- On September 4, 2014
This week, during the U.S. wine feature month, we are featuring a winery from Michigan. Chateau Grand Traverse has been a family owned and operated winery for 40 years and is Michigan’s oldest winery. In the early 1970’s the few wineries in Michigan were focusing on native Labrusca grapes as well as French- American hybrids. Edward O’Keefe, the founder, did some research with the help of Dr. Helmut Becker from the Geisenheim Oenology & Viticulture School in (what was then) West Germany and decided that the European varietals could do well in Michigan, specifically on the Old Mission Peninsula.
“When I founded Chateau Grand Traverse in 1974, I knew that my determination to produce world-class Riesling wines in northern Michigan would create controversy, draw cynics, and ultimately revolutionize the Michigan wine industry.” –Edward O’Keefe JR., Founder
He initially planted 45 acres of Riesling, Chardonnay, and Merlot and had many critics calling the project “O’Keefe’s Folly”. Today Chateau Grand Traverse has 122 acres of vines focusing on 12 different grape varietals: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, Muscat Ottenel, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The winery is now run and owned by second generation O’Keefes and still focuses on the environmental sustainability that was important to Edward.
We have four of their wines in the store including one of the German style reislings Edward O’Keefe set out to make many years ago. The Whole Cluster Riesling is made in the “Kabinett” style which means the cool-climate wine has a touch of sweetness with bright fruit of pear and apple and refreshing acidity. The Ship of Fools is a blend of predominately Pinot Blanc with Pinot Gris and a touch of Pinot Noir. It is a crisp dry white wine and definitely an everyday sipper. The Pinot Noir Vin Gris is a white (slight pink hue) wine made from red grapes and aged for six months in French Oak which gives it a rounder mouth feel. This is definitely a fun and different wine. Many of you may know Gamay Noir by its French region Beaujolais. It is a lighter bodied, fruity red, with a touch of spice.
Whole Cluster $14.99/$13.49, Ship of Fools $14.99/$13.49
Pinot Noir Vin Gris $14.99/$13.49, Gamay Noir $17.49/$15.74