Two Northern Michigan wineries are hosting events to hail the arrival of spring: the Feast of St. Vincent at Brengman Brothers Winery in Leelanau County will pay tribute to the patron saint of wine makers, while Chateau Chantal—near Traverse City—will celebrate a Blessing of the Blossoms to welcome a prosperous season for area grape and cherry growers.
“After a winter like the one we just had, I think we vinters can use all the help we can get,” said Traverse City winemaker Robert Brengman. “We have some serious feasting to do this year to get the attention of our patron Saint of Wine Workers and ask for help to flip the switch back to normal weather after this abnormal winter.”
The Feast of St. Vincent celebration will take place at Brengman Brothers Winery on Saturday, April 26th. Brengman explained the annual tradition: “We start with the procession through the vineyard with volunteers carrying celebration banners and statues while making stops at vineyard blocks. Everyone tastes the bounty from past harvests and we reflect on the importance of weather. All this fresh air is followed by a hearty brunch waiting for us at the winery. Famous calamari from Joe Bologna’s will be served together with Lauren’s amazing cheese and sausage table and plenty of Brengman Brothers wine!” The event costs $25 to attend.
On Sunday, May 18th, Chateau Chantal will host the non-denominational Blessing of the Blossoms service, the origin of the Cherry Festival, with Pastor Melody Olin of the Ogdensburg Methodist Church. Complimentary cherry pie, refreshments and musical entertainment will be on hand after the half hour service. The event is free to attend.
In 1910, the residents of the Old Mission Peninsula created the “blessing of the blossoms” ceremony to pray for a good cherry crop. Over the years, more orchards were planted and the ceremony grew as cherries became more important to the region’s economy. In 1925, the cherry growers partnered with Traverse City merchants to create the “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” to promote the region and the cherry business. In 1928, the Blessing of the Blossoms was renamed the Michigan Cherry Festival which shortly evolved into the National Cherry Festival.
For more information, contact the wineries at:
- Brengman Brothers: 231.946.2764 or BrengmanBrothers.com
- Chateau Chantal: 800.969.4009 or ChateauChantal.com