4 GRAND RAPIDS WINE SCENE
Many know Grand Rapids as a Beer City, but wine lovers know better. There is a burgeoning wine scene bubbling up within this Michigan city to the west.
9 DIRT TO GLASS
On August 24 and 25, Intentional Agriculture, in collaboration with Michigan State University AgBioResearch and Extension, will hold the second annual “Dirt to Glass” conference.
12 BARREL BEATS
Music plays a role in the production process at two Michigan wineries.
15 DIZZY DAISY
Dizzy Daisy Winery is an experimental vineyard serving up expertly handcrafted wine for patrons in Michigan’s emerging thumb area.
A meaty, savory element called “umami” adds body to a wine and creates a pleasant sensation relating to fullness.
21 BETWEEN THE VINES
Sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW shares her latest tasting notes on some of her favorite Michigan wines.
FROM THE EDITOR
History has much to teach us, but it is only as good as our memories, which is why we write things down. In this issue of the Michigan Uncorked, our contributors have written down (hopefully) interesting information for Michigan wine lovers.
Emily Dockery “travels” to Grand Rapids, which has a very vibrant and diverse wine scene. Whether you’re into intimate wine bars, curated wine and food pairings, classic vineyard experiences, or sounds to enjoy while heading to wine country, Grand Rapids has something for everyone. Also, don’t miss out on Jessica Zimmer’s article, which focuses on the second annual Dirt to Glass conference, which encourages all sides of the wine industry to collaborate on the goal of elevating the quality of Michigan wine. Jessica also writes about the concept of umami in wine, a little known, but “meaty” topic.
Cortney Casey shines the spotlight on music and how it is used in the production process in some Michigan wineries. And we welcome newcomer Mike Lerchenfeldt, who features Dizzy Daisy winery and vineyard in Michigan’s Thumb. Their experimental wines are handcrafted and ﬂavorful and they have a tasting room with a rustic, vintage aesthetic. And, as always, our very own inhouse sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW provides her special brand of tasting notes for select Michigan wines.
“Wine is the answer but I can’t remember the question.”
THE GRAND RAPIDS WINE SCENEMby Jessica Zimmer
any know Grand Rapids as a Beer City, but wine lovers know better. There is a burgeoning wine scene bubbling up within this Michigan city to the west. Nestled between southern Michigan and what many Michiganders consider ‘Up North’ and less than an hour from the state’s oldest AVA, Fennville, there is an ever expanding culture of wine waiting to be discovered in Grand Rapids. Whether you’re into intimate wine bars, curated wine and food pairings, classic vineyard experiences, or sounds to enjoy while heading to wine country, Grand Rapids has something for everyone. Here is a quick guide to some of the best Michigan wine stops and resources born and bred in the Grand Rapids wine community.
GRNoir is a unique space in the heart of the city where culture meets wine and everyone is welcome. Owners and founders, Shatawn and Nadia Brigham are committed to expanding the Michigan wine industry to new audiences in the Grand Rapids area and beyond. Recognized as the ﬁrst Black-owned wine and jazz bar in Grand Rapids,
GRNoir invites guests to indulge in local and international wines as well as live jazz performances, private tastings, special events, culinary treats, and more. In addition to an impressive wine list selected by Grand Rapids’ only Black male wine professional to achieve a level II Sommelier distinction, Shatawn Brigham. The local business is actively engaged in creating a more accessible wine industry in the state of Michigan as a whole.
Casual yet elegant, GRNoir is decked out in rich purple tones and gold accents that pair perfectly with their GRNoir Collection wines, the private label collaboration with the iconic Chateau Chantal winery on Old Mission Peninsula. The GRNoir Collection boasts both an exclusive Old Mission Peninsula Late Harvest Riesling and Semi-Sweet Red Blend which perfectly complement the velvet clad, aesthetically balanced, and perfectly sweet space. The wine bar also oﬀers a variety of other Michigan wines including, The DREAM, a beneﬁt wine that helps fund the Michigan Wine Collaborative’s Inclusion & Expansion Educational Fund. As founding members of the Michigan Wine Collaborative’s Inclusion & Expansion Committee, Nadia and Shatawn display their commitment to expanding wine culture and community in Grand Rapids by maintaining the priority of ensuring those historically excluded from wine are comfortable, welcomed, and encouraged to learn about wine at GRNoir. Swing by and enjoy the perfectly curated experiences oﬀered in this urban wine destination nestled centrally in the city at the corner of Division Ave and Weston St.
Forty Pearl was brought to life by Robert and Ed Brengman of Brengman Brothers Estate Winery at Crain Hill Vineyards on Leelanau Peninsula. The idea behind the urban wine bar is rooted in the goal of providing the Grand Rapids area with an opportunity to experience a hint of Northwest Michigan wine country without leaving the city. The location for Forty Pearl oﬀered an ideal solution for getting the award-winning wines of Brengman Brothers in front of an important wine loving market in the state. The wine list has since expanded to carry other Michigan wineries including Left Foot Charley, MAWBY and BOS Wine but also a selection of international producers. This unique wine bar combines a selection of intriguing local wines with creative food pairings lauded as a “Sensory Pure Michigan Experience.” Forty Pearl stays true to the farm to table concept, not only oﬀering decadent menu options made with locally sourced ingredients, but the wine, beer, and spirit lists oﬀer an incredible array of Michigan made items. Even better, the menu comes complete with pairing suggestions to guarantee a happy palate.
Celebrations, date nights, or even a casual evening out in downtown Grand Rapids requires inclusion of Forty Pearl, awardee of the 2023 Diners Choice designation given by Open Table. There is something for everyone at Forty Pearl, especially for those seeking an authentic Michigan made culinary and wine experience in the heart of Grand Rapids. The Brengmans have succeeded in bringing some of the culture of Leelanau Peninsula wine to Grand Rapids and have gone a step further by combining it with the allure of ﬁne yet rustic dining in an eﬀort to demonstrate to their guests the true potential and quality of Michigan made.
Stoney Ridge Vineyards
In 2012, Mary and Dale Flannery established the lush vineyards of Stoney Ridge Vineyards. Located on land referred to as “The Ridge,” the site chosen by Mary and Dale is considered ideal by many viticulturists. Unique topography and nutritious glacial soil lends its natural gifts to the magic of cool climate grape growing. Being 25 miles from Lake Michigan may not be typical for most Michigan vineyards but it still lends the gift of lake eﬀect to Stoney Ridge Vineyards. That lake eﬀect, along with the beneﬁcial loam soils and versatile topography, work together to produce high quality cool climate grapes for the estate-produced Stoney Ridge wines. Originally focusing on cold hardy varieties, Stoney Ridge is contributing to trailblazing the future of innovative new world wines but is also contributing to Michigan solidifying its role as a grower of world class vinifera. Stoney Ridge can do both. Their estate wines include varietals such as the new, trendy, crisp and citrusy Itasca to the classic bold, jammy red and Michigan favorite, Marquette among more classic grapes such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Syrah.
The hard work of establishing a vineyard and winery as well as launching a tasting room in the midst of a global pandemic is ﬁnally paying oﬀ for Mary and Dale. Stoney Ridge wines are being recognized in local competitions as well as national ones. Most recently Stoney Ridge earned ﬁve medals from the 2023 Michigan Governor’s Cup and six medals from the 2023 Finger Lakes International Wine and Spirits Competition. We asked Mary and Dale which wines they were most excited about right now in the tasting room. When you swing by the tasting room make sure to get a taste of:
Pinot Grigio/ Chardonnay | A refreshingly crisp and balanced white blend with a bright fruit proﬁle. Fresh pear, lime zest, and star fruit notes make this wine a perfect pairing with pasta and seafood.
2020 Estate Marquette | This single varietal dry red is aged in French oak barrels for 16 months. Medium bodied with notes of cherries, black currant, and blackberries, this wine oﬀers soft tannins, and a complex ﬁnish.
2019 Frick & Frack | Dry red blend of two estate grown grapes, 60% Marquette & 40% Petite Pearl. Aged in French oak barrels for 28 months. Medium bodied with intense aromas of cherries, blackberries, plum, and raspberry.
In addition to a pleasing vineyard vista, premium quality estate wines, and a classic tasting room experience, guests of Stoney Ridge Vineyards have the opportunity to indulge in an expertly curated menu created by their estate chef. The Kitchen at Stoney Ridge features weekly and daily specials, rustic wood ﬁred pizzas, and elegant wine dinners, all expertly prepared using fresh and bold ingredients.
Great wine and great food. What more could you ask for in an estate winery located just minutes from a lively downtown area? Stoney Ridge has even more to oﬀer! Check out their social media for events including live music, yoga in the vineyard, holiday celebrations, and more. Stoney Ridge is leading the way towards Grand Rapids wine country becoming more commonly recognized as a wine destination for Michigan wine lovers. Stoney Ridge is the perfect quick getaway for busy Grand Rapidians or for those headed north or west to Michigan wine country looking for a pit stop.
Music in the Bottle
Need something to listen to on your drive to Stoney Ridge or out to Michigan wine country? Add the Music in the Bottle podcast to your queue. Wine. Music. Culture. These three tenets are the driving force behind this podcast founded by Jamele Favorite and Darryl Matthews. While the podcast features a foundation in wine with several of its episodes centered around Michigan producers, listeners can also experience and learn about wines from all over the world while the hosts blend additional topics such as music, sports, pop culture, and more. They expertly pair wine talk with more accessible topics to introduce wine to new audiences.
Host Jamele Favorite has been putting down roots in the Michigan wine industry in more ways than one. Currently he is the marketing extraordinaire at Modales Wines. There, he runs the winery’s social media presence, manages communications, creates eye-catching content, and more. You can sometimes catch him in the tasting room too, which is a great opportunity to chat wine, music, and culture in person with the podcast host over a glass of the Michigan grown and award winning wines from Modales. It is clear the dedication and commitment the podcast has for the local Michigan wine industry. Music in the Bottle will soon be in production on their 2023 Michigan Governor’s Cup Series which will review some of the competition’s most highly rated wines as well as interview the people behind the creation of those wines.
We asked Jamele and Darryl some questions on the Grand Rapids’ wine scene, the importance of the Michigan wine industry, and how they are aﬀecting accessibility in a sometimes exclusive industry.
1.) What should people know about the Grand Rapids wine scene?
The Grand Rapids wine scene is one that people shouldn't sleep on. There are shops & wine bars focused on small producers locally and all over the world. There are some serious wine people in the city, but it's not serious in the sense of a wine snob. People are excited to share the knowledge they have and help you ﬁnd the right bottle of wine.
2.) Do you have any favorite wine spots in or near GR?
For wine bars, House of Wine & GRNoir Wine & Jazz! If you're looking for a shop to get a bottle, Leon & Son, The Crushed Grape, & Martha's Vineyard. A small restaurant, with baller owners and a baller wine list is Cafe Mamo!
3.) How does Music in the Bottle hope to aﬀect the local wine industry?
Music in the Bottle is all about making wine accessible. As far as the local industry goes, we're happy to showcase what's happening right in our state too. We've been lucky enough to try some great producers in the state already & enjoy using our platform to highlight their wines.
4.) How does Music in the Bottle work to make wine more accessible?
At the end of the day we're talking about fermented grapes. Yes, we know what goes into the process and we don't try and undermine any of that. What we strive to do is make drinking wine and learning about it more approachable. We have everyday conversations and drink wine while doing so. Wine is often viewed as boujee or pretentious so we've created a platform that changes those notions.
5.) How do you view the current state of the Michigan wine industry? Thoughts on the future?
The Michigan wine industry is in a good spot. People are starting to take Michigan wine seriously and producers really are making dope juice. One of our favorites is Modales in Fennville. Winemakers are really focusing on terroir and making wines from grape varieties that best represent that location. People who are hesitant when it comes to Michigan wine are usually the people who only drink wines from one certain region and don't realize how climate really impacts the wine. The future is bright and as the saying goes, "It takes a village.” The more we all support what's happening here, the better oﬀ the Michigan wine industry will be.
You can stream Music in the Bottle on major music streaming platforms and keep up with the hosts on social media. Find them on Instagram at @musicinthebottlepodcast. New episodes are dropped weekly and an archive of previous productions are available wherever you stream. Stay tuned for the upcoming Michigan Governor’s Cup Series!
Whether you are local to the Grand Rapids area or passing through on your way to Michigan wine country, these spots and resources are an essential experience for all Michigan wine lovers and supporters. Grand Rapids enjoys the gift of geography as it is centrally located for many people passing through the state and also oﬀering stellar vibes for locals who are passionate about local craft beverages, looking for a night on the town, and seeking opportunities to learn about Michigan’s impressive wine industry and culture behind it. So take notice and get Grand Rapids on your Michigan wine destination list!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Dockery is the Executive Director for the Michigan Wine Collaborative, http://michiganwinecollaborative.com/. She also co-chair of the Inclusion & Expansion Committee and has extensive experience in the retail wine sales industry and is a graduate of the Lake Michigan College enology and viticulture program.
Second Annual “Dirt to Glass” Conference Welcomes Growers and Winemakersby Jessica Zimmer
On August 24 and 25, Intentional Agriculture, in collaboration with Michigan State University AgBioResearch and Extension, will hold the second annual Dirt to Glass (DTG) conference to educate and celebrate Michigan agricultural researchers, growers, and winemakers.
DTG will take place at Kirkbride Hall in Traverse City, drawing approximately 165 participants from wineries, growers’ groups, and universities throughout the state.
“This year’s conference will start to add economics into the topics of farming and winemaking. Everyone wants to run their business more eﬃciently and economically. We oﬀered a more diverse range of topics this year, pulling away from only orienting topics toward growers,” said Taylor Simpson, co-owner of Simpson Family Estates in Lake Leelanau.
Simpson, who served on the planning committee for this year’s conference, said DTG encourages all sides of the wine industry to collaborate on the goal of elevating the quality of Michigan wine.
“Dirt to Glass is a starting point for us all to think bigger and ask ourselves, “What more can we do together?” ” said Simpson. Andy Fles, vineyard and facilities manager for Shady Lane Cellars in Suttons Bay, said one of the more popular components of the conference is the formal wine tasting.
“It gives winemakers a chance to show oﬀ the terroir and work behind the wines. The second day of the conference covered soil proﬁles, the science of ecology and soil chemistry. Next year, I’m interested in seeing Dirt to Glass delve even deeper into soil health. (I’d like to) discuss speciﬁc cover crops relevant to our region, the management of them, and their role in helping soil remain healthy,” said Fles.
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Paolo Sabbatini, professor of horticulture at Michigan State University, served as a member of the executive committee that organized DTG.
He said loss of soil fertility is related to climate change and improper soil vineyard management.
“The growing season is getting longer and warmer. It’s diﬀerent from 20 years ago. We have successfully determined the suitable grape varieties to cultivate in these speciﬁc temperature conditions. Our current focus lies in understanding the optimal strategies to correlate soil health with fruit quality,” said Sabbatini.
The Michigan wine industry, which took oﬀ in the 1970s, went through a long period of trial and error. Growers worked hard to determine which varieties grew best during the relatively short growing season.
“In the 1990s, the industry started focusing on speciﬁc varieties and techniques. Yet for decades, growers only discussed weather and soil in relation to winter,” said Sabbatini.
Some winters were too cold for certain wines. MSU and growers’ groups were focused on the application techniques that helped vineyards to overcome damaging winters. When growers started noticing the gradual warming trend, they began planting vinifera varieties that would grow well in warmer conditions.
DTG is now helping shift the conversation from growing grapes to producing excellent wines.
“The quality of the soil is the foundation upon which great grapes are grown. Well-maintained soil is key to unlocking the true potential of vineyards and crafting wines of exceptional character and complexity,” said Sabbatini.
The DTG initiative aims to educate the wine industry. The goal is for growers to select and plant speciﬁc wine grape varieties that perform well in the diverse types of soil. A deliberate pairing of varieties and soils will yield distinct fruit characteristics that oﬀer a wide range of ﬂavor proﬁles and wine styles.
Sabbatini added the DTG’s exploration of the science behind wine grape cultivation has attracted the interest and collaboration of irrigation and composting companies. The companies want to contribute by oﬀering specialized products and technologies that have been proven to enhance soil health and fertility.
“By fostering partnerships between DTG and these companies, we can eﬀectively share knowledge and resources. The idea is to support the advancement of sustainable and high-quality grape production practices,” said Sabbatini.
Joe Herman, owner of Karma Vista Vineyards & Winery in Coloma, served on the planning committee for this year’s conference. He sees Dirt to Glass as an excellent way to “mingle and cross-pollinate” between Michigan’s northwest and southwest wine growing regions. and resources. The idea is to support the advancement of sustainable and high-quality grape production practices,” said Sabbatini.
“We need to learn from each other. For decades, we looked to California for tips. But they’re in a dry environment where they need to irrigate their ﬁelds. We were taking lessons from the wrong place,” said Herman. “Michigan’s problem is too much water.”
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“We can’t turn it oﬀ. We need to learn how to deal with mildew and humidity, to keep the grapes we have in good condition,” said Herman.
Amanda Danielson, owner of Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, represents Intentional Agriculture on the DTG executive committee. She said having the ﬁrst day focus on discussions and the second day devoted to talks in the ﬁeld worked out well for a second time.
“We’ve learned there’s a tremendous need for academics and growers to come together and share what eﬀorts maximize the ﬁnancial investment and labor growers put in. We’re also pulling away from the idea that quantity is the most important thing,” said Danielson.
The majority of Michigan wines are sold in tasting rooms rather than through distributors. Danielson said it’s time for Michigan wines to be recognized as excellent and growers and winemakers to steer eﬀorts in that direction.
“Dirt to Glass helps more people develop the tools to push the envelope. This state has so many quality growers and so much potential. Events like this help everyone - agricultural experts, growers, and winemakers - understand what we’re capable of and that it begins with farming,” said Danielson.
Funding for Dirt to Glass came in part from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, through a grant from the Michigan Craft Beverage Council. Sponsors included AEB Group, Silveus Crop Insurance, Custom Stems in Traverse City, IRA Craft, and Intentional Agriculture.
The conference is supported by participant registration fees, grants, sponsorships, and MSU.
“Next year, we’d like to invite more vendors to build seed money for the 2025 conference. Eventually we hope to oﬀer scholarships for certain participants to attend the event. This could even segue into internships, to increase the labor pool for the Michigan wine industry,” said Danielson.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Zimmer is a wine writer based in northern California. She is also a California, Florida, and New York-licensed attorney. She enjoys learning about the geology and growing seasons of different appellations.
Michigan’s problem is too much water.
BARREL BEATSBY CORTNEY
Studies claim that playing music for babies in the womb improves brain development. But what if the baby is nascent wine, and the womb is a barrel or tank?
David and Mary Lou Butkovich, owners of Cody Kresta Vineyard & Winery, began to ask themselves that after visiting Il Paradiso di Frassina, a winery nestled amid the hills of Montalcino, in Italy’s Tuscany region.
There, the winemakers play Mozart both in the vineyard where their Sangiovese grapes grow, and in the cellar, where barrels of wines age and await their time to shine. According to the Il Paradiso marketing materials, studies from the University of Florence and Pisa and an agricultural
research facility in Arezzo support the idea that musical frequencies positively impact vine growth. That revelation prompted them to install a hundred speakers on their property, sponsored by audio system giant Bose.
The Butkoviches say they were intrigued to learn about this phenomenon during their visit, and began pondering how they could implement a similar program at home.
“So if sound vibrations/frequencies support plant growth we questioned: “Would it potentially assist in a positive way on how wine develops?” David Butkovich says. “We intuitively decided to give it a try.”
For the last ﬁve years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the barrels at Cody Kresta have been serenaded by a special playlist comprising Mozart and selections from the Listening Program, a neuroscience-based music therapy program for optimum brain development. Mary Lou Butkovich trained in the Listening Program and used it extensively in her practice over three decades as a speech/language pathologist for special needs preschoolers.
David sees it as just another tool in the viniﬁcation process to help ensure his wines meet their full potential.
“There are so many decisions that go into the nurturing of the wine in the barrel room — the role of climate, oxygen, barrel selection, etc. — to help the wine achieve its full potential,” he says. “The choices are deﬁnitely a fusion of science and art.”
And while David says he’s seen no scientiﬁc evidence thus far on whether music played to barrels of aging wine versus the actual vines has an impact, he’s been pleased with the results coming out of his cellar.
“Although the science may still be out on this,” he says, “we believe that our wines are deﬁnitely beneﬁtting by being surrounded by the energy of this beautiful music.”
And it isn’t just the barrels getting musical exposure these days at Cody Kresta: When the Butkoviches recently constructed the winery’s outdoor bar, they opted to install a high-quality speaker system audible both in the tasting room and out on their patio. The feedback from guests, they say, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We know that music has a very signiﬁcant eﬀect on us humans,” says Mary Lou. “The wine, the music, and the ambience of place all come together to create a magical experience.”
Music is similarly integral to life at Left Foot Charley (LFC) in Traverse City — and has been since the winery’s beginnings.
“We always have music playing,” says Bryan Ulbrich, the winery’s owner and winemaker — or, as he phrases it, winery sherpa. But early on, I felt that playing music all night during fermentations lent a sense of calm to all the bubbling life around the winery.”
“Music makes everything better in our lives,” he adds. “Why wouldn’t the resonance pass through a liquid? The mathematical relationships between frequencies and the pulses impact everything they collide with in some fashion. It vibrates the wine.”
When it comes to selecting pre-recorded music, Ulbrich says “nothing is oﬀ-limits.”
“Certain situations call for diﬀerent vibes,” he explains. “Classical is great for quiet evenings, when no one is around but the yeast. I like de-stemming Blaufränkisch to South American beats. Bright and spicy fruit like Kerner goes well with Afrobeat. The good ol’ Grateful Dead is great for pressing big lots, where there’s plenty of time for long jams.”
LFC’s wines even get treated to live music on a regular basis, as the winery regularly hosts open mic nights and acoustic performances. In fact, long before he headed to Nashville, well-known bluegrass guitarist Billy Strings used to enjoy Left Foot Charley as a performance venue, Ulbrich says.
“He liked to play into our empty tanks because the reverb was so unique,” Ulbrich explains. “Once on stage, his energy lit the place. I know the wines responded to the crazy energy in the winery — both from the music and the peoples’ rowdy reaction. I think live music is very important for wine. It’s a subtle vibration that stirs the lees at some minute level.”
In recent days, music has even crept into Left Foot Charley’s labeling. The winery’s latest lineup of single-vineyard Blaufränkisch features a diﬀerent sound wave on each bottle, meant to be indicative of the wine within’s character. The images represent a sound made by a sitar for the MacDonald Vineyard; a Tibetan singing bowl for the Keenan Vineyard and tabla drums for the Swanson Vineyard.
“I wanted to visually depict the progression of the palate ﬂavors and sensations in three diﬀerent vineyards of Blaufränkisch,” Ulbrich explains. “Each sound wave has a diﬀerent attack, resonance, dynamic and a diﬀerent timbre. They really reﬂect the way these wines hit your senses.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cortney Casey is a certiﬁed sommelier and co-founder of MichiganByTheBottle.com, a website and online community that promotes the entire Michigan wine industry. She’s also co-owner of Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room, tasting rooms operated in partnership with multiple Michigan wineries, located in Shelby Township, Royal Oak and Auburn Hills. Contact her at email@example.com.
Dizzy DaisyBy Mike Lerchenfeldt
Founded by Harold Kociba, Dizzy Daisy Winery is an outstanding experimental vineyard serving up expertly handcrafted, robustly ﬂavorful experiences for patrons in Michigan’s emerging thumb area, one of pure Michigan’s popular and hottest camping, leisure, travel and vacation destinations.
Located at 1288 Crown Rd. in a historic farm along with vineyards, this nostalgic winery and tasting room sits right across the street from the vast, productive ﬁelds of Michigan’s thumb area, making it an attractive birthday, anniversary, or weekend gathering spot for residents and vacationers alike.
Kociba is the nose and award-winning vintner, drawing on a background in dairy farming and grape growing. What started as a hobby and retirement project eventually became a business for him. Since its opening in 2006, the 1,200-square-foot former dairy space was transformed into its oﬃcial location for the wine production and barrel storage.
The stylishly renovated 275-square-foot tasting room features the furnished outdoor patio. Adorned with a striking contrast of sea foam green wall paint and barn wood trim accents, the heavy, 18-foot-long oak bar and lighting give the tasting room a cozy, rustic, vintage aesthetic. It is ﬁlled with wide, comfy bar stools that beckon customers to stay and relax for a while.
“Our mission is to provide the best quality wines for our customers,” says Theresa Byrne, Dizzy Daisy Winery manager. “All of our grapes and fruits are handpicked, and hand sorted.”
Byrne says that customers love the tasting room’s cozy concept, unique and intimate vibe, as well as the winery’s innovative, wideranging menu featuring tasty, creative twists on classic wines available by-the-glass in addition to a brief list of cool craft hard ciders.
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rstcome, ﬁrst-served basis, although reservations are available for parties of six or more.
Byrne says their excellent winemaking program comes from an experienced, passionate, talented, and trusted family who runs their farming estate with pride. The by-the-glass menu is ﬂexible, allowing regular customers to experience diﬀerent ﬂavor proﬁles of wines. And all the wine is very food friendly. Wine menus are available at dizzydaisywinery.com
Treat yourself to a unique, farm experience and the ﬂavors of the season with one of their four best-selling wines. You’ll certainly ﬁnd wine to tickle your fancy – and discover Michigan thumb’s rural charm – at Dizzy Daisy’s Winery.
Byrne says their Strawberry fruit wine is slightly sweet and delicious like the strawberry jam grandma used to make. Made primarily from strawberries, this type of wine has a refreshingly light, medium bodied, and fruity ﬂavor proﬁle with distinct strawberry aromas. The strawberries give the wine a very complex, balanced, and rounded ﬂavor. Byrne says the Kociba farm has produced strawberries for decades, and it seems logical that this wine has become one of their most popular wines. This wine also has complex notes of raspberries and cherries as well as hints of ﬂoral and herbaceous notes. Serve heavily chilled and enjoy with salads and dark chocolate.
This intriguing type of fruit wine is made primarily with black currants, a type of small, dark purple berries known for their richly tart-yet-sweet, deeply intense, and clean fruity ﬂavor. It is a very complex, medium bodied wine that is perfectly balanced, pairing well with most meats. This wine contains a unique aroma of rich tropical fruit and intense black currant. Byrne says the creation of Black Currant is due partly to Kociba’s Polish background since this fruit is widely cultivated in Poland, Germany, France, and Russia.
Bad Axe Passion
The ﬂavor notes of concentrated mango, zesty citrus and tropical fruits are dominated by passion fruit, which adds a distinct sweetness to round the overall exotic and fruity proﬁle, while the citrusy undertones provide a refreshing acidity and balance to this white wine making it easy to drink. This wine is not overly sweet. Byrne says if a customer likes Moscato, this rejuvenating wine could become their new favorite. Bad Axe Passion is named after the town where the vineyard exists.
The Double Dare has explosive notes and aromas of luscious blackberries and ripe dark plums. This nottoo-sweet, light red wine has a balanced fruity and juicy proﬁle. The robust plum ﬂavor contributes to the wine’s depth and complexity. Double Dare is on the lighter side in terms of the broader selection of red wines and deﬁes people’s perceptions of what type of wine to drink with a steak. It is a blended wine with plenty of aging potential. It is aged in oak barrels which gives it a subtle oak hint. Byrne says it is called Double Dare since it was originally made with two of the best growing grapes in the vineyard.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Lerchenfeldt is a Metro Detroit-based freelance writer and English/language arts teacher. He loves biking, running and walking. He has traveled to Japan and New Zealand through teacher exchange programs.
UMAMIBy Jessica Zimmer
Ameaty, savory element called “umami” adds body to a wine and creates a pleasant sensation relating to fullness. Wines with the umami element pair well with smoked and spiced dishes, including stews, poultry, and dried fruits. The silky, rich quality of umami is present in soy sauce and Parmesan cheese.
“I believe there are savory components to most wines, certainly all reds — earthy richness, animal fat, roasted meats. They are normally covered up by fruit extract, what I call baby fat. As the baby fat falls oﬀ a wine in the cellar, in some wines with excellent vineyard sourcing and terroir… umami notes emerge,” said Hagen.
Many winemakers view umami as a sixth element, after acid, complexity, fruit, ﬁnish, and intensity.
The best way to experience umami is to cook a cultivated mushroom like a shiitake mushroom, according to Timothy Hanni, a professionally trained chef and Master of Wine based in Sonoma County. The deep taste is created by the conversion of glutamic acid to free glutamate.
Umami can be developed by growing a wine in a rare terroir that produces the element. Patience in cellaring also helps, said Wes Hagen, estate host and head of wine sales and wine education for Native9 and Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines in Santa Maria, California.
Hagen added fully mature dry wines and wines with some sweetness are deﬁned by their umami and earthiness.
Umami tends to be observable in concentrated, jammy, sometimes bitter, and extremely complex wines. Wines with umami tend to be fuller-bodied than the average wine, according to Adam Edmonsond, the general manager and senior sommelier of The Sommelier Company, a provider of independent wine and spirits expertise.
Well-known wines that exhibit umami include well-aged Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhone Valley in France, Shiraz from Australia’s Barossa Valley, and Amarone della Valpolicella, made near Verona, Italy. For the Amarone,
umami comes from raisination, a specialized process that involves drying some of the grapes prior to winemaking. Raisination concentrates ﬂavors from the grapes and contributing new ﬂavors. The raisinated juice is then blended with juice from non-dried grapes before being made into wine.
Tips for winemaking
Amateur winemakers and professional winemakers working with small batches can create umami by choosing grapes known to create this quality. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsaut, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, red Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah grapes can work. Generally, red wines tend to have more umami than white wines.
White grapes can also create umami. For example, blends containing Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Blanc grapes exhibit umami.
Hiba Salloum, owner and winemaker at Umami Wine in Kherbet Kanafar, Lebanon, favors two white grape varieties that are native to Lebanon. These are Obeidi, also known as
Obaideh or Obeidy, which some believe to be a local clone of Chardonnay, and Merwah, an ancient vine of Phoenician origin related to Semillon.
A winemaker should not use overripe grapes. After pressing, they should look for a Brix of between 21 and 22.5 for red grapes and between 22 and 23.5 for white grapes, said Hagen. He also recommended using a feral or indigenous yeast.
A winemaker can use oak, French, American, Eastern European, or Hungarian, in a variety of formats and sources and at diﬀerent stages of the winemaking process. Hagen recommends using toasted French oak barrels and whole-cluster fermentation where practicable in reds. Oak characteristics are meant to enhance the wine and add dimension, as if adding a spice, said Kristin Belair, director of wine growing and sustainability for Honig Vineyard & Winery in Rutherford, California.
“It can be helpful to inquire about the viniﬁcation and aging processes and how these relate to what you are trying to achieve in your own wine,” said Belair.
Dr. Anita Oberholster, specialist in cooperative extension in
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enology at the University of California, Davis, said the yeast lees in an aged Chardonnay barrel can help a white wine develop umami. For champagne, a second fermentation in the bottle, which allows longer contact with the lees, creates umami.
“Be careful, because lees can turn on you. Stir that lees every day. Sniﬀ it to make sure it’s not getting an oﬀ ﬂavor,” said Oberholster.
Adding aging time to the wine can also help. Hagen has held wines for two years after extended barrel treatment. This allows the wines to settle into their quality.
As a winemaker works, they should keep careful notes about their process, including tasting notes and lab results. This will help them reﬁne their craft from vintage to vintage.
“Some best practices include making sure your barrels are topped up regularly, having temperature controlled storage conditions, and regularly tasting and monitoring SO2 levels. If you are thinking about blending, make a small trial blend of a few 100ml to see how it tastes prior to putting a larger blend together,” said Belair.
Pairing umami wines with food
Wines with umami go well with a wide variety of dishes, from seafood such as oysters to hard cheeses.
Recommended pairings include cold cuts and smoked meat for red wines with umami, ﬁsh and vegetable gratin dishes for white wines with umami, and grilled chicken or duck breasts and Niçoise salad for rosé wines with umami.
Hagen encourages matching a fully mature Chardonnay that
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Cabernet reduction and scalloped potatoes with Brie.
Oberholster’s favorites include Parmesan cheese with an aged Chardonnay and prosciutto with tomato with a crisp German Riesling.
Hanni warned that foods with a high intensity of umami, including asparagus and ripe tomatoes, make any wine seem more bitter, acidic, and sour.
Umami is becoming a more widely discussed topic in the wine industry. In the next few years, it is likely that more winemakers will share the work that has gone into their bottles. Edmonsond said he would like to see more wineries capture umami in their wines, as it is a part of the ﬂavor spectrum that happens to be rare.
Oberholster said she hopes to develop sensory studies to understand how umami presents itself uniquely in diﬀerent varieties of wine. She would like to work with the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis to share the information with the public.
Oberholster added umami is hard to describe on its own.
“That’s because umami impacts sweetness and bitterness. When we’re able to draw out umami, like showing its subtle gradation between diﬀerent Chardonnays, we can share that with winemakers. This will help them create the best wines from the grapes they use,” said Oberholster.
Jessica Zimmer is a news reporter, attorney, and educator based in northern California. She has worked in journalism for over 20 years. She covers a wide variety of industries, including alcoholic beverage production, transportation, law, and the arts.
Between the Vines
This beau<fully cra=ed Itasca (white hybrid grape with Frontenac Gris as a parent) opens with aromas of fresh squeezed citrus and honeycomb. Nicely balanced and vibrant as fresh pears, Meyer lemon, quince paste, and casaba melon enliven the palate. Stylish and lively through the sa<sfying ﬁnish. SRP: $25 | Food pairing: Grilled chicken with melon/cucumber/red onion salsa | www.youngbloodvineyard.com
Youngblood Winery | 2021 MarqueTe, Michigan
A cap<va<ng aroma draws you into the glass. Deligh<ng the palate are layers of boysenberry, hints of tobacco, plum, and black currant jam, and an ideal level of acidity balancing the rich fruit. A thread of spiciness adds depth from the ﬁrst sip to the lingering last one. SRP: $28 | Food pairing: Blackened snapper www.youngbloodvineyard.com
Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyard | 2021 Ar<st Series Pinot Noir, Leelanau Peninsula
Fresh picked cherries and earthy scents are en<cing. Graceful on the palate with well-deﬁned ﬂavors of red raspberries, Sweetheart cherries, earthiness, a pinch of herbs, and nicely managed oak spice from French oak barrel aging. Silky smooth with a touch of Sunkist orange on the las<ng ﬁnish. SRP: $40 | Food pairing: Portobello mushroom gra<n | www.brengmanbrothers.com
Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyard | 2021 Gary’s Reserve Gewürztraminer, Leelanau Peninsula
A beau<ful expression of Gewürz here, star<ng with the fragrant jasmine aroma<c. Coa<ng the mouth are ﬂavors of lychee, ginger snaps, a hint of grilled pineapple, and candied grapefruit peel. Lush with ﬁne balancing acidity steering the wine to a persistent ﬁnish. SRP: $32 | Food pairing: Tuna tartare | www.brengmanbrothers.com
Good Harbor Vineyards | 2022 Unoaked Chardonnay, Leelanau Peninsula
The mouthwatering aroma gets the juices ﬂowing. Burs<ng with succulence on the palate, the purity of fruit shines with citrus-laced Granny Smith apples, pomelo, and lemon mint <sane. Brisk acidity transports the wine on a delicious ride to the exhilara<ng ﬁnish. SRP: $17 | Food pairing: California sushi rolls | www.goodharbor.com
Good Harbor Vineyards | 2022 Tocai Friulano, Leelanau Peninsula
The lip-smacking aroma is intriguing at ﬁrst swirl. A grape more widely grown in northeastern Italy, this one from Michigan is highly impressive. Medium bodied, lively and dry, it showcases crisp pears, grapefruit, ﬂorals, lemon verbena, crushed green peppercorns and minerality, and ends with a bright ﬁnale. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Stuﬀed ar<chokes | www.goodharbor.com
Good Harbor Vineyards | 2020 Pinot Noir/Zweigelt, Leelanau Peninsula
Zweigelt (a cross of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, widely grown in Austria) makes up 60% of this fascina<ng blend. It boasts a rosebud and cherry aroma that leads to a mouthful of deliciousness. Santa Rosa plums, Lapin cherries, crushed pink peppercorns, and a whisper of vanilla ﬂoat elegantly across the palate to a lively ﬁnish. SRP: $45 | Food pairing: Duck pappardelle pasta | www.goodharbor.com
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Aurora Cellars | 2021 Dry Riesling , Leelanau Peninsula
Scents of delicate white ﬂowers and river rocks lead to a palate brimming with fresh summer peaches, McIntosh apples, citrus blossom, lemon-lime ice, and a touch of kiwi. Lean and minerally with brisk acidity and hints of lemon zest on the perky ﬁnish. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Seafood boil | www.auroracellars.com
Aurora Cellars | 2022 Pinot Noir Rosé, Leelanau Peninsula
Red fruits on the nose explode like luminous ﬁreworks on the palate. Strawberries, raspberries and red cherries swirl with hints of blood orange and watermelon. Sleek and refreshing as it traverses the palate from the ﬁrst vivid sip to the glowing last swallow. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Strawberry/ spinach/goat cheese salad | www.auroracellars.com
Aurora Cellars | 2022 Sauvignon Blanc, Leelanau Peninsula
The expressive citrusy aroma awakens the senses. The wine is vivacious on the palate as grapefruit, gooseberries, Meyer lemon and a hint of salinity meld seamlessly. Brisk acidity is ever present, and underlying herbaceousness lingers through the thirst-quenching ﬁnish. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Lemon buTer baked haddock | www.auroracellars.com
St. Julian | 2020 Braganini Reserve Blaufränkisch, Lake Michigan Shore
This velvety smooth dry red struts forth with a conﬁdent, juicy black fruit aroma. Rich with an ideal level of acidity maintaining balance, it oozes warm olallieberry pie, fresh blackberries and a touch of spice, and the long ﬁnish oﬀers a heavenly note of melted dark chocolate. SRP: $24.99 | Food pairing: Tradi<onal lamb stew | www.stjulian.com
Blustone Vineyards | 2021 BLU Sparkling Riesling , Leelanau Peninsula
This fresh, lustrous sparkling Riesling dances on the tongue with its delighjul eﬀervescence. Bright and ﬂavorful with elements of Honeycrisp apple, Bosc pear, honeysuckle, a note of oyster shell salinity, and a generous twist of lime that lingers on the ﬁnal sip. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Smoked salmon and caper canapés | www.blustonevineyards.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Landis, CS, CSW, is a published wine writer, certified sommelier, wine educator and professional wine judge. She spent four years as a sommelier at the Ritz Carlton and sixteen years as Wine Director/Sommelier at the award winning boutique hotel she and her husband built and operated in Half Moon Bay, CA. They recently sold the hotel to devote more time to the world of wine. Contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org
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