the list. We were very happy to see that the Leelanau & Old Mission Peninsulas notched 7 of the top 10!
Photographer and wine aficionado Jeff Schrier joined John on the tour, and you can click to see his photo gallery from their visit to Black Star Farms on mLive. Here’s John’s video interview with our managing partner Don Coe:
Ice Wine Season
by Andrew McFarlane, eatdrinkTC
Ice wine or ‘eiswein’ in the original German, is a rare dessert wine that requires great care and skill to produce.
With the chill that settled over the area and the late harvest this year, it seemed to be a great time for a short article about this rare delicacy. In a happy coincidence, when I called Black Star Farms winemaker Lee Lutes on Monday, he told me that they’d be picking and pressing at Black Star Farms on Old Mission Wednesday.
While December 11, 2013 was by no means the coldest December 11th on record (that would be 1977 at -11), it was a bone-chilling day with temps hovering around 11 degrees with a wind chill that never got above zero after 9:30 AM.
As Black Star Farms winemaker Vladimir Banov explained, the perfect day for the ice wine harvest.
Ice wine is not made every year, and not by every winery. U.S. law for ice wines specifies that the grapes must be naturally frozen to be sold as ice wine.
To begin, a winery will leave a portion of the harvest to hang. Even under the bird netting, it’s a gamble against mercurial weather and clever creatures. Many years, it will leave the winery with nothing.
In some years however, such as this one, patience is rewarded.
While winter’s cold chills the fingers, it makes harvest faster as grape clusters fairly fall off the wine.
Buckets and bins are quickly filled. In many years, speed can be crucial. If the grapes get too warm, the pressing won’t have the necessary sweetness and the effort will be wasted.
The small crew is able to move through a row quickly, leaving little in their wake.
It’s cold and lonely work. The crew is quiet, working silently and stopping only briefly to warm up.
In a surprisingly short time, the bins fill.
At the winery, the frozen Riesling grapes are shoveled into the press.
A true ice wine is made from grapes that have frozen and hung. The 2013 Black Star Farms ice wine is being made from 100% Riesling grapes. While a typical Riesling will be harvested at a 18-23 brix (a measure of sugar content), pressing a frozen grape yields a much sweeter juice, over 45 brix in this case.
At Black Star Farms, they use a basket press that exerts hundreds of pounds of force per square inch.
The tremendous pressure slowly yet surely squeeze the concentrated juice from the frozen grapes.
The rim around the basket catches the juice…
…and captures every drop.
The juice that trickles out is sweet as honey.
Back in 2008, Lee put together a great video for Black Star Farms taking you through the ice wine harvest. Enjoy!
Aromas of sweet ripe fruits are followed by flavors of apples and apricots that are complemented by honey undertones. Enjoy this wine by itself or with a range of desserts from savory to sweet. Recommended pairings include, savory cheese plates, shortbread cookies, cheesecake with apricot preserves and an assortment of fruit pies.
Residual Sugar: 30.5%
Aging Potential: Enjoy this wine for the next five to ten years.