A descendant of the Woolsey family, a clan that dates to the mid-1800s in the Northport area, Carlson and his wife Patti raised their family and decided it was time for a change from big-city life. Growing grapes and making wine in the land of his forefathers became the couple’s new passion.
“I’ve been coming up here all my life,” Carlson said. “We decided we wanted to do something else with our lives.”
The Carlsons started growing grapes four years ago, and in September opened Silver Leaf Vineyard and Winery north of Suttons Bay. It’s among scores of new wineries and vineyards sprouting up across Michigan; the state’s burgeoning grape and wine industry shows no signs of dying on the vine.
Despite tough economic times in Michigan, state wine production and sales continue to grow. Michigan is now home to 65 commercial wineries, compared to 17 in 1995. Wine production in the state passed 1 million gallons for the first time in 2007, up almost 50 percent from 2004.
“We had a very successful fall,” said Carlson. “From the day we opened, it was great.”
Continue reading “State wine-making spreading” in the Traverse City Record Eagle