Fenton Winery & Brewery

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Fenton Winery & Brewery has a pretty interesting history.  Founded by Matt and Ginny Sherrow they started out in a strip mall in 2007 amidst a recession the owners were determined to make it through.  After a few years of success, acquiring the storefronts on either side and gaining popularity, they knew the winery & brewery could be expanded if they had more space.  In 2012 they found a nice 5 acre property, previously a wood shop, just North of town on Long Lake Rd.  The property needed a lot of renovation, fast forward to 2014 they were totally transitioned.  Now at 1370 N. Long Lake Rd., Fenton, MI 48430 they have a store that sells brewing supplies, glasses, growlers, bottles of beer and wine and other cool items.  There is a separate wedding/event room and the brewhouse is onsite.  The taproom where you can indulge in samples, glasses or bottles of their craft wines and beer, the delicious pizzas, appetizers, cheesy ale soup (my favorite!), meat and cheese tray and artisan grilled cheese sandwiches.  On nice days you can take your food and drink outside into the beer and wine garden.  You won't be bored, they also have games like corn hole, board games and much more to help you relax.  If you find yourself on US-23 in-between Hartland and Flint this is your stop.


As I have written in the past about my secondary love of beer Fenton Winery & Brewery has something that everyone will love.  Even if you aren't into wine and beer they can serve up your favorite cocktail instead.  You'll be shocked at their selection of wine.  Why don't we explore the amazing wine they have.


White Wine:

Orange Label White - Sauvignon Blanc

Classic, semi-dry wine that has an herbaceous nose & subtle hints of lavender.  Excellent with seafood & well-seasoned poultry dishes.

Fenton White - Chardonnay

Fresh, well-balanced with tropical citrus aromas and flavors.  Undimmed by oak, the fruit quality of the grape comes through and the rich, round mouth feel lingers to a long, crisp finish.

Celebrate - Viognier  

Full-bodied & highly aromatic, this fruit-forward wine boasts great floral notes.  Layers of flavor linger on the palate.  Pairs well with spicy foods.  (One of my favorite whites).  See flight picture.

Gazebo White - Riesling

Light, semi-sweet wine that features a delicate, fruity aroma and a fresh, crisp finish.  A versatile wine that pairs well with an array of dishes.

Moonlight - Moscato

Light-bodied, sweet white wine that has a refreshing taste.


Blended Wine:
Breeze - Pomegranate Riesling

Semi-sweet Riesling blended with tart pomegranates.

Solo - Blackberry Merlot

This is by far their best seller!  A velvety soft, medium-bodied Merlot mixed with rich, sweet blackberries.  Wonderful with dark chocolate!

Crisp - Green Apple Riesling

A great, refreshing wine that reminds you of biting into a crisp green apple.  A delicious juicy finish follows the apple tartness.

Wild - Wildberry Shiraz

A light, refreshing, fruity blend of wild berries and a robust Shiraz.

Grin - Raspberry White Zinfandel

Blush wine offering succulent, mouth-watering flavors of sweet, ripe raspberries blended gracefully with the refreshing character of a White Zinfandel.


Red Wine:
Fenton Red - Merlot

Medium-bodied red wine boasting a fruity flavor & velvety soft finish.  A perfect sipping red.

Summit Red - Pinot Noir

Known for its fruit & berry notes, this medium-bodied red is rich & surprisingly smooth.  Pairs well with sweeter, lightly seasoned dishes. (This was my top wine pick of the week for Feb 23, 2018.  The second wine going left to right in my wine flight picture).

Orange Label Red - Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth and rich with qualities of warm berries up front.  This is a medium bodied wine that has light tannins in the finish.

Mountain View - Malbec

Medium-bodied red wine with lasting notes of jammy, plum flavors and a dry, warm finish. (Very delicious wine with all those characteristics you love from a Malbec.  Third wine going left to right on my flight picture).

Barrel Aged Red Wine
1545 North - Barolo

An Italian favorite made from the Nebbiolo grape.  This barrel aged version is aromatic & delicious with light tannin undertones. (I love this wine!  This is the second time I've seen this at a Michigan winery.  This is the wine on the right of my wine flight picture).

Crimson Vine - Shiraz

Medium-bodied, spicy on the palate & robust.  Notes of warm berries & black pepper.

Dessert Wines and Specialty Wine:
First Frost Ice Wine - Riesling Ice Wine

Sweet aromas & flavors of pear, honey and sugar drops combine for a real treat.

Winter Warmth - Cherry Chocolate Dessert Wine

Sweet and rich with flavors reminiscent of a chocolate covered cherry, this wine is a perfect after dinner sipper.

Opulence Ruby - Fortified Port

Double medal winning port recipe that takes almost 2 years to create as it is aged and fortified with French Barrel Aged Brandy.  It has incredible flavor balance with notes of banana and elderberries throughout.

Cocoa - Chocolate Merlot

Medium bodied Merlot blended with rich dark cocoa.  This is not a sweet wine, it has decadent flavors throughout that create a subtle sweetness and sophisticated experience. (This wine is dessert in a glass no doubt).

(Descriptions brought to you by the Fenton Winery & Brewery's website).  Personal accounts are made in parentheses after each description.


Left to right:
Celebrate, Summit Red, Mountain View, 1545 North.


Not on the list is the "Mango Wine," which is one I'll have to go back for.  My wife and I really loved it. The mango taste wasn't over powering but made for a unique tasting experience.  I hope it sticks around for awhile.


The winery & brewery is a great place to get together with family and friends.  My wife and I went this past Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 to meet up with her sister and husband, who live in Fenton and discovered it.  We sampled both wine and beer.  You can mix up your flights to have wine and beer on them.  The flight is the way to go and with 4 pours for $7 you can't go wrong!  We ordered pizza and a cheesy ale soup made from their amber ale, absolutely delicious!  On top of that, the staff is super friendly and attentive making sure our glasses didn't run dry.  We can't wait to go back.


I've never heard of the Fenton Winery & Brewery before last week, so I was excited to try it out.  I suggest that you check it out too!


Chateau Grand Traverse

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Chateau Grand Traverse is an amazing winery in Northwest Michigan located on the Mission Peninsula overlooking West Suttons Bay.  Known for their Riesling and home of the annual Cherry Festival "Cherry Wine."  Each summer around the 4th of July the Cherry Festival is a staple in Traverse City and draws people from all over the world.  When they release the Cherry Festival "Cherry Wine" look out for "Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week."


The winery is located at 12239 Center Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686.  In addition to the winery they have an inn with themed rooms.  My wife and I took a look at the inn while looking at places to stay for our wedding venue trip.  Unfortunately, the inn was completely booked for the days we would be in the area.  We hope to stay there on our next trip to Traverse City.  


Let's get into the wonderful world-class wine from Chateau Grand Traverse.  Their selection is bound to please every type of wine drinker.

Red & Rosé Wine:

2013 Pinot Noir Reserve:  This dry red wine has a spirited sort of elegance. It comes alive with delicate cherry and strawberry nuances, mingled with subtle chocolate flavors.  Aged for 26 months in small oak barrels, this wine offers refined oak complexity, light tannins, and a lasting finish.  The complex character of this wine pairs well with savory dishes, red meats, grilled salmon, or wild game.

2013 Silhouette Reserve:  An off-dry style, premium red wine blend of Cabernet Franc, Gamay Noir, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Dornfelder.  It is fruity and rich in body with subtle mellowing from aging for 22 months in new and seasoned French and American oak barrels.  Serve with red meats, pasta, or any grilled fare.

2013 Merlot Reserve:  Think berries, black pepper, chocolate, espresso, firm acidity and big tannins. Aged for 26 months in small oak barrels, this full-bodied, dry red wine comes together with captivating flavors and abundant fruit.

2013 Cabernet Franc Reserve:  This beautifully structured red wine exhibits fragrant aromas of berry, black pepper, dark chocolate, and hints of coffee.  The palate comes to life with firm tannins, earthy minerals, and strong oak references from 26-months aging in small oak barrels.  The complex character of this wine pairs well with savory dishes, red meats, hearty pasta, or strong cheese.

2013 Gamay Noir Reserve:  A lighter-bodied, aromatic, fruity red wine with distinct tart cherry, red plum and black pepper flavors abound.  With 36 months of barrel aging, it is lighter than traditional red wines making a versatile wine for cheese and breads, grilled salmon, roasted duckling or wild mushroom pizza.  (2013 was a good year for wine).

2014 Etcetera Red:  This handcrafted red blend reveals mouth quenching acidity, robust berry flavors, and subtle oaky earthiness.  pair with a juicy burger, grilled salmon, spicy Paella, or your favorite charcuterie.

2016 Etcetera Rosé:  This handcrafted rosé reveals mouth quenching acidity, robust berry flavors, and subtle oaky earthiness.  Made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, this balanced wine is made for summertime sipping on the patio.  Pair with a juicy burger, grilled salmon, spicy Paella, or your favorite charcuterie.  (Summertime calls for an amazing pink and this blend will make you coming back for more.  It is probably a good idea to get 2 or more bottles of this rosé).

2016 Pinot Noir Rosé:  It may seem “pretty in pink,” but this is a seriously polished wine made from gently pressed Pinot Noir grapes.  With just a touch of sweetness, this medium-bodied Vin Gris exudes bright tart cherry aroma, crisp melon, and light vanilla with a lasting finish.  Perfectly matched for those hard to pair foods, this wine will most certainly command a room. (You'll be seeing more and more of these rosés as the summers become hotter and more dry).

2016 Pinot Noir:  This wine comes alive with flavors of cherry, raspberry and chocolate with medium body, firm tannins and a fruity finish.  The delicate complexity of this wine matches
well with grilled salmon, roast duckling, wild game, or even dark chocolate after dinner.

2016 Gamay Noir:  Has adapted well to the climate of Northern Michigan producing a lighter-bodied, aromatic, fruity red wine with distinct tart cherry, red plum and black pepper flavors.  With four months of barrel aging, it is lighter than traditional red wines making a versatile wine for cheese and breads, grilled salmon, roasted duckling or wild mushroom pizza. (Probably one of my favorite grape varietals).

Woods Sweet Red:  CWoodsheers to the road not yet traveled, trees that could tell our history, and the promise of an unforgettable view around the bend.  This sweet red wine pairs perfectly with your favorite trail mix, hunter sausage with sharp cheddar cheese, and a trail map to plan for tomorrow. (CGT)

Select Sweet Traverse Red:  This sweet-style red wine is made from a selected blend of 100% vinifera red wine grapes. It displays a sweet fruity flavor with rich red wine undertones.  Serve slightly chilled.


White Wine:

2016 Pinot Grigio:  Bright acidity and beautiful mineral qualities with wonderful fruit. Its floral-citrus flavors and herbaceous style will make this a very food-friendly wine, perfect for summertime.  The natural acidity in this crisp Pinot Grigio will accentuate simple and delicate flavors in food, especially fish entrées.  Pair with savory dishes such as seared scallops, pesto chicken, or stir fry.

2013 Gewürztraminer:  Robust and spicy with a pronounced aromatic style.  Exhibiting floral, ginger, citrus and earthy nuances.  This wine pairs wonderfully with assertive cuisine such as Thai or Indian dishes.

2016 Etcetera White:  Notes of honeycomb, ripe green apple, and citrus fill the palate with striking minerality and a hint of spice on the finish.  Enjoy this exquisitely structured white wine with most savory dishes such as margarita pizza, decadent mac and cheese, and grilled sausage and peppers.

2016 Ship of Fools:  "A ship’s journey will cease if its myriad of characters fail to meld as a crew."  In a similar fashion, they created this unconventional blend that reveals an altogether new phizog.  It exhibits bright fruit flavor, pleasing mineral qualities with nuances of aromatic green tea.  With a dry, lingering finish and soft acidity, it is the perfect skipper to sail into uncharted waters. (CGT)

2016 Grü Vin:  Equal parts “crispy-wow” with “zesty-ooh,” this captivating cool climate creation can saunter into any room and grab attention.  Their small block vineyard provides intense late-season ripening, creating a laid-back wine with a clean finish.  This show-stopping wine offers marvelous citrus qualities, juicy minerality, and hints of white pepper.  Sit back, enjoy a chilled glass and be your far-out self. (CGT) (Can you dig it?)

Select Pinot Grigio:  A slightly sweeter wine offering ripe fruit flavors, citrus-herb qualities, and crisp acidity.  This versatile wine pairs beautifully with spicy dishes.

Waters Sweet White:  CheerWaterss to full sails, fish tales, wet paddles and rafting up with friends on the lake.  This sweet white wine pairs nicely with planked salmon, fresh cherries, watermelon, and those freshwater memories that can only be made in Michigan. (CGT)

Picnic Semi-dry White:  Cheers to toes in the sand at sunset, gentle breezes scented by campfire, and spontaneous outdooor dining.  This semi-dry white wine pairs perfectly with a gingham table cloth, wicker basket, warming bonfire, and s’mores after sunset with your favorite people. (CGT)



2016 Late Harvest Riesling:  Abounds with dazzling fruit and crisp citrus flavors balanced with a naturally sweet finish.  They created this exquisite after-dinner wine to match well with cheese and fruit as well as roast pork, glazed ham, poultry, or most barbecued fare.

2014 Semi-dry Riesling:  This versatile wine displays flavors of ripe pear and honey crisp, accented by scents of Meyer lemon and acacia honey complimented by very refreshing acidity.  Most entrées will surely be complemented by this versatile wine.  Flavors of citrus and fresh fruit abound, balanced with crisp acidity and a lasting finish.  From the basic stir fry, barbecue, or even Indian chutney, the fruit undertones will enhance a broad range of the most unique meals.  Serve slightly chilled.

2016 Dry Riesling:  This expressive dry white wine is crisp, fruity and fresh.  Intricate flavors of apple, pear and citrus are matched with a vibrant steely-dry finish.  Its assertive and clean style is an ideal match for most seafood, shellfish, or delicate cream sauce entrées

2016 Whole Cluster Riesling:  Crisp aromatics, bright tropical fruit and lemony citrus are accented with luscious flavors of ripe apple and pear.  Produced from top quality, hand-picked Riesling grapes, whole clusters were pressed without any de-stemming or crushing.  The resulting wine is sleek and steely with just a hint of natural sweetness for balance.  With talent on loan from the vineyard, this wine is a Riesling rock star.

2016 Block Twelve:  Block 12 is their prized little vineyard recognized for producing outstanding quality grapes.  Hand-picked with loads of flavor, they cool fermented and steady aged in stainless steel allowing this wine to show off juicy fruit-forward aromatics, pronounced citrus and a robust mouthfeel.  Made in the style they see fit, this hand-crafted, small production wine exemplifies their 43-year commitment to making extraordinary Riesling.

Select Semi-dry Riesling: This is a popular semi-dry white wine made in a refreshing style with crisp character.  Serve with cheese and fruit, grilled poultry, fresh seafood, or any barbecued fare.

Select Sweet Harvest Riesling:  This sweeter-style white wine displays flavors of apricot, melon and honey with a sweet finish.  Serve with roast pork, grilled poultry, glazed ham, pasta salad or barbecued fare.


Cherry Wine:

Cherry Wine Sangria:  This is a sweet wine made from Cherry Wine blended with natural lemon, lime, pineapple, banana and orange flavors.  Cherry Wine Sangria is a perfect pairing for holiday meals, with flavors that burst when warmed.

Spiced Cherry Wine:  This wine is a holiday tradition made from a blend of Cherry Wine with natural flavors of cinnamon, clove, orange, and lemon peel.  Enjoy as a warm-up beverage during the cooler months.

Cherry Riesling Wine:  This unique and flavorful wine was made from Semi-dry Riesling Wine and Northern Michigan Cherry Wine.  Simply put, this enchanting semi-dry wine displays crisp, fruity style with a delicate hint of cherry.  We recommend serving this versatile wine slightly chilled as an accompaniment to picnic or barbecued fare, as well as cheese and fruit.  This is a sweeter-style blush wine with crisp Riesling flavors.

Cherry Wine:  This all-natural Cherry Wine is made in a sweeter style and is produced from a variety of tart cherries grown in nearby orchards.  They cool fermented this wine in stainless steel tanks to capture the delicate fruit qualities, ripe cherry flavors, and beautiful color.  Enjoy with barbecued foods, picnic fare or cheese and fruit. Serve slightly chilled for best flavor.

Cherry Reserve Port:  This rich and robust port-style wine reveals fragrant cherry aromas and wonderful complexity.  Made from pure Northern Michigan cherries and aged for a minimum of 48 months in small oak barrels, this wine is then fortified with cherry brandy to add sweetness and complexity.  The resulting wine offers big cherry pie character with a deliciously sweet, mouth-filling finish. Enjoy after dinner with dark chocolate, aged cheeses, or your favorite dessert. Serve at room temperature.


MichMash Wine:

MichMash White:  White Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

MichMash Riesling:  Riesling Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

MichMash Red:  Red Blend.  This wine can only be shipped in Michigan.  MichMash wines are uniquely flavor-driven and not focused on the individual varietal, but on producing intricately beautiful blends.

(All wine descriptions are from the Chateau Grand Traverse website.  Anything in a parentheses will be my own accounts of the wine from when I tasted them).


If you are curious about the winemaking process and would like to see the vineyard, you can take a complementary tour when you arrive to the tasting room.  It is usually a good idea to set the tour up ahead of time and make sure to arrive 10 minutes early for your appointment.  Tours will last around 30 minutes.  If you have time, it is a real treat to see.


You can find Chateau Grand Traverse wine at your local wine shop or grocery store.  They may not carry all of the wines listed above, but be sure to ask the person in charge of ordering wine at the store if they would order it for you.  This works every time when you have a good rapport with the person in charge of ordering the wine.  If you want to order, you can go on the winery's website to order as many bottles as you desire or can afford.  Prices may vary but they are usually quite reasonable.


Until Friday, I need to restock the supply!


Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week Feb 16, 2018 - "Pyment" From Uncle John's Cider Mill

This week's wine pick is from a Cider Mill.  "Pyment" from Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. John's, about 15 miles north of Lansing off of US-127 on the East side of the highway.  We took a trip up there during harvest time in 2017 with a group of friends from my wife's work.  It was great to introduce them to a cider and wine tasting.  They discovered different types of wine and cider that they wouldn't have normally tried or knew even existed.  Let's check out the wine called "Pyment."


"Pyment" this wine is a semi-dry blend of Traminette grapes and local wildflower honey.  Fruity, fresh and slightly spicy.  Very similar in style to a Riesling or Gewurztraminer.  This is a delicious wine that is easy to drink by itself, with appetizers, salads, chicken, fish, and even chocolate desserts.  This wine will leave you wishing for spring time.


I don't have exact pricing but they are very reasonable.  The cider is very reasonable and tasty too!  They have apples, pies, syrup, jams, bread, jerky and doughnuts.  It is definitely worth taking a trip to the middle of the state for some amazing cider and wine.  The tasting room allows you to try wine, cider and spirits.  The cider will blow your mind.  Keep your eyes pealed for a review later this year.  Go check Uncle John's Cider Mill out and respond to the post  with your favorite part about the cider mill.


If you have an idea for my next winery or wine pick post please let me know.  We'll see you next week.


Fieldstone Winery & Hard Cider - A must if you are in Rochester

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Fieldstone Winery & Hard Cider is your Southeast Michigan spot to get wine and hard cider.  In the heart of downtown Rochester at 223 S Main St, Rochester, MI 48307.... Wait...what? you mean there's a winery in Southeast Michigan?  You thought it was only for the west side of the state.  Nope, it's common for towns to have a winery.


I heard about this winery while I was training at Leader Dog.  One of the instructors told me about it and I just had to try it.  Shannan came up to visit on my day off and we headed into town.  After an amazing lunch at Penn Station Subs we walked across the street into the winery and were in love with the selection!  We got to know the staff.  Professing our love of Pumpkin Cider I had to buy a growler!  Discovering fruit infused wine, many delicious traditional reds and whites along with some unique dessert delights.


Close to the campus of Oakland University it is a fantastic spot to grab a growler of cider and/or bottles of wine.  Wine is an amazing choice for Valentine's Day.  One week away peeps!  Maybe a Fieldstone Winery wine would be perfect for that special day.  They have so many different wines along with some cheese plates, chocolates and other goodies.  Want to try multiple wine?  Try a wine flight or two!


Now it's time to get hot and heavy with this diverse wine list!


If Wine isn't your thing and none of the combinations sound good let's check out the cider.


(Lists taken from Fieldstone Winery & Cider website.  NOTE: Certain wines may not be available all year round).


Yum, don't try to taste them all in one sitting you'll have a killer stomachache.  Enough wine and cider to keep you coming back to try the varietals you missed.


The best specialty wine for summer that tastes more like a cocktail than a wine is "Coconut Yuzu."  If you dig the cider and love everything pumpkin in the fall they have a Pumpkin Hard Cider that is definitely worth a trip to downtown Rochester.


If you want to make a day of it there are many different coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and other shops in downtown.  Take a look and enjoy the scenery.  It's well worth a trip to Rochester around the holiday season all of the storefronts are lit with lights.  I know it's early but not too early to plan ahead.  You may be reading this in June or September for all I know.  Ha!


If you visit the Fieldstone Winery please let me know and tell me what wine and/or hard cider is your favorite, or you are like me and love them all!  Until Friday!


If you've been reading since the beginning or you are a new reader please share with me your favorite Michigan wine.


Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week Jan 26, 2018 - "Peach Wine" Modern Craft Winery - Sometimes I Like It Sweet!


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This week I wanted to showcase a sweeter wine that won't disappoint.  A great first date wine or just because.  I'll even share a Sparkling Peach Bellini Martini recipe using this wine.  Let's jump into it!


"Peach" from Modern Craft Winery is a delicious choice that even non-wine drinkers will enjoy.  If you want your significant other to start liking wine this is your go to.  "Peach" wine is made from semi-sweet chardonnay and fresh peaches.  This is perfect with cheese, fresh fruit, chicken dishes and any dessert.  The smooth flavor and texture makes it an easy drinking wine.  The cork is easy to remove and re-cork.  I save and reuse their corks due to their ease of use.  Because you don't have to remember your corkscrew it makes this wine the best for picnics or a day at the lake.  Just make sure the longer you wait to drink it the stronger it becomes.  This wine is meant to drink within 6 months of purchase.  At the price of $15.99 it is well worth the money.


When my wife and I first started dating we went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival we stumbled upon a grand wine tasting.  Knowing that I love wine Shannan suggested we sample some.  Come to find out that one of the wineries tasting was Modern Craft Winery who had the "Peach" wine and many other fantastic fruit wines.  Not being able to find the wine in stores we made sure to buy multiple bottles to last until the next year's Renaissance Festival.


On our way to the Upper Peninsula in 2017 we decided to stop at the West Branch tasting room at 224 Houghton Ave, West Branch, MI.  It was really cool to find a way to taste Modern Craft Winery wine other than at the Renaissance Festival.


In doing additional research I found out Modern Craft Winery has many different tasting rooms.  Their winery is located at 211 E. Huron Rd, Au Gres, MI.  If you want to take a trip up north to Au Gres, West Branch, Harrisville or Frankenmuth you can find their tasting rooms and maybe even find their wines in the grocery stores around and north of Bay City.  Anywhere else you may have to ask your local wine merchant to order it for you.  Get free shipping with code "FREESHIP" at their online store.


They offer other types of fruit wine, a Chai Tea Wine, Cucumber Melon Wine, Mandarin Orange Wine, White Lemon Wine, also more traditional reds and whites.  We tried all of their wine and you'll love them all.  Check it out and enjoy responsibly!


To end this post, I leave you with the "Sparkling Peach Bellini Martini."

1.  Peach Wine from Modern Craft Winery.
2. Your favorite dry bubbly or sparkling water (higher the bubble content the better).
3. Your favorite Vodka.
4. A Strawberry, Pineapple, Orange, Lemon or Lime for garnish.

1. Put ice in a shaker,
2. Pour 1 oz of Vodka into a shaker,
3. Pour 4 oz of Peach Wine,
4. Shake well,
5. Prepare a sparkling wine glass or a tall skinny glass,
6. Pour 2-3 oz of bubbly or sparkling water into the glass,
7. Strain Peach wine and vodka combination into the glass,
8. Garnish with your favorite fruit,
9. Enjoy the concoction!

*You can change quantities to fit your liking.

Please let me know if there is a better combination.  Stay posted and subscribe to know when my new articles go up.


St. Julian Winery

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St. Julian Winery located in Paw Paw is a wonderful place for checking out a variety of wine from the wonderful state of Michigan.  They have some unique wines and everyone can find a wine here that they would enjoy.  The sweet drinkers, dry drinkers and everyone in-between will enjoy the wine from here.


The winery is located right off of I-94 at 716 S Kalamazoo St, Paw Paw, MI 49079.  You can taste this wine in house, order off their website or find in select wine shops and grocery stores near you.  You can host your events there, they host various events, offer gift baskets, and other products that you can find on their online store or at the tasting room.


Let's check out St. Julian's wine:


Sparkling Wine:

BR Blanc De Blanc - Dry, lively, lemon acidity, citrus and Bartlett pear flavors.

BR Blanc De Noir - Dry white sparkler made from 100% Michigan red grapes.

Michigan Brut Champagne - Dry, with a semi-dry finish.

Sparkling Michcato - Sweet, a succulently sweet sparkling with flavors of tropical peach and citrus.

Sweet Nancie - Semi-sweet, a sparking Traminette with flavors of peach, pineapple, and lemon zest.

Sweet Nancie Cranberry - Sweet, tart cranberry and cherry aromas follow through on a medium-bodied palate with frothy carbonation.

Sweet Nancie Peach - Sweet, tropical passion fruit and peach juices are blended to create this bubbly, full of exotic aromas and packed with flavor.

White Wine:

Blue Heron - Semi-sweet, flavors of pear and mango overlay a crisp acid structure that focuses the wine and leads to a long, satisfying finish.  One of the more popular whites for the price.

BR Albarino - Dry, Inviting aromas of orange blossoms, mango and apricots lead to a tangy Meyer lemon, green apple and grassy finish. The tart acidity is well balanced with a lush finish.  Great for a summer picnic.

BR Late Harvest Vignoles - Sweet, accented by flavors of pineapple chutney and honeyed lychee, the silky-sweet, lush, full body dessert wine finishes with a caramelized pear accented.

BR LH Vidal Blanc - Sweet, tangy caramelized apple and apricot notes lead into a long mineral accent that fade nicely on the palate.

BR Mountain Road Riesling - Semi-dry, yet impeccably balanced, this wine bursts with flavors
of passion fruit, honeyed peach and tangy citrus fruits.

BR Pinot Gris - Dry, vibrant aromas of pineapple, fresh lime and citrus peel. Flavors come in layers of white peach, mango and nectarine fruit.

BR Riesling - Dry, this gently floral wine leads with vibrant aromas of Mangos, fresh lime and citrus peel. Flavors come in layers of white peach, pineapple, & nectarine fruit.

BR Sauvignon Blanc - Dry, aromas bursting of lemons and limes. The crisp acidity on the palate is accompanied by flavors jam-packed with mangos, white peaches and tropical fruits with a lingering hint of fresh cut grass.

BR Traminette - Semi-dry, exotic mango and lemon zest aromas with flavors of white peach and apricot.

Cluster Flick - Semi-sweet, pear, mango and lychee overlay with crisp acid and leads to a long, satisfying finish.

Envy - Sweet, hints of citrus with flavors of juicy peach and ripe apricots and mango. (The first St. Julian wine I tried).

Forbidden Fruit White Sangria - Sweet, passion fruit and peach flavors with a touch of citrus.

Founder's White - Dry, honey and peach aromas lead to apricot, green apple and citrus finish

Frankenmuth May Wine - Sweet, pineapple, tropical fruit and woodruff aromas with a subtle accent.

Ice Wine Vidal Blanc - Sweet jam-packed with tangy and juicy apricot, citrus marmalade and honey.  A delicious, richy flavorful wine that is simply dessert in a glass.

Michcato White - Semi-sweet, moscato-like characteristics with flavors of exotic fruit and crisp acidity.

Niagara - Sweet, fresh grape taste and a lightly sweet finish.

Peach Wine - Sweet, candied peach flavors followed by ripe fruit peach flavors.

Sauterne - Sweet, beautifully balanced carmelized pineapple and honeysuckle flavors. (Probably one of my most favorite whites by them).

Simply White - Semi-dry, a balance of ripe concentrated peach, citrus, honey and melon.

SJ Unoaked Chardonnay - Dry, refreshing and crisp flavors of yellow delicious apples.

St. Julian Reserve Late Harvest Riesling - Sweet, flavors of apricot, tangerine, and cream, along with a slight mineral edge.

St. Julian Reserve Pinot Grigio - Dry, delicate aromas of Honeydew melon and Anjou pear lead to a medium-bodied palate with Honeycrisp apple flavors.

St. Julian Reserve Riesling - Semi-dry, crisp and light, yet packs intense flavors of super ripe peach, mango, lemon zest and mineral.

White Heron - Semi-sweet, mango and apricot with a lingering after taste of tropical fruit.


Rosé Wine:

BR Serious Rosé - Dry, this Rosé style captures the bright berry flavors of summer. Bursting with aromas of fresh, ripe cherries and strawberries it is the perfect wine for sipping on the patio.

Catawba - Sweet, a mild berry, fresh fruit taste with just the right amount of the famous spicy Catawba grape sweetness.

Frankenmuth Rosé - Sweet, strawberry-cherry aromas and very fruity flavors.

Lust - Semi-sweet with flavors of berries and juicy fruit.  (One of my favorites and you can usually find it at Meijer).  Right now on sale for $6.99!

Simply Pink - Semi-dry, a fruity, light wine with flavors of ripe strawberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches and tropical fruit. (Another one of my favorites).  On sale for $5.99!


Red Wine:

BR Cabernet Franc - Dry, plum, raspberry and exotic spice aromas. Creamy vanilla-scented oak, currant and brambleberry flavors.

BR Chambourcin - Dry-yet-fruity full body of ripe blackberry, Bing cherry and boysenberry flavors.

BR Chancellor Noir - Dry, chocolate covered espresso beans, sweet cherries and vanilla aromas. Ripe currant, black raspberry and Bing cherry flavor. Aged 100% in Michigan Oak.

Sweet Revenge - Sweet, fresh grape with aromas of cherries and berries are complimented by the well-integrated acidity.

BR Meconi - Sweet, this iced Frontenac wine is a great new addition to our dessert wine portfolio! Bursting with aromas of strawberry jam and raisin it follows through with flavors of black raspberry, strawberry and boysenberry.

Concord Wine - Sweet, snappy, grapey accents echo fresh Concord grape juice.

Forbidden Fruit Sangria - Sweet, fresh berry and citrus flavors. Delicious and refreshing!

Founder's Red - Dry, this is a fresh and fruit-filled offering with pleasant cherry fruit, soft tannins and tart acidity.

Head Games - Sweet, spiced, deliciously sweet red, nicely balanced with luring flavors cinnamon, plums and clove. Perfect for fall and winter.  Try it heated up to bring out the spiced aromas.

High Maintenance - Sweet, full-bodied sweet red wine with an easy finish. Filled with aromas of blackberry, cherry and dried cranberries followed by flavors of mulberries, plums and raspberries.

Michcato Sunset Red - Semi-sweet, refreshing flavors of grapes and berries balanced with the perfect amount of sweetness.  Makes for a perfect chilled summer wine.

Nouveau - Dry, the freshest wine of the season; the essence of farm to table, a young wine bursting with flavor and body.

Red Heron - Semi-sweet, captures the essence of classic American grapes.

Scandal - Semi-sweet, easy on the eyes sweet on the lips, Scandal is the perfect way to indulge all of your cravings.  Deliciously refreshing, this fruity medium body red is the perfect Scandal.

Sholom - Sweet, a Kosher; traditional Concord wine.

Simply Red - Semi-dry, layers of dark cherries, wild berries, raspberries and with a bit of plum.

(Thanks to St. Julian Winery's website for some descriptions of the above wine).


In addition to the wine listed above they have fruit wine in blackberry, blueberry, cherry and dessert wines.  St. Julian Winery also has cider, spirits like gin, sherry, creme liquors, plus their widely known "Grey Heron" vodka and even non-alcoholic sparkling fruit juices.


I invite you to check out their winery in Paw Paw or pick up a bottle in your local grocery store or wine cellar.  Not all of these wines are available in your local store so make sure to ask if you want it ordered.




Black Star Farms


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Black Star Farms is more than a winery, they also have an inn, a farm to table restaurant, culinary classes, equestrian facilities and you can even have your wedding hosted there.  Located at 10844 E Revold Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 and tucked back in the valley you arrive at the main building, which is a beautiful southern style farmhouse.  You truly feel like you are in an entirely different state.  Producing award winning wine in a cooler climate than other vineyards on the 45th parallel.  The Black Star Farms location is on the same line as many of the worlds premiere wine regions.


In addition Black Star Farms has a separate tasting room on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City.  This is the location we stopped at the following day after we found out the Suttons Bay location was closed for the evening.  There is another location where you can try Black Star Farms wine that is located down state in Ann Arbor at the VinBar.  The VinBar is located at 111 W. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 they open at 3pm every day.  You can taste most of Black Star Farm's wines, ciders, fruit wines, dessert wines and even spirits.  I may post a sub-review after I visit their establishment.


Let's talk about their huge variety of wine, vintage, non-vintage, sparkling, red, white, fruit, cider, dessert.  The name Black Star Farms is known much farther than the Great Lakes.  You can order off of their online store or find their wine at your local grocery and wine store in about every city in Michigan even Albion, Fowlerville, Pinckney, other large and small towns alike.


From "Arcturos" to "A Capella," "Leorie Vineyard" to "Red House" and "Black Star Farms" labels they all represent a distinction in the winemaking process and hold a certain integrity.


White Wine:

Arcturos Pinot Gris

Arcturos Sauvignon Blanc

Arcturos Pinot Blanc

Arcturos Grüner Veltliner

Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay

Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay

Arcturos Dry Riesling

Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling (One of the best fall wines).

Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling

Red House White

Isidor's Choice Pinot Grigio

Arcturos Gewurztraminer

Arcturos Chardonnay


Red Wine:

Arcturos Pinot Noir (One of my favorites especially when it is cold outside).

Arcturos Merlot

Arcturos Cabernet Franc

Vintners Select (Blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir).

Leorie Vineyard Merlot Cabernet Franc

Red House Red (A very delicious red blend goes with almost anything)

Artisan Red

Black Star Farms Pinot Noir


Rosé Wine:

Black Star Farms Red House Rosé (A great delicious value and perfect on it's own or with any grilled food).

Arcturos Pinot Noir Rosé (One of my favorites).

Arcturos Cabernet Franc Rosé (Another great choice unfortunately sold out).


Sparkling Wine:

Brut Cuvée (Dry blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio formed in the traditional French Champagne style).

BeDazzled (Versatile bubbly that can be enjoyed at any celebration and can pair with most foods and appetizers).

Delighted (A perfect date, this bubbly made from Frontenac Gris can be enjoyed at any occasion or celebration.  Sweet berry flavor forward notes that make it perfect for grilled food and desserts.

Blushed (Off-dry bubbly rosé made from 100% Pinot Noir and perfect for any occasion.  Enjoy with salads, appetizers, desert and even by itself.

Bubbly Nouveau (Young sparkling wine usually made in small batches from the same year).


Fruit Wine/Hard Cider:

Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cider

Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cherry Cider

Black Star Farms Pear Wine

Black Star Farms Cherry Wine


Dessert Wine:

Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling

Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine

Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine

Sirius Red Dessert Wine

Sirius Maple Dessert Wine

A Capella Ice Wine (Riesling).

Sirius White Dessert Wine


In Addition to wine they have spirits, which you can check out on their website or at their tasting rooms.


There is much more to do at Black Star Farms.  Indulge in some of their package deals and see what catches your eye.  I have yet to stay there but it's on my radar.


I should be visiting the VinBar in Ann Arbor soon.  Be on the lookout for a review.


Be on the lookout for my next post that will feature a Black Star Farms wine.  If you have tried any of their wines please let me know which ones you enjoyed.


Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week Jan 5, 2018 - Northern Lights Out

We all know winter means snow and cold, but what happens when the temperature reaches -8 and it feels like -25?  This is about the time when your alcohol actually freezes.  Regardless of the temperature "Northern Lights Out" from Garden Bay Winery hits the spot!  Not quite an iced wine, not quite a port, nor a dessert wine, this is the cold weather fruit wine.  This is what you drink when it is ice cold out to stay warm or just to give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside.


"Northern Lights Out" is made with blackberries and not fortified, which increases the alcohol content to 17%.  This wine is perfect after dinner, in the cold, or just chilled drinking on those warm summer evenings that we all are wishing for right now.  You'll taste the alcohol content in this wine and due to the higher content they sell it in a 375mL bottle.


The Garden Bay Winery is located at 11858 W US-2, Cooks, MI 49817 about 15 miles west of Manistique.  In October my wife and I visited the winery and tasting room on the way home from our Upper Peninsula trip.  It was quite the adventure that took us all the way to the bottom of the Garden Peninsula to find out the tasting room was actually off of US-2.  At the winery they have a fantastic selection of wine ranging from all types of fruit wine, light to full bodied reds, an array of whites that won't disappoint and they even have an iced wine.  The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming; they always have a story to share.  It is the off season now for the winery but they will resume operation on May 21.  You may be able to find their wines in select party stores in the UP and Northern LP.  Garden Bay Winery is a must if you are passing through the UP on US-2!


Howell's MainStreet Winery

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Howell's MainStreet Winery is a great place to stop in, enjoy a glass of wine, grab a delicious pizza and watch the hustle and bustle of Grand River Ave out of their window or on their outdoor seating area when the weather permits.


Located at 201 West Grand River Ave, Howell, MI 48843 right across from the historic Howell Opera House.  They offer almost every type of wine you could ask for from full-bodied reds to light-bodied reds, all of the whites from dry to sweet, fruit wines to delight along with a white, rose and red ice wine!  They aim to please everyone's taste, they even have beer for the non wine drinker in your life.


You can taste 4 free samples and each additional sample is $1.  If you just want a glass you can get that too.  If you really like that wine you can buy at bottle or case.  If you buy a bottle you can have a glass out of the bottle and the wonderful staff can re-cork the bottle for you to take home for later.  It's a good way to save money and wine!  If you want your own batch of wine, a batch is 28 bottles, the staff can set you up to make your own batch by starting the fermentation process waiting while the wine forms, bottling your creation and you can create custom labels for yourself or a special event like a wedding, anniversary or an office gala.  I am hoping to do this soon, it is on my bucket list for 2018.  Let's get into the different wines they make!


Wines Offered

As stated earlier Howell's MainStreet Winery has a wide variety of wines to please anyone's pallet.

White Wines:

City of Light - Piesporter                                 $12.99 bottle / $190 batch
A soft, easy drinking wine with delicate aromas of apple, pear, honey & elderflower.  Serve with salads or a light lunch.

Beethoven's Finest - Gewurztraminer      $14.99 bottle / $240 batch
A very distinctive wine with exotic, spicy almost perfumed characteristics.  Serve with spicy foods.

201 MainStreet - Chardonnay              $13.99 bottle / $225 batch
Big, ripe tropical fruit flavors with a rich, buttery - vanilla finish. Serve with salmon, grilled chicken or pasta in a cheese sauce.

Bella - Pinot Grigio                                $13.99 bottle/$225 batch
A crisp white with notes of citrus, almond & spice. Serve with pesto and salmon.

Spe Salvi - Sauvignon Blanc                        $14.99 bottle / $230 batch
Complex with aromas of herbs, pink grapefruit, fresh-cut grass, lime and passion fruit.  Serve with seafood, chicken or pork.

House White - Blend                                          $14.99 bottle / $230 batch
A rich, butttery bouquet with flavors of tropical fruit, vanilla and oak.  Serve with seafood with a butter sauce or pasta in a rich cream sauce.

Other whites are released seasonally like the Bianco which is a light Italian summery blend best with the hot days and warm humid evenings.

They also offer rieslings from dry, semi-dry and late harvest that are not shown on their website.

Red Wines:

MainStreet Rosay - White Merlot             $10.99 bottle / $185 batch
Fresh strawberries burst from this off-dry wine.  Serve with cheeseburgers, spicy food or picnic lunches.

Jazzy Red - Blend                                        $12.99 bottle / $215 batch
An easy drinking red, with plenty of character and charm.  Serve with barbequed red meats or pasta.

Village Cellar Red - Pinot Noir                     $18.99 bottle / $275 batch
Elegant and complex with aromas of cherries, smokey oak and spice.  Serve with vegetarian dishes.

Luna Rossa Italian Blend                         $13.99 bottle/ $235 batch
Big, bold and bountiful with loads of rich black fruits and oak, plenty of tannin and structure.  Serve with red meats or a hearty stew, also great with assorted meats and strong cheeses with bread & olive oil.

Opera House Select - Cabernet                       $16.99 bottle / $260 batch
Hearty and complex with flavors of black currants, cherry, oak, pepper and spice.  Serve with a grilled steak, lamb or grilled portobello mushrooms.

Amarone - Blend                                                     $18.99 bottle / $275 batch
A house favorite!  Deep ruby red with a spicy-earthy bittersweet finish, that lengthens on indefinitely from the huge volume of tannins.  Serve with a hearty roast or pasta with a rich meat sauce, also great with dark chocolate.

Currently for fall and winter they have a Thanksgiving Red which is almost like a beaujolais nouveau with a sweet lingering flavor to it.  Of course this wine is perfect for Thanksgiving or any holiday meal.  In addition to Thanksgiving Red, they also have a White Pinot Noir, as you may know pinot noir is a red grape so how can they make it white?  The grapes are taken out before the wine turns a gold color.  if you let it sit too long the wine will turn pink and become a rose.  Let that sit even longer and you have the classic red pinot noir.  The White Pinot Noir is much lighter and is a must for any stir-fry or spicy dish.  I particularly like it with snapper or Lake Superior Whitefish.

Sweet Fruit Wines:

First Sin - Apple Riesling                                         $12.99 bottle / $175 batch
A fresh and exciting with accented with notes of fresh apples.  Great with cheddar cheese.

That's Amore - Black Raspberry Merlot           $12.99 bottle / $175 batch
Merlot's fruit forward style accented by luscious black raspberries.

Very Blueberry - Blueberry Pinot Noir            $12.99 bottle / $175 batch
Juicy fruity flavors of blueberry dance on your palate.

VuDu - Pomegranate Red Zin                                  $12.99 bottle/ $175 batch
Sweet & earthy aromas of fresh, ripe pomegranate.

Summer seasonal fruit wine staple is the Melon Fest wine, made with melons it tastes like summer in a bottle.  Every August Howell hosts the Melon Festival, which draws people from all around to historic downtown Howell to enjoy melon everything, shopping, and even a carnival.  It is definitely a must do in the summer.  In August I'll feature the Melon Fest wine as my top pick of the week!

Since it is winter they have a cranberry wine, which is absolutely delicious and perfect for dessert.

Dessert Wine:

Sweet Decadence                                          $21.99 bottle
Rich and warm with flavors of fig and plum makes this a bold, distinctive dessert wine.  Serve with blue cheese and walnuts or cheesecake.

Frost Bite                                                       $21.99 bottle
An impressive dessert wine with notes of peach, honey and marmalade.  Served chilled with fresh fruit or creme brulee.

Red Frost                                                       $21.99 bottle
Intensely flavorful, sweet and rich, entices with irresistible aromas and flavors of ripe currants, notes of spice, honey, strawberry, tart rhubarb and cranberry.  Excellent paired with dark chocolate.

Thanks to Howell's MainStreet Winery's wine list page for descriptions of wines.  A description can get your mouth watering but you really have to go in and try out their fine selection of wine.


Visit The Winery

You can reach the winery by taking exit 137 on Interstate 96, drive north on D-19/Michigan Ave then turn left onto W. Grand River Ave, go one block and it's on the southwest corner of W. Grand River Ave and Walnut.  Come drop in and enjoy some wine and a handmade, brick oven pizza.  You may see me there, just look for the red hair or my golden retriever Bogey.


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