Northern Michigan wines are going international: Traverse City-based Chateau Grand Traverse is staging its first large-scale shipment to China, a market with an increasing interest in foreign wines.
After several years of planning and determination, Chateau Grand Traverse Winery, the producer of Traverse Bay Winery “Cherry Wine,” is beginning to see real success in its efforts to export its product to China.
In late April, the winery will ship a full container of wine holding 660 cases of its Traverse Bay Winery Cherry Wine, made from locally grown fruit, destined for China. “This certainly isn’t our first order to be exported to China,” stated Eddie O’Keefe III, President of Chateau Grand Traverse Winery. “We have exported numerous smaller orders over the past few years, but we’re excited to be nearing a point where the demand could turn into significant and consistent shipments,” O’Keefe added.
Watch Chateau Grand Traverse’s Sean O’Keefe Discuss Northern Michigan Rieslings:
The winery has been working with Chicago based wine broker, Franwyn Inc., owned and operated by Mr. Steve Wang. “Every person in China who has tried the Cherry Wine has loved it and said the taste is unique. Its bright cherry red color is also popular with customers since it represents happiness and good fortune in Chinese society,” according to Mr. Wang. “We are still at the very beginning stages, but we believe the future of Michigan Cherry Wines is bright,” Mr. Wang concluded.
“One of our biggest hurdles has actually been acquiring enough Cherries due to supply shortages,” stated O’Keefe. “It’s going to be a challenge to maintain a quality and consistent Cherry Wine product when we have seen multiple years of cherry crop reductions. If we can resolve this supply problem, we will likely be able to grow the market considerably over the next few years,” O’Keefe concluded.
Chateau Grand Traverse has been producing Cherry Wine on Old Mission Peninsula since the mid 1970’s, and it has consistently proved to be a popular and successful product. The Traverse Bay Winery brand, released in 1991, also includes Cherry Riesling Wine, Cherry Wine Sangria, and Spiced Cherry Wine; all made with Northern Michigan cherries. The winery’s products are currently marketed in 10 states, as well as for sale online with shipping licenses into 16 states and counting. O’Keefe anticipates shipping similar size orders of its Traverse Bay Winery products to China this summer and fall and looks forward to further success in this emerging wine market.