Spring is a beautiful time on the Old Mission Peninsula, a season filled with anticipation of the new vintage releases and summer season to come. Visitors can enjoy all the beauty of the peninsula without the crowds, taking things at a slower pace. We recently had a chance to chat with the nine distinct wineries along the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula® wine trail to learn about the new releases coming soon. Here’s a sneak peek:
Headed north on M-37, the first stop on the Old Mission Peninsula is Black Star Farms where new releases are fresh and bright, ready for a spring palate. New releases include the 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, as well as the 2015 Pinot Gris, and the 2015 Semi-Dry Riesling will be released soon. These wines are optimal to enjoy now and will be perfect for early summer drinking. There are also new spirits from the Black Star Farms distillation program being released after being sold out for more than six months. Look for the Spirit of Honey and Red Grappa in their spirits' section.
The next stop, and the newest winery on the peninsula, Mari Vineyards is excited to share their growing menu. Known for creating traditional Italian-style red and white wines that are stored and aged in underground caverns, this spring they are bottling their Malvasia Bianca, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc as well as Bianco and several Rieslings. In addition, they will be releasing several reds including the 2012 Bel Tramonto and the infamous Row 7, 2013 vintage. Mark your calendar for mid-June for the One Year Anniversary event at Mari Vineyards.
Continuing along the peninsula, Hawthorne Vineyards is the next stop. Easier to find this year as they officially welcome guests at their new entrance off Center Road via Montague Road. Enjoy the drive through the vineyard as you arrive at the tasting room. This spring they are releasing the 2015 Barrel Reserve Chardonnay, their flagship wine.
The next winery along this beautiful drive is Peninsula Cellars, where they are excited to welcome back several of their single varietal wines including Semi-Dry Riesling, Dry Riesling, Late Harvest Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Blanc…just to name a few! A stop at Peninsula Cellars isn’t complete without a few minutes to enjoy the patio. And, rumor has it there may be a surprise cellar sample from the winemaker during the upcoming Blossom Day event next month.
Further north at Chateau Grand Traverse they are getting ready to announce the return of the CGT Eclectic series. It is anticipated that their specialty wines will make an appearance in June. These wines include the 2016 Whole Cluster Riesling, the 2016 Ship of Fools, and the 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé. And, two new labels will be introduced under the CGT Eclectic brand including a Grüner Veltliner and a Riesling. Stay tune for updates!
Head into the village of Mapleton where you can discover The Secret Garden at Brys Estate. Opening in May, this 12-acre agricultural oasis with lavender, strawberry and blueberry fields, as well as a farmhouse inspired gift shop, is just one of the reasons to visit the vineyard and winery. Another reason is the return of the Pinot Noir/Riesling, a fan favorite that has been unavailable for the last two years. In addition, the Naked Chardonnay also returns this spring.
The next stop on the tour of the Old Mission Peninsula offers panoramic views of Lake Michigan’s historic Bower’s Harbor. The 43-acre estate, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, is pleased to announce the return of their number one seller, the 2016 Pinot Grigio with its’ tropical, pineapple, grapefruit and citrus flavors it’s perfect for warmer weather. In addition, Bowers Harbor is also releasing a 2016 Rosé Pinot Noir, a 2016 Riesling Block II – their most awarded Riesling; and 2016 Unwooded Chardonnay.
Heading even further north a stop into Chateau Chantal is a must! Learn about the 2016 releases from the warmest vintage on record! A delicious Pinot Blanc is soon to hit the shelves as well as the Pinot Noir that has been out on a long hiatus. In addition, three of the rooms at the Inn at Chateau Chantal have been renovated. French School, Behrens, and Cezanne are all part of the new ‘French Chateau’ look at the B&B.
Finish the tour at 2 Lads Winery where you can sample the first wines from their 2016 vintage, and additional wine made with fruit grown on the Old Mission Peninsula. They also have two great selections from 2015 that have reached perfection and are ready to enjoy, including the 2015 Sparkling Rosé. Other must-try favorites are the 2016 Pinot Grigio, the 2016 Riesling 2L Vineyard, the 2016 Riesling Fouch Vineyard, the 2016 Pinot Noir and the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.
If a wine tour isn't enough and you need another reason to visit the peninsula you can join the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula during the annual Blossom Day celebration, Saturday, May 13. The day is dedicated to the beauty, blossom and bounty of the peninsula. Relish samples of the newest vintages, seasonal food and wine pairings, and other activities like winemaker chats and operations tours. Tickets, available online, are $25 in advance and $30 day of the event.
For more information on the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and the upcoming events visit WineriesofOMP.com.