Spring releases of Old Mission Peninsula wine are here, and you’re going to want to stock up.

Spring on Old Mission Peninsula means morels popping in the aspen stands, flowering cherry orchards and tasting rooms stocked with new releases. Faced with virtually every insult Mother Nature can hurl at a vineyard: brutal cold, hail, late frosts, Old Mission’s vignerons worked hard to carve a meager harvest from the 2015 season. Many vineyard sites lost 80 percent or more of their crop, necessitating that wineries source fruit from West Coast growers while others, through meticulous vineyard work, thermal protection and just plain luck, managed to harvest enough grapes, mainly white, for some remarkably delicious small-batch bottlings. In all cases quantities are limited, so hit the tasting trail and stock up for summer before it’s too late.

Brys Estate Gewurztraminer 2015
Brys’ dry gewürz has refreshing verve behind enticing aromas of rose petal, lychee and green guava.

Bonobo M Chardonnay 2014
Bonobo sourced premium Pacific Northwest fruit to craft this textural barrel-aged chardonnay with lemon curd and caramel notes.

Bowers Harbor Pinot Noir Rose 2015
Pulling pinot noir from a vineyard partner in Leelanau, Bowers welcomes spring with a light pink elixir flush with strawberry, cherry and white pepper.

Chateau Chantal Reserve Pinot Gris 2015
Neutral barrel fermentation and long lees contact yielded this luxe pinot gris with peach and pineapple aromas over a sexy mouth-feel.

Chateau Grand Traverse Limited Release Botrytis Chardonnay 2013
Available in half-bottle, this rich, heady medium-sweet elixir shows honey, apricot and candied pineapple characteristics wrought by the “noble rot.”

Hawthorne Vineyards Estate Vineyard Auxerrois 2015
On the heels of its 2014 Jefferson Cup win, Hawthorne’s new Auxerrois has lower acid and lush texture with abundant peach and green apple fruit.

Peninsula Cellars Late Harvest Riesling 2015
John Kroupa’s new late harvest riesling showcases a balanced duality of sweetness and acidity. Expect green apple, citrus and subtle tropical fruit flavors.

2 Lads Sparkling Rose Brut 2014
Bottle fermented and aged en tirage for nine months, this American pinot noir–based bubbly from the Lads effervesces dry strawberry fruit and fine
bubble structure.

Mari Vineyards Scriptorium Bestiary Red 2013
Twenty months in neutral barrel coaxed out black pepper and briary berry fruit from Sean O’Keefe’s compelling medium-bodied blend of Old Mission grown Austrian varietals blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and lagrein.

May cover


Old Mission Peninsula wine was originally featured in the May 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
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Photo(s) by Dave Weidner