Lately we have been asked, “What’s floating around in my bottle of Artisan Red?”  The short answer is that it is sediment, and believe it or not, it’s a good thing.  Sediment in wine can be a result of a few different things:  dead yeast cells, grape solids, or tartrates.  The sediment in the Artisan Red consists primarily of tartrates which is the natural result of tartaric acid from the grapes, and is the base for cream of tartar (used in baking).

Tartrates formed in this wine because it did not go through complete cold stabilization.  Cold stabilization is a winemaking process that consists of lowering the temperature of a wine to near freezing, thus allowing solidified tartrates to separate and fall to the bottom of the tank.  The tartrates can then be filtered out of the wine.   Our premium red wines are rarely cold stabilized completely because of the time they spend in barrel and the blending process necessary for these barrel-aged wines.

The next time you find sediment in your bottle of Artisan Red, think of it as a positive.  This wine was not overly processed, and as a result more of the rich flavors that you have come to love are left in the bottle.

Here are a couple easy ways to avoid getting sediment in your glass of wine.  Decant your wine, this should be done after you let your wine stand upright for a period of time (at least 30 minutes), allowing the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle.  Decanting can then be done by slowly pouring your bottle into another container, such as a decanter, glass pitcher or carafe.  Need that glass of wine a little sooner?  A quick fix is to pour your wine through a fine mesh strainer like a metal tea or coffee filter.  Follow one of these steps and you will always enjoy your wine sediment free!

You might have heard us say this before, but the Artisan Red is the perfect base for sangria!  Check out Old Mission team member Leslie’s favorite recipe below.


Artisan Red and Blackberry Vodka Sangria


  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 bottle Artisan Red
  • 1/2 cup Vodka
  • orange slices, lime slices, and/or fresh blackberries


  1. Place 1 cup blackberries, water, and sugar in small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer about 10-15 minutes or until blackberries are very soft.
  2. Strain liquid several times and discard fruit. Pour into pitcher. Add wine and vodka. Add orange slices, lime slices, and fresh blackberries as desired. Cover and refrigerate at least a few hours but overnight is preferred.
  3. Serve over ice and garnish with additional fruit as desired.

Are you looking for a way to spend a fun Saturday with the one you love in the Traverse City area? Join the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula for the annual Romancing the Riesling on Saturday, February 17th. This wine trail event celebrates the beloved Riesling grape, the varietal Northern Michigan wine country is most known for. Each winery will be featuring their favorite Riesling alongside delectable food offerings from local chefs and area restaurants.

Black Star Farms Old Mission will be serving farm-raised goat tacos with cilantro slaw, courtesy of our very own Hearth & Vine Café, paired with the 2016 Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling. Other incredible culinary offerings at Black Star Farms Suttons Bay include intimate Friday Night Dinners at the Inn, elegant wine paired Harvest Dinners and interactive Cooking Classes.

Event day only, you will be able to taste a very special 2016 Sparkling Riesling. This limited release wine is only available in our two Traverse City tasting rooms. Quantities are low, so make sure to get your bottle of this fun and fruity bubbly before it sells out!

We hope to see you in our tasting room on Old Mission Peninsula. If you are joining the fun, make sure to check in on social media at Black Star Farms so we know you visited! Also use #WOMPRomance for your chance to win a WOMP prize package.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

This is the perfect way to explore Old Mission Peninsula in its winter splendor!

May is Michigan Wine Month, and we are asking you to celebrate it with us!  During the next four weeks we will be featuring a Facebook contest that will allow you to win some great prizes and learn some fun facts about our industry!  Here is how it works:


  • Each Monday starting May 1st, we will be posting an industry related question on our Facebook page. You will then be directed to our website to search for the answer.  All of the correct answers (entered as comments on to the post) will be collected, and a winner will be chosen at random and announced the following Wednesday.


  • The scheduled prizes include:
    • Monday, May 1st – $25 gift card
    • Monday, May 8th – $50 gift card
    • Monday, May 15th – $75 gift card
    • Monday, May 22nd – The Grand Prize!  $100 gift card and a VIP tasting for 2 in the exclusive wine club members only Barrel Room.


  • Play every week for a better chance to win the Grand Prize!  All of the correct answers for the month will be entered into the final drawing.


  • Gift cards do not expire, and are redeemable at our 2 Grand Traverse area tasting rooms and our online store.

Cheers to the Michigan Wine Industry!

Bottle shot of sparkling, rosé, and red wine from Black Star Farms.


We invite you to experience Black Star Farms Suttons Bay in its glorious winter splendor!  Explore our easy to moderate trails then warm up with a glass of mulled wine and a hearty bowl of chili on our Terrace Patio.  Round out your excursion with a tasting featuring our award winning wines, ciders and spirits.  We encourage you to bring the whole family, hot chocolate will also be available.  This is your chance to take in the woods, orchards and vineyards on our iconic estate while beautifully blanketed in snow.  We will be offering this fun adventurous event through winter, weather permitting. No reservations needed, just stop by between 12 and 4!

  • Onsite snowshoe rentals will be available Saturdays and Sundays 12 PM – 4 PM beginning January 7th
  • Special holiday dates!  The week of December 26th through December 31st  12 PM-4 PM
  • Snowshoe rental – $15, snowshoes must be returned by 5 PM
  • Chili with the fixings – $6
  • Mulled wine – $5
  • Hot Chocolate – $2
  • Wine tasting – $7


Despite the thaw, we still have snow in Leelanau County. Come for some fun!

Have your own snowshoes (or skis)?  You are welcome to explore our beautiful trail system anytime!

Chili provided by our very own Hearth & Vine Cafe.

Snowshoe rentals brought to you by Grand Traverse Bike Tours.  Check out all the adventures they offer here.




On Friday, October 16th the results for the 16th annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge were announced.  The Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) is a wine competition created in Canberra, Australia, “to highlight the grape that defines white wine, Riesling”. The Riesling Challenge attracts wines from Riesling producing countries around the world and is the most significant event of its type in the southern hemisphere. Riesling producers competed not only with producers from their region, but with nearly 500 other Rieslings from across the world.

Riesling Challenge

Black Star Farms entered two wines into the challenge, the 2013 Arcturos Dry Riesling and the 2013 Arcturos Riesling (medium-dry).  The 2013 Arcturos Dry Riesling was one of only 13 wines awarded an Elite Gold with a score of 96, and the 2013 Arcturos Riesling was awarded a Gold with a score of 95.  To see the full list of results go to: Canberra International Riesling Challenge/Results.  The 2013 vintages are not currently available through retail, however there will be an announcement when they are released.


“It’s always an honor to be recognized for the quality of our region. 2013 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 the past 2 years Traverse City has hosted its own celebration of this revered varietal with the “City of Riesling”.  This 2 day event features a global Riesling-specific public wine tasting and educational seminars led by some of the most renowned Riesling experts in the industry.  Watch for this event in Summer 2016.

Michigans-Best-Winery-with-John-GonzalezJohn 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.”

John continued:

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.”

Couple-Walking-up-to-the-InnBlack 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:


Here’s the recipe for the soup we served last weekend for the Leelanau Wine Trail’s Sips & Soups. It was paired with our 2012 Arcturos Riesling and delicious!

Carrot Ginger Bisque with Coconut Milk and Candied Walnuts


  • 12 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 t minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 chopped carrots
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1/2 t white pepper

Cook broth in a large saucepan, reducing it by half to concentrate flavors. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan, add onion and garlic and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger and carrot, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk, cover and cook 5 more minutes. Add reduced broth to vegetable mixture and season with white pepper. Cover and cook until all carrots are tender. In a food processor, puree soup until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Candied walnuts

  • 1 c walnut halves/pieces
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1 T butter

In a pan over medium heat, add 1 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp butter. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Transfer to a sheet pan with parchment paper and separate the nuts from one another. Leave at room temperature to dry. Crumble if desired for garnish.

Spend your “Wine Wednesdays” on the farm and enjoy the extraordinary Harvest Dinners at the Inn.  The creative farmstead cuisine is inspired by the best local ingredients.  Seasonal vegetables, fruits and meats are sourced from northern Michigan’s finest farms along with our own in Suttons Bay. These exceptional food and wine experiences are hosted the second Wednesday of every month at the Inn.

Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton and Event Coordinator Stephanie Wiitala invite you to a culinary event you will remember forever! Pictures and sample menus (from previous dinners) are posted below.  Take a look and be sure to make your reservation soon.

Sample Menus:

Root Cellar Revival

Goose & Winter Greens

Morels in May

(please note each dinner will have a seasonal theme & menu items are subject to change)

Tickets for the 5 course wine paired dinners are limited to 30 guests and cost is $100.00 all inclusive of tax and gratuity.  Click here to order your tickets or call 231-944-1251.