Northern Michigan Wine: Northern Michigan's wine scene continues to grow with the construction of a new Northern Michigan winery and tasting room at Hawthorne Vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. One of Old Mission's largest vineyards with 26 planted acres, the establishment of Hawthorne Vineyards is set back from Peninsula Drive by a private road and nestled high on a ridge overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, and will be an inviting new Northern Michigan wine destination.

Hawthorne Vineyards winery and tasting room will ease into their new endeavor. A soft opening is slated for August 1st, with wine tasting and sales from the wine cellar open to the public August-October 2012 and the tasting room's full completion and a grand opening taking place May 2013. The tasting room will be a seasonal operation, open May-October each year.

Hawthorne Vineyards founders Bruce and Cathleen Hawthorne have familial ties to Northern Michigan dating back to the 1800's when Cathleen's family settled in Benzie County.  Spurred by the couple’s passion for gardening and agriculture, the pair acted on their desire to enter the Northern Michigan wine industry, purchasing the 80 acre farm on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City that was partially planted to grapevines, cherries, and plums.  Dedicated to continuing the preservation of agriculture, the Hawthorne’s have planted additional vinifera species grapevines that include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Gamay, and Lemberger to total 26 acres, with future plantings in the works.

Hawthorne Vineyards has chosen to partner with Old Mission Peninsula’s Chateau Chantal, who has farmed the land for over 10 years, to operate the winery and tasting room.  Award-winning winemaker, Brian Hosmer, will be responsible for crafting wines made from this vineyard at the new winery specifically for the Hawthorne tasting room.

Hosmer comments, “It’s been an interesting project working with the Hawthorne’s.  They bring a new perspective to the wines being offered from their estate, and it will continue to be an enjoyable challenge to create unique styles of wine for this property.  Pairing the results of a well cared for vineyard with the winemaking tools of barrel fermentation, aging, yeast selection and blending, I will bring forth different wines representing this unique farm.”

While operated by Chateau Chantal management, Hawthorne Vineyards will be a unique destination on its own with a focus on super-premium, single varietal wines that reflect their specific geographical location, or “terroir,” from their elevated altitude on the Peninsula.  This is not another outlet for Chateau Chantal, but a completely new winery with separate owners, producing different styles of Old Mission wine.  Features of the new seasonal tasting room include an accommodating oval bar, private tasting room, wine patio with outdoor fireplace, and exceptional tranquility as guests admire the pristine vineyards and West Grand Traverse Bay views.

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