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Autumn Guide, October 2006

Day trips in Leelanau County

Vineyards and wineries

by patrick nagy

There are over a dozen vineyards and wineries dotting the landscape throughout the Leelanau peninsula. Michigan wines are growing in popularity and autumn is harvest time which is the best time to explore the wineries.

"Visitors can relax on the patio, sample a glass of award-winning wine and enjoy the view of the pond," said Kris Sterkenburg, president and owner of Gill's Pier Vineyard and Winery, Inc. of Northport. "At the tasting room our knowledgeable staff is available to provide information and answer any questions about wine."

The Gill's Pier tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more and view a listing of wines available go to www.gillspier.com.

"We're on a streak with our Semi-Dry Riesling," said Adam Satchwell, winemaker at Shady Lane Cellars of Suttons Bay. "Our 2004 Semi-Dry Riesling just won the Schott Zwiesell Best of Class at the 2006 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and our 2005 Semi-Dry Riesling just won Best of Class and Double Gold at the 2006 Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition."

Guests can sample these and other award-winning wines inside a beautiful fieldstone building which houses the tasting room. In addition to wine a selection of fresh bread, special cheeses and salami are also available so that visitors can create their own picnic. The tasting room is open seven day a week until 6 p.m. To learn more visit www.shadylanecellars.com.

"Visitors can observe each step of our choreographed wine-making process," said Don Coe, managing partner at Black Star Farms of Suttons Bay. "They can follow the grapes from harvest and inspection, to the crusher and destemmer, onto the pressing machine and into the fermenting tanks."

Black Star Farms also houses a creamery producing artisan cheeses and a distillery for making fruit brandy. There is much to see and do so guests may wish to stay on-site at the Bed and Breakfast Inn. Advance room reservations recommended. To find out more go to www.blackstarfarms.com.

To learn more about these and other area wineries, see our wineries page, or visit www.lpwines.com.

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