In a nice new feature in MyNorth’s Northern Michigan Wine section, Lindsey Perry writes that the newest member of the Leelanau Wine Trail, Blustone Vineyards. Blustone is located in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula close to Lake Leelanau, and owners Tom & Joan Knighton plan to open their tasting room offering a full winery experience late this summer.
Since bottling their first wine, an unoaked 2010 Chardonnay, Blustone Vineyards has been gathering accolades and taking home the gold for nearly all of their vintages at wine competitions across the country, including a Double Gold at the Tasters Guild International Wine Competition for that very first 2010 Chardonnay.
…the Knightons have found generous support from fellow Northern Michigan wineries and winemakers. Doug Matthies and Shawn Walters at French Road Cellars have played an invaluable role in Blustone’s early success as their vineyard manager and winemaker. “We owe a lot to Doug and Shawn and are thrilled to have them as a part of our team,” says Tom; Larry Mawby of L. Mawby and Dan Matthies of Chateau Fontaine are “encouraging and realistic,” offering advice and friendship.
Originally a cherry orchard, 12 acres remain of Northern Michigan’s pride at Blustone Vineyards. Blustone uses the harvested cherries in Connexion, a delectable cherry port featuring three varieties. The rest of the land is dominated by the grape. Pinot noir, riesling, pinot grigio, gewurztraminer and pinot blanc grow on softly rolling hills … a sea of vines rippling beneath Leelanau sky. New to the land next year will be merlot and cabernet franc grapes. In addition to these wines, Blustone creates a red blend named Winemaker’s Red, which is comprised of a medley of varietals that changes based on availability and winemaker whim.
Tom acknowledges that Blustone began with a head start—purchasing a seven year old vineyard that was already successfully producing grapes—but that doesn’t mean the vineyard owners are resting on their laurels. Already planting new varietals, and building an “Up North contemporary” tasting room that will feature glass walls overlooking the vineyard and orchard, Blustone Vineyards is carving out its own Northern Michigan wine niche.
Read on for more, visit their Facebook and stay tuned for their website at www.blustonevineyards.com. You can get a sneak preview of their wines on June 30th and welcome them in person at the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival!