Listen we don't compare ourselves to big box and grocery store chains. The wine that they sell is what you grab with your milk. Nothing remarkable and priced just right to make it on the grocery list.
The wine that we sell is what you would expect to find at a small wine shop. Those who appreciate taste, quality, handcrafted, not mass produced and value for the price are our customers. We offer something unique with region specific wine. Wine made in Northern Michigan using cold hardy grapes and wine made in Southern Florida using tropical, citrus fruits as well as Muscadine grapes.
The wine makers have had their hands on every bottle that we sell. You can taste the experience and that passion in every sip. It's not about selling some marketing plan--it's about the WINE! We choose not to carry more expensive, high priced bottles from other countries. Which is also the type of wine that one might expect to find at boutique wine shops. There is a reason for that, even though we appreciate and have experienced some beautiful bottles from many countries across the globe.
We believe in bringing attention to some very talented American wine makers. The state of California earned their notoriety in the 1970's proving to European wine makers that great wines can be made in the USA. We believe it's time to recognize that other states can make region specific, great tasting wines too!
We believe in individual ideas and expressive creativity. We believe in the total experience of wine, learning as you taste and broadening your palate. We believe the customer is still king and the wine speaks for itself.
Both born and raised in the heart of Northern Michigan, Tip of the Mitt area. We've lived here most of our lives. Our families have been in this same area since the 1820's and 1860's before Michigan was a state. A rich history of farmers, railroad engineers, loggers and soldiers decorate our homestead past. In later years a history of butchers, seamstresses, bakers, salesmen, linemen, factory workers, teachers, writers and business owners complete our lineage.
Some other interesting facts about my husband's family is that they were some of the first to help establish the state of Maryland serving on the colonial council. My family has served both locally and abroad with volunteer work and in civic positions such as Mayor. Our ancestry helps explain our love of history, sense of patriotism, hard work ethic and commitment to community.
Family is also very strong and meaningful to us. Even though we are Northern Michigan Natives, Florida is a place our family calls home. Some of my family have been "Snowbirds" since the early 1970's. Part of my husband's family have been living in Florida for decades. We also have a home there. For us there is a direct tie between Michigan and Florida.
Adventure and travel are also in our blood. Spending time as a teenager on this very beach, I developed a love of the Atlantic Ocean like my love of The Great Lakes. That grew my desire for exploring. After graduating college I travelled extensively in my 20's and 30's. Rafting the Colorado River, ziplining in Jamaica, diving into a Mayan Cenote in Mexico and mountain biking down a Hawaiian volcano just to name a few of my daring adventures.
Mike has had adventures of his own welding steel hundreds of feet up, submitting ideas for inventions, designing equipment for companies and owning his own business. Growing up on Lake Huron, his hobbies included rebuilding engines, riding broncs, being creative and rescuing those who needed help-which he still does.
During a career as a licensed insurance professional I moved to Chicago. While working for State Farm there I decided to take a job with Galena Cellars for fun! Galena Cellars is a family owned winery out of Northern Illinois. I worked in their busy suburban tasting room where I learned the ins and outs of the business. I studied under a sommelier, gained extensive training and experience along with a passion for the wine making industry.
I grew up knowing Michigan Wines and had tasted wines everywhere I went including the fruit wines of Florida. I realized there were so many undiscovered wines that may be well known in their area but not anywhere else. Which gave me the idea and desire to do this at home. To feature unique wines you've never heard of from smaller, family owned and operated wineries. Bringing that inspiration back to Gaylord with me.
Experienced and educated about many aspects of the wine industry including local and national multifaceted trends. We have privileged access to wine industry connections and resources. Our expertise is not limited to the retail end but also includes varietals and viticulture areas in Michigan, areas of the United States as well as Europe. Backed by our combined nearly 45 years of experience in business ownership, customer service and sales. Enforced by a business and marketing degree along with a bit of creative genes, we gave up our careers to pursue this big adventure!
Much like our lives, we take a very openminded, adventurous approach to wine!
And we think it should be experienced. Our Island style combined with traditional and professional industry knowledge is something we want you to benefit from and enjoy.
What sets us apart?
Great relationships, attention to detail, friendly atmosphere and customer service is what we are known for. We have the awards to prove it. We take great pride in our relationships with wineries and customers. We are very hands on helping to pick grapes, bottling or labeling bottles. We help our fellow small business owners acting as representatives like no one else can. We go the extra mile for our customers with rewards, wine profiles and gifting assistance. Our signature tastings keep customers coming back year after year.
Tasting Room Notes
Learn more about what we do
Some common misconceptions about fruit wines.
#1. All fruit wines are sweet. Wrong, in fact fruit wines are not all sweet. True fruit wines are made with 100% real fruit-no grapes. Just like with grape varietals it is all in the fermentation and finish. Plenty of fruit wines have a dry or semi-dry finish including many we carry. It is true however, that a semi-dry fruit wine compared to a semi-dry grape wine will most times taste a bit sweeter than that grape varietal.
#2. Fruit wines do not taste that good. Most fruit wines that have been produced on the market to this point have been made with a grape varietal as the base and either flavored syrup or fruit juice added to it. These grape based fruit wines tend to either have a dry or alcohol taste to them depending on the type of varietal used and
usually have a watered down fruit taste.
#3. I didn't know you could make wine out of fruit?
I hear this one more than you think. Grape IS a fruit. So yes, you can make wine out of almost any fruit. The best part about 100% fruit wines (no grape varietals in the base) is the pure taste. They do not have that typically bitter taste that some grape varietals can have. They tend to taste exactly like the fruit from which they are made. So if you like a particular fruit, 9 out of 10 you'll love the wine. It is still fermented but tastes so much better when made from all natural fruit. Of course the quality of the fruit can play a factor in the taste just like grape varietals. The better the quality, the better the taste. There are also added health benefits to 100% fruit wines that grape wines do not have.
Some common misconceptions about Michigan wines.
#1. Michigan reds are all sweet. Wrong, in fact there are more and more dry red wines being produced in Michigan than ever before. "We've come a long way baby!" In the early stages of growing grapes in Michigan, certain regions of the state were producing fairly sweet, fruit-forward red wines. That was due to climate, viticulture areas, grape varietals available at that time and aging techniques. We've made advances by the discovery of hybrid cold hardy grapes, newly established viticulture areas, importing grapes, creative blends and stainless steal aging techniques.
#2. Michigan wines do not taste that good. Over the last 15-20 years Michigan wines have been perfected by wine makers in unexpected ways. Most of the cold hardy grapes used in our area specifically are an equivalent to European varietals. If you have a favorite grape varietal, Michigan is producing something similar. The 45th parallel we are on gives us a distinct climate advantage. Our mineral rich, post glacier soil surrounded by Great Lakes provides something unique. Michigan now produces a larger variety of whites and reds both sweet and dry. It's not just ice wine and Rieslings we're known for anymore. Since we began carrying Northern Michigan wines 5 years ago, we've watched Michigan rise in rank of top producing wine states. It has risen from 10th to 6th in the nation! If you haven't given Michigan wine a chance lately, you are missing out.
#3. I didn't know Michigan made so many wines?
When we first opened, people couldn't believe we were carrying Michigan wines. In fact, the industry which has been established here for decades has literally boomed in the last few years. With new wineries popping up in rapid succession all over the state including the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! Each region produces it's own distinct characteristics and more attention is being brought to Michigan wines. Now featured in local restaurants, local stores, wine tasting rooms, wine competitions and farmers markets across the state. We are also gaining national recognition.