Northern Michigan Winery: The growth of the Northern Michigan wine industry continues with Hawthorne Vineyards' opening on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City.  Owners of the Hawthorne Vineyard, one of Old Mission’s largest at 26 planted acres, are constructing a tasting room and winery four miles north of Traverse City.  Set back from Peninsula Drive by a private road and nestled high on a ridge overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, the establishment of Hawthorne Vineyards is an inviting new Northern Michigan wine destination.

Hawthorne Vineyards is opening to the public for wine tasting and sales from the wine cellar this Fall, offering a limited about of four wines from the amazing 2010 vintage.  The full tasting room will be complete for a grand opening May 2013.  The tasting room will be a seasonal operation, open May-October each year.  Opening hours are anticipated to be Mon-Sat 11am-7pm and Noon to 6pm on Sunday in September and October.  Limited wines will be available for wholesale purchase to restaurants and retailers May 2013.

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 wine industry, purchasing an 80 acre farm on Old Mission Peninsula 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 to total 26 acres, with future plantings in the works.

The Hawthorne Vineyards site is arguably the most secluded Old Mission Peninsula tasting room site. The winery and tasting room sit high on a bluff overlooking West Grand Traverse and is among the closest to Traverse City.  Once at the top of the private drive, Peninsula Drive, local roads, and surrounding neighbors will be hidden from view, creating a peaceful agricultural retreat. Surrounded on two sides by land preserved from development under Peninsula Township's Purchase of Development Rights program, and protected by woods from other development on the other two sides, visitors will be seeing nature; no view of traffic, no close neighbors, just vineyard, woods and water.

Hawthorne Vineyards is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Gamay, and Lemberger (the German name of an Austrian vinifera varietal also known  as Blaufränkisch). The vineyard owners have 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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Photo(s) by Hawthorne Vineyards