When the landscape is your subject and paint your medium, you could ask for little else in life than to be dropped on the Leelanau Peninsula. Right in the middle of the peninsula, right off M-204, you will find an excellent example of the landscape that has so enchanted at Blustone Vineyards and tasting room.
The hills roll on and the tasting room feels like a frame for the beauty that is the land here. Tom and Joan Knighton are the proprietors, who bought this little slice of heaven in 2010. As the sign inside the tasting room says, “Discovering a piece of Leland bluestone on the shore of Lake Michigan is finding a rare treasure of nature. Blustone wine is inspired by these unanticipated moments of life.”
Need I say more? Only that this is a landscape worth discovering, and the wine is the story of the land, the season and the people captured in a bottle!
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 …