The farm, owned by John and Vickie Wysokinski, is also home to Rudbeckia Winery and Burnt Marshmallow Brewing, which opened May 13, 2016, just 13 months after the Wysokinskis moved to the farm in 2015.
“We came ‘Up North’ for a weekend trip, and we fell in love with the area,” John says. “We were amazed at what a burgeoning wine economy exists in Emmet County. We found the farm on Zillow and the rest is history.”
Photo by Rudbeckia Farm and Winery
At Rudbeckia Farm, the focus is on providing an experience for the entire family.
Guests can hike and explore over 150 acres of the farm open to the public during operating hours, compete in corn hole and soon will be able to enjoy a regulation Bocce court.
Complimentary popsicles, fruit snacks and frozen grapes are available for kids along with Rudbeckia Farm coloring pages and crayons. Dog treats and water bowls are set out for visiting pups.
There are also several pets on the farm—mini pigs Coco and Posey, seven chickens, two cats, two Yorkshire terriers and a rabbit.
Wine and beer purchased in the tasting room can be taken out onto the property (perfect for picnics!), which offers a hilltop view of Walloon Lake and Lake Michigan. In 2018, the tasting room will be relocated to the hill so visitors can enjoy the view with their brew.
Photo by Rudbeckia Farm and Winery
John and Vickie have been in the wine, beer and spirits business for over 25 years working with industry professionals in California, Oregon, Washington State, the Mid-Atlantic, Finger Lakes, Spain France and Italy. At Rudbeckia Farm and Winery, Dustin Stabile is their consulting winemaker, and Mackinaw Trail Winery is the custom crush facility. The beer is brewed onsite by Ted Monroe.
Right now, the wines are made with grapes from vineyards in southwest Michigan within the Lake Michigan Shore AVA. However, the Wysokinskis recently planted 3,400 grapevines at the northernmost end of the farm including cold-hardy varieties like Marquette and Frontenac Gris, and the first harvest will be in 2020.
Rudbeckia Farm also has 10 acres of sunflowers, 5 acres of pumpkins, 10 acres of wheat and 140 acres of hay and alfalfa. Six bee hives provide honey for the mead and beer. Next year, hops, potatoes and heirloom grains will be planted. The grains will be used at Burnt Marshmallow Brewing and their new distillery opening in 2017.
Along with beer, wine and cider, visitors can also enjoy a cocktail. The twist, the cocktails aren’t made with spirits. “Did you know the Bloody Mary was first made with beer instead of spirits?” John asks. Instead of vodka, the Bloody Mary (pictured below) is made with “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire” ghost pepper citrus amber. Peach mimosas made with peach mead and orange juice are also available.
Photo by Nicole Steffen
The wine and beer at Rudbeckia Farm and Winery are served in Riedel Crystal tasting glassware. “Riedel is the top rated tasting glass in the world,” John says. “These glasses are designed to enhance the aromatics and flavors in the glass.” A well-designed glass creates a “chimney” so the aroma of the wine is concentrated and wafts up toward the nose. “As more than 90 percent of taste is smell, a glass that can optimize the bouquet is worth using,” John says. “The only way to experience this is by doing a side by side with the same wine in different styles of glasses. We will show you this when you visit.”
In addition, the winery uses the Coravin preservation system, which allows them to pour wine through the cork without ever opening the bottle. The device inserts a needle into the cork and sends Argon gas into the bottle forcing the wine through the needle into the glass. Once the needle is removed the cork self-seals and the wine can continue to stay unaffected by any oxygen. Fans of the Coravin can purchase their own at the tasting room.
Rudbeckia Farm and Winery is located at 3379 Lake Grove Road. Add these wineries in Petoskey and Harbor Springs to your visit.
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