103 E. River Street
Phone: (231) 256-2115
Contact: Doug Matthias
Our interest in wine came quite naturally, just like it does for most people, a cool, bright Riesling on a warm afternoon, a mammoth California Zinfandel with a pile of BBQ Ribs, and pretty much everything in-between. Individually, we have always loved great wine for its wonderful flavors, its enhancement of a fine meal, and its ability to provide a common interest with friends and family.
After many years of exploring, consuming, and talking about fine wine, a natural curiosity began to take form. How can such fresh vibrancy, power, and elegance emerge from dark, twisted, gnarled vines often grown under harsh conditions? This curiosity, and a “perfect storm” of circumstances conspired to steer our shared passion down a path we had never dreamed of.
1.Our area is proving to be ideal for world-class white winegrowing.
2.The public has displayed a tremendous, growing thirst for quality wines from Michigan.
3.Some of us were looking for some new, fun things to do with our lives.
4.Our life savings were just sitting there in the bank, so why not go scatter it over the lush green hills of Leelanau County?
Our goal is simple. Begin with high, sloped property with the right soil types. Then, plant the varietals, clones and rootstocks that have proven to produce great fruit in our area, are sought after by consumers and tourists, and make wines that we like.
Next, plant and farm these grapes with an eye towards the highest possible quality and sustainability. We are committed to going the extra mile with our vineyard practices, appropriate yet minimal chemical application, small yields, hand pruning, tying and harvesting, and closely evaluating fruit quality and timing harvest based on both science and taste.
Once our fruit is harvested, we waste no time in getting the fresh, cool fruit to the crush pad and into the hands of French Road Cellars Doug Matthias and Shawn Walters, who have already displayed the capability of producing some of Michigan’s finest wines. In our first few years, we supplement our best fruit with some purchased fruit from our neighbors in Leelanau County, but our goal is to attain “Estate Grown” designation, meaning our wines are made with 100% fruit from our vineyards.
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