White Pine Winery

Southwest Michigan Winery and tasting room

White Pine Mid Summer Eve Blog, 2020: A Beautiful Vintage in the Making

July 16, 2020

Dave MillerRieslingJuly2020

I was looking at my last blog, written March 10th, and couldn’t help but wonder at how our lives have changed since then. Whoa! When we learned that we had to close our tasting room with only curbside pickup it was frightening – how long would it last? When would be able to sell wine in the tasting room again? Would we have enough resources to survive?  One of the first things I did was start pruning the vines. Normally I would pay someone for that task but this year I needed to save money. As I worked day after day in the vineyard I remembered how much I enjoy being outdoors during spring. I watched the Sandhill Cranes migrate north along with countless other birds who visited the vineyard on their way north for summer.  I also got reacquainted with my vines and decided to do things a little differently this year to keep up with vineyard tasks. A primary rule of thumb in vineyard work is: do the job on time or it takes twice as long. If one gets behind in the vineyard work the work that needs to be done builds up to the point where you can’t get caught up. Then the fruit quality suffers. I was determined that would not happen this year. So far, so good. The crop looks awesome and the vines are beautiful, having just been hedged. The dry conditions bode well for a great vintage. Dry weather means low disease pressure, low weed pressure, small leaves (meaning open vine canopies), and small berries. Small berries / grapes means high surface to volume ratio which leads to intense wines.  Of course we never know what the vintage will bring until the grapes are harvested and the wine is in the cellar, but I like what I see.

White Pine Early Spring Blog, 2020: Sophie’s VineyardSunsetvyd2042119a

March 10, 2020

Dave Miller

I am writing this blog on my daughter, Sophie’s, 21st birthday. The vineyard on our farm in Lawton is named “Sophie’s Vineyard” after her because it was planted in 1999, the year Sophie was born. Today I am reminded of so many memories of Sophie’s upbringing but, also of the vineyard.

After finishing my PhD in grapevine physiology at MSU, I took a job with St Julian to teach the growers how to grow wine grapes to improve the fruit quality. I wanted to use my own vineyard as a demonstration plot to show the steps of canopy management, crop estimation and adjustment and the nuance of producing top quality wine grapes. I decided that I would plant only vinifera vines when I made the first planting here to show growers how to use VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioned) trellising to grow high quality vinifera.


White Pine Winter Blog

December 20, 2019

It’s a day before the winter solstice and I can finally feel it: things are slowing down and we can rest and reflect. Yeah! It’s been a great year in so many ways. We have made many new friends in the tasting room and shared the message about our old-world style wines. It is satisfying to know there are lots of fans of our wines out there!

The 2019 wines have finished fermenting and are resting after the active phase of fermentation. Red wines will go into barrels soon and the process of Elevage will continue! There is little activity in the winery while the wines rest and mature. We bottled the 2018 Reserve Reds to make room for the 2019’s and we have a new addition to the White Pine family: Borealis Reserve. Borealis is a blend of Teroldego, Marquette and Cabernet franc, mostly from Daddy Long Legs vineyard near Frankfort, Michigan. The wine is still quite young but has been well received since its recent release. Black Cherry, plumb and blueberry aromas and flavors with a hint of truffle, and a luscious, silky, full bodied palate keep customers coming back for more. Stop in and try it or, try our Reserve Red flight of 5 wines for $10.

The vineyard grew back nicely this year and is resting as it gets ready to make another vintage of delicious wine in 2020. We will be adding trellising to our new planting in the spring and looking forward to producing Traminette, Lady Slipper Rose’, Mirage, Chardonnay and Marquette from our own land. That will be followed closely by a new tasting room at the vineyard / winery outside of Lawton, in 2021 if the stars align as hoped. Stay tuned…

Downtown in St Joe, the Christmas shoppers are out, the weather is surprising mild for December, and we are feeling happy! Our daughter, Sophie, is on her way home for the holidays and it will be great to be together again as a family. We know most of you are feeling the same so have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Come see us if you are out as we will be open and pouring wine through January 5th!

White Pine Winter Blog 2020WPReserveReds1219sm

February 14, 2020

by: Dave Miller

I recently attended the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento, California. It is the largest show for the grape and wine industry in North America so it’s the perfect place to learn about what’s new in equipment, wine making and grape growing and, the latest industry trends.  During the conference I heard time and again about the grape-glut that has gripped California (reports are that there is an excess of 30,000 acres of grapes) and, wine sales have stopped growing, a trend that has been ongoing for well over 2 decades.  So what’s going on?

Blame it on millennials.

It's spring time!  TIme to finish pruning the bearing vines and get the young vines ready for the growing season. We cut back the vines to 4 or 5 buds at the base in their 2nd season so they can grow a strong shoot that will become the trunk for the new vine. The grow tubes protect the new growth from wind, deer and weed sprays.  Very soon we will build the trellis for these vines. Stay tuned as we show you their progress this year!



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