Shawn Walters, winemaker for Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery and recent winner of 8 gold medals at the 31st annual Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition was interviewed by AppellationAmerica.com and discusses winemaking in Northern Michigan.
Within the last year, six new wineries opened in Michigan, bringing the state total to 56. One of the six, Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery, is already making headlines. Winemaker Shawn Walters, 38, a northern Michigan native with farming in his ancestry, made gold medal winning wines for Longview Winery on Leelanau Peninsula before taking the helm at Forty-Five North.
The winery name is derived from its location on the 45th Parallel North, in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula. Its success comes from the heart of owner Steven Grossnickle, an Indiana ophthalmologist and Lasik surgeon who purchased a former 100-acre cherry farm near Lake Leelanau in 2006. Grossnickleâ€™s vision of establishing a winery amid the northern Michigan landscape he loves seems to be taking shape.
In four truckloads, Grossnickle moved a 120-year-old barn from Kent County, Mich., in the western part of the state, and is reassembling it for Forty-Five Northâ€™s tasting room. Recent statistics reveal that more people learn about the wines that they ultimately purchase from positive experiences in a tasting room. Thatâ€™s Grossnickleâ€™s plan, backed up by the winemaking of Shawn Walters. Our conversation with Walters reveals the whole story.