Leelanau County: The best, “first time,” wine-tasting experience.

Ben,   our assistant manager  continues writing his thoughts for Laurentide’s blog….

If you are like me then you’re relatively new to the world of wine and all that it has to offer.  Whether you enjoy a casual glass with dinner or you are new to the wine tasting scene, the amount of information associated with wine can be intimidating.  This may be a deterrent for inexperienced wine drinkers to learn more about wine even if they remain curious deep down.  This has been my dilemma.  It seems the more that I learn about wine, the less I seem to know.  This seems counter-intuitive, but however you want to look at it, the reality of wine as a subject is one that is basically infinite.  So it would make sense to just accept the fact that it’s an impossible topic to master and to just start with the basics, asking yourself questions like… do you prefer dry or sweet wines? Which varietals taste the best to you? In my opinion that’s what makes Leelanau county a great place to discover your palate.  Leelanau has always been a great place for producing world class fruit, cherries, apples, and of course, grapes.

A common trait in the wines produced here is that they all have a very authentic fruitiness to them that allows for a clean impression of the varietal that you are tasting.  This allows for novices like myself to confidently say a sentence like, “I am finding I really enjoy a dry white wine like Pinot Gris.” Now when you throw in the beautiful countryside, friendly people, laid back pace, and numerous unique wineries, then you have the ingredients for an ideal wine tasting experience.  All of these qualities to Leelanau County make it an exceptional wine tasting experience for first timers.

So my advice to inexperienced wine drinkers is to remain curious and be a sponge for any and all information. The BEST advice I’ve ever heard in this industry so far is along the lines of, “you like what you like and don’t let other people tell you that you are wrong for liking a certain wine.” A simple but very important philosophy to remember when you are wine tasting. Hopefully we will see a few new faces here at Laurentide so we can serve you world class wine and provide a sliver of what Leelanau has to offer.


Thank you to :http://www.andersonaerialphotography.com/galleries/plog-content/images/counties/leelanau/north-lake-leelanau-pano-n-s-psd-copy-copy.jpg for the aerial image.

15 Things To Do With Cherry Wine…

Ben, our resident Cherry wine expert and assistant manager writes for Laurentide’s blog….ATT_1431718720011_IMG_20150515_152952401

  1. Obviously, enjoy a glass of it like you would any other wine!
  2. Create a world class sangria with it, the possibilities of different fresh fruit combinations are endless!
  3. Marinate meat with it! Chicken, duck, steak, pork, and my personal favorite… RIBS!
  4. Make a wonderful spritzer! Mix with club soda, tonic water, sprite, basically anything that you think sounds good I would encourage you to try, you really never know.
  5. Fortify it with some fine Brandy or another hard liquor of your choice.
  6. Cook with it! Use as a main ingredient for a reduction. It has a great cherry flavor that is extremely versatile in the kitchen.
  7. Pair it with chocolate! Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or take our recommendation and enjoy it with some authentic Mindo chocolate that is sold right here in the tasting room!
  8. Serve as a dessert wine. Perfect ending to any meal.
  9. Bake with it! It is an outstanding ingredient for brownies that need a hint of cherry flavor or perhaps it could be the star of your, “drunk cupcakes.”
  10. You can throw it In a cooking pot and add some spices to create a delicious mulled wine. Ideal for those cozy fall/winter evenings.
  11. Compare with other cherry wines! Fruit wines are all unique in their own way and it is always fun to see how they differ from one another.
  12. Give it as a gift! A fun gift idea, especially when presented with all of these various uses, can go a long way for the right person.
  13. Use as a staple ingredient when making salad dressing, mixes flawlessly into most vinaigrettes.
  14. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze it. That way your cherry wine can become instantly chilled without diluting it. You could also throw it in as extra flavor enhancer into the spritzers/sangria’s mentioned earlier.

The fifteenth idea isn’t a singular idea but rather a hodgepodge of all the ideas that didn’t quite make the list on their own but were honorable mentions. Cherry wine has health benefits; either pour into your next bath where it supposedly softens and regenerates your skin or just drink it to get some fruit into your diet. You can use it to wash off other fruits because the alcohol will kill the bacteria that is present. Add it to a smoothie or daiquiri. Add it to cranberry or BBQ sauce. And last but not least.. Stain something red!

Michigan Public Radio April 2015

Bill and I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Joe Linstroth of The Next Idea to hash out the framework for  our essay and interview regarding the status of the the Michigan Wine Industry reputation state and nation wide.  We worked with Cynthia Canty of Stateside who  was the nicest interviewer we have ever been in the presence of! Sincere thanks to both of you….

Here is the essay and link to the interview. We are so grateful for this ability to speak for the industry and hope that only good things evolve from these ideas.

Thank you,

Susan and Bill Braymer, Laurentide Winery


NPR photo w Cynthia Canty 4 7 2015 IMG_20150407_133532038_HDR

Laurentide Best of Class!

Laurentide Chardonnay 2013 Best of Show!

Wine Competition News and PR

For Immediate Release

February 17, 2015

Contact: Debra Del Fiorentino
Vineyard & Winery Management
Phone: 707.577.7700 x109
Email: ddelfiorentino@vwmmedia.com

The International “East Meets West” Wine Challenge Reveals Top Awards
 International Eastern Wine Competition vs. West Coast Wine Competition

Santa Rosa, CA – For the second year, Vineyard & Winery Management combined two of its oldest and most established wine competitions into one by creating the International “East Meets West” Wine Challenge.  The judging was held Feb. 10-11, 2015 in Sonoma County, California. A total of 1164 wines were awarded medals.

Since 1982, the West Coast Wine Competition has annually recognized wines produced and bottled in the West. The International Eastern Wine Competition, started in 1975, is one of the oldest and longest-running wine competitions in the nation.

This year, the competitions merged into one large event.  Wines were simultaneously judged in two established regional divisions: International Eastern Wine Competition and the West Coast Wine Competition. Traditional awards were given in each division. Best of Show winners moved on to compete in the East Meets West Taste Off to see which wine was best overall. This afforded each entrant two chances to win medals: one in its own division and one in the Taste Off.  A Riesling Championship was also held.

“This challenge allows eastern and western wines to compete in their own right while allowing each to contend on a national scale,” said event producer and Vineyard & Winery Management magazine publisher Robert Merletti.

According to Director of Wine Competitions and Chief Judge Debra Del Fiorentino, “This format worked well for us last year and has gained momentum this year.  Keeping these established brands intact and adding a twist like the East Meets West Taste Off put an exciting spin on the challenge.”

The International Eastern division garnered 22 best of class, 23 double gold, and 76 gold medals.  The West Coast division collected 25 best of class, 12 double gold, and 68  gold medals

Our Chardonnay, 1 of 22 Best of Class medals awarded in the International Eastern division! 

Thank you to all those who contributed to making this a fine, fine wine from our vineyard workers to wine maker.

We are grateful.

Susan and Bill Braymer, Laurentide Winery

Seafood Fondue with Laurentide Dry Riesling


  •  2 c 1/2 & 1/2 OR whole Milk
  • 1 c Water
  • 1 c Laurentide Dry Riesling
  • 1 T Lobster base*
  • 1 1/2 T Cornstarch
  • 4 T Tomato paste
  • 1/4 t Paprika
  • 1/4 t Pimenton**
  • 1/2 t Old Bay seasoning
  • 1-2 c Gruyere
  • 1/2 c Lobster cooked***
  • slices hearty French bread
  1. In soup pot, combine 1st 4 ingredients and bring slowly to boil.
  2. Blend cornstarch in ~2oz cold water 1st and then add to soup pot. Simmer until thickened.
  3. Add tomato paste and spices. Stir and continue a slow simmer~ 5 min.
  4. Shred cheese and slowly add to the bisque.
  5. Remove from heat and blend to fully incorporate the cheese.
  6. Pour into fondue pot OR slow cooker, add chopped seafood and heat slowly.
  7. Enjoy with French bread for dipping and Laurentide Dry Riesling!

Serves: 4- 8 oz servings

  • * Concentrated Lobster base available in specialty food stores.
  • ** Pimenton is smoked paprika. Regular Paprika can suffice.
  • ***Substitute your choice and proportion of seafood. Shrimp, Crab also would be wonderful!




2013 Laurentide Riesling New Release Weekend

Winter Vines 2



  AWS Double Gold

 3rd straight year!

New Release Weekend

February 7-8 2015

Our Dry Riesling exhibits a clean, fresh

fruity aroma and perfect acid balance.  

Green apple and lime notes with an

excellent finish. Perfect foil with spicy food.

     Traditional pairing with fondue.


Sip and Dab at Laurentide October 24

We host our monthly Sip and Dab painting party this Friday, October 24 from 6-9!  Sip award winning wine and nibble on some appetizers  with friends old and new.  The painting   is fabulous- Shelly Morey brings EVERYTHING and you leave with a lovely unique finished painting…

Learn, Laugh and indulge yourself at Laurentide Winery.

For tickets:


The painting: