Welcome, Michigan’s Peninsula Cellars

Friday, January 6, 2012

The west and especially northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, where the best grape growing happens, is also

They grow their own cherries at Peninsula Cellars.

home to the state’s best cherry farming, so it’s pretty normal for the state’s earliest winemakers to have backgrounds in cherries.

Many have cherry orchards growing next to their vineyards.

Such is the case with Peninsula Cellars, a winery near Traverse City, Michigan that’s owned and operated by one of the tart cherry industry’s most famous pioneer families: the Kroupas.

John Kroupa started farming fruit on Old Mission Peninsula — a finger of hilly glacial-cut land that extends out into Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay — during the Civil War. These days, the winery and cherry orchards are run by his great-great grandson — who also happens to be named John Kroupa.

Peninsula Cellars makes some great wine, including the Rieslings Michigan is becoming known for — Time Magazine recently lauded their Select Riesling, for example. Of course it would be nothing short of bizarre if Peninsula Cellars did not also make and bottle their own cherry wine, and they now have both of their bottles featured here on cherry wine dot com.

One is a modestly sweet blend of black Ulster and tart red Montmorency cherries called Hot Rod that the winery sells for $11.99. It gets its name from having a higher-than-normal alcohol content, at 13.5%.

Peninsula Cellars' 1896 one-room school house tasting room.

The other is a fine, port-style dessert wine called Melange that blends Ulsters and grape brandy that sells for $17.99. It’s perfect for cold weather sipping on dark January nights.

All the cherries, of course, come from the Kroupa’s own orchards.

Peninsula Cellars ships to eight states: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If you live in one of these states, or know someone who does, order from the winery by emailing their tasting room manager at tom@peninsulacellars.com.


Categories: Drinker's Blog