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Project 24: Something Old, Something New


Bernie Rink of Boskydel Vineyards and me

It was a day for the old and the new, starting my day at Brengman Brothers and ending at the legendary and first winery in Leelanau, Boskydel!

Brengman Brothers is a beautiful property; it’s only a few years old, but growing leaps and bounds. I had the pleasure of speaking with the events manager, Lauren, and Doug, who was manning the bar. Both were knowledgeable, fun and informative. I love a staff that knows how to inform.

We talked of a passion for the land and a desire to be a good steward of that land, whether hosting events, making wine or educating the wine lovers who consume the product. And it’s a common thread among all of the wineries I’ve experienced up here. It strikes a chord with me as travel along through Project 24, wanting to be a good steward of the land and these people in my work!

And ending the day with the legendary Bernie Rink of Boskydel Winery. Please, just promise me, that you’ll come here if you’re on a wine tour — if for no other reason than to tip your hat to tradition. But you must bring an open mind and heart. This place is not fancy, they will not try to woo you. What they will do is grow good wine at a price that people can afford, which has been Bernie’s model since he planted his first vineyards in 1964. He was born a farmer and, at around 88 now, he still is. Salt of the earth, with a pioneering spirit. If you go on Sundays or Mondays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., you just might be lucky enough to meet Bernie. If you do this, bring cash and your patience and you will be rewarded.

Stopping by any day is fine during their open hours; you’ll often find his son Jim in the tasting room. Ask questions and be steeped in history. I happened to be in tasting room when two loyal Boskydel fans stopped in. They said they come up every year and love the “down home” experience at Boskydel. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Go see for yourself, and don’t miss the views of the vines with Lake Leelanau as a backdrop — it’s simply stunning! This will not be a hard property to paint …


Introducing … Project 24



To make you look at things in a different light. To reveal what’s beyond the visible and enter the spirit of a place. Going right to that feeling you get when you’re in a sacred space of beauty. This is my job as an artist, and it’s the premise behind my latest project: visiting all 24 wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula and creating art that represents the spirit of each place.

As an American landscape painter, recording the landscape and begging viewers to look at it differently in an effort to honor the land ties back to the role artists played in the founding of the national parks. And it’s a tradition I’m honored to take part in.

The Leelanau Peninsula is truly a “heart place” to many, including myself, and it is with the deepest love of the land that I set out on this journey.

This is a landscape that needs to be seen, a beauty in our own backyards that is rivaled by none.

I hope you will come with me along the way and enjoy this land and its people with me!