Located in Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula, Shady Lane Cellars was one of the early producers of Northern Michigan wine. With award-winning wines and a new outdoor tasting patio set amid the spectacular beauty of Leelanau County, the winery is thoroughly flourishing.
MyNorth’s Sig Steiger talked to Shady Lane Cellars general manager and winemaker Adam Satchwell to pick his brain about the new outdoor tasting room, as well as learn about Shady Lanes’ latest awards and upcoming events.
When did the idea come about for an outdoor tasting area?
I’ve been thinking about some kind of expansion to our tasting room for many years. I knew how I wanted the new space to add to the overall tasting and interactive experience for our guests, and then once I assembled a design/build team the current design evolved.
What does it consist of?
We created a new, expansive patio that incorporates lots of new seating areas highlighted with stacked stone walls, a fireplace and quite a bit of new and colorful landscaping. We designed this space to work beautifully as an event space for our own Shady Lane Cellars events, such as our new summer Music On The Patio series as well as weddings, corporate and private functions. The center piece of all of this is the outdoor tasting pavilion/bar, it is a design masterpiece created by the architect George Moutsatson. It’s an open air, covered, 32-foot-long curved bar finished in Douglas Fir, Brazilian Granite and some absolutely incredible design features and details.
What does the new patio accommodate that the tasting room doesn’t?
We all love our tasting room. It is a gorgeous fieldstone building dating back to 1906 and is finished in many of the same elements as our new outdoor space. The reality is that the tasting room is quite small and did not always comfortably accommodate the number of visitors we see at our winery. That, plus making Shady Lane Cellars available as an event venue for our guests was not practical with the original tasting room. Now we have considerably expanded space for our guests whether it is for tasting our wines, coming out to enjoy some music, or hosting their own event.
What was the vision for the patio tying into the Shady Lane experience for visitors?
We have always felt Shady Lane Cellars is an absolute gem among the many fine wineries in the region. We wanted to create something that enhanced the whole guest experience, create a wonderful event venue and bring people outdoors to share in the beauty of our vineyards and the Leelanau landscape.
What’s something you’re excited about that’s going on or upcoming at Shady Lane?
Obviously we’re excited about our new patio and outdoor tasting pavilion, and what that means for our guests. We have already had some great music performances here and have more scheduled yet this summer and fall; we’ll be expanding the Music Series next season. We’re excited to be able to offer a one-of-a-kind event venue for our guests to share for weddings and all sorts of events. We have a new tasting room manager, Mr. Rick DeBlasio, who we were able to coax away from The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina—which happens to be the most visited tasting room in all of the United States. Rick brings a wealth of experience to Shady Lane Cellars, and our guests will be sure to expect a better-than-ever experience when they visit our winery.
We’ve expanded the offerings in our gift shop and have some very cool items available. We’re launching a new online shopping feature on our website so people can order our wines and have them shipped directly to their home, as well as a new Wine Club that offers some great savings and exclusive offerings. And of course there are the wines. We have received many top awards for our wines recently including Best of Class Awards (the highest award possible) in international wine competitions for our Gewurztraminer as well as our red wine, Blue Franc, and our premium red blend, Franc ‘n’ Franc. We have also been awarded Double Gold and Gold Medals for our Dry Riesling and Semi-Dry Riesling. We’ve begun to release some of our red wines from the great 2012 vintage, and we are very excited about these bottlings. In a nutshell, I guess we are excited about just about everything these days at Shady Lane Cellars.