For this week’s Brewvine, Bill Froehlich and chief photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take us to French Valley Vineyard in Leelanau County to see how they’ve turned their vast vineyard into a vibrant venue.
“Well, every time you come here, it’s something is going to be different. We are constantly evolving. We’re still not done yet.”
The constant evolution at French Valley Vineyard has turned this quiet, Leelanau County field into a stunning wedding venue and a tranquil place to enjoy a glass of their decadent wine.
“We have created the entire tasting room and pavilion for people to enjoy their wines in the vines,” said Robert Walter, facilities manager at French Valley Vineyard. “They don’t have to go anywhere. They can drive right through the vineyard and see where the grapes were grown and then taste them in here in the tasting room. We’re kid friendly. Definitely. We’ve got a large swing set and playground outside so we can get the kids here.”
“We’ve added a big pile of sand that the kids can feel like they’re climbing the dune and we’ve put buckets up their little chairs for them to sit out. We’re dog friendly,” said Julie Lopata, tasting room and venue manager.
Mom and dad can sit under the beautiful pavilion and watch the kids play while they sip some newly released, award-winning cabernet franc.
“We just released our Cab Franc ’17. Every grape in the bottle is grown here on the property,” said Walter. “And we don’t can’t always get a standalone cab out of the grapes because our grown seasons not long enough in Michigan normally, but 2012 we released a reserve and we just got another ’17 out and we entered into the Texom competition in Texas and it took one of the judges awards and they said there wasn’t really a medal associated with it, but they said we could consider it platinum.”
In August, you can earn your own medal at the winery all while helping a great cause by running in their “Wine Run 5K.”
“We’re really excited to support Sharecare,” said Lopata. “The 5k race is going to be here, held at the vineyard. And. Yeah. And you get a glass of wine after you run a 5k. So we’re super excited about that. And that will be in August.”
Whether you’re running through the vines, getting married in the centennial barn or just relaxing with a glass of wine, French Valley Vineyard is a peaceful and versatile venue.
“It’s a magical property,” said Lopata. “It’s a very peaceful place to let your kids run amok and your dogs play. And the wine is just phenomenal. And it’s just, it’s a very quiet venue.”