Monthly Archives: July 2012

Above the Vineyard


As an artist I find myself cheerfully playing the role of a storyteller.

The year 1888 was a big year for artists and that is the year the first camera hit the market. This invention freed us from the need to reproduce what we saw and allowed us a new freedom to make the story we tell more personal. To filter our work through… well our creative selves. It’s in that spirit, with that wonderful freedom that I have found myself ‘On the Michigan Wine Trail’ (OTWMT) telling a story, not so much as a reporter, but as an artist. It was with the excitement of learning more and exploring my subjects deeper, that I crawled into a sweet little single engine plane and explored my favorite little slice of America, the peninsulas of Leelanau and Old Mission.

I had in mind a series within the series OTMWT. I wanted what I saw from above to inspire a series of paintings that were very geometric. I wanted to see how the vineyards looked from above so I could filter that new vantage point through creativity and into the paintings.

The photos serve as a reference to jog my memory. This makes the story I am telling my own and not the cameras.

Cheers to art, beauty, and diving into a subject deep and in more detail!

I hope you enjoy!

Wine Reviews


Know Your Michigan Wines

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Dry Riesling
If wine is sunlight held together by water then Brys Estate Dry Riesling is the perfect example. It’s summer in a bottle. Riesling was a variety that this dry wine lover avoided, that was until I discovered the dry variety that wine makers in Northern Michigan were making, and well, I fell in love with it. Riesling is a grape that all the wine makers On the Michigan Wine Trail have said is made for Michigan, and I encourage you to take their word for it. This wine took a Gold medal at the Great Lakes Wine Competition and winemaker Coenraad Strasen has mastered this Michigan loving grape and captured a season in the bottle that tastes like summer!


Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir
I have to confess this is an absolute favorite of mine. It has smoothness and a depth that set it apart. On the nose fully ripe dark cherries, a hint of licorice, and spice that delivers on the pallet. I find the spiciness to be beautifully balanced with a very smooth creaminess, and the perfect amount of lingering after taste. I drink this one in all seasons but find it my go to red as the days get warmer. Cheers!


Chateau de Leelanau 2010 Pinot Grigio
If there are a few grape varieties Michigan wine makers seem to agree truly shine in Northern Mi. Pinot Grigio shows up on all the lists. Chateau de Leelanau is making a beautiful example of this wine. Crisp, clean and refreshing. Hints of grapefruit, apricot and lime, and dare I say I smelled a touch of strawberry on the nose. A nice after party finishes off this ‘perfect on a sunny spring day’ wine, and the flavors stay with you in the most pleasant way. Cheers!


Longview Winery & Vineyard 2011 Chardonnay… Yes Please!
This is a beautiful, well balanced expression of what a great Chardonnay can be. Lovely honey, pear and apple with a touch of butter, all this while remaining a dry wine. Perfect for many occasions but here it was supreme for an outing on a warm sunny day on the river, no food needed.


Chateau Chantal Winery 2010 Chardonnay Proprietors Reserve
A clear buttery yellow greats the eyes, while creamy apricot notes tease the nose. On the palate, a touch of inviting tartness and a explosion of fruits roll over the tongue with a clean finish that lingers, just as you would want it to. It definitely leaves you wanting more… See for yourself. Cheers!


2 Lads Winery 2009 Sparkling Reserve
This is sparkling wine done right. They say pear, and baked apple on the nose with limestone and peach under tones. We say, yes these smells can be found, but after a few sips you don’t really care, it’s just um, um good! A explosion of yumminess to use my finest wine speak. Dry and full bodied taking you beyond just bubbles into a fine wine. Run don’t walk for this one. And beautiful packaging to boot. 2 thumbs up for 2 Lads Sparkling Reserve— with 2 Lads.


Silverleaf Vineyard & Winery 2011 Pinot Grigio
This one tastes even better than it looks in this photo. It’s light and fresh like a summer day, and fruit forward. My only warning is it goes down very easy, you will have to pace yourself.