MAWBY: From the Ground Up
“Truly, the heart of the wine is of the vine; the soul of the wine is of the people.” – Larry Mawby
We like to say we have a wine for every palate, every celebration. Our bubblies range in style, sweetness, price and packaging. And while we love them all, our Traditional Method, Method Champenoise sparkling wines, hold a special place in our hearts. These wines are truly a taste of place, made from grapes grown in Northern Michigan. They are crafted with care and patience, by our small team. We are proud of these wines, and want to share a little bit moe about them.
Learn more about these wines, from the ground up, below.
The story of our bottle fermented, traditional method sparkling wine starts below the vineyard, over 12,000 years ago. That’s when the last glaciers retreated, leaving behind a mix of sand, gravel and clay.
These types of soil are porous and have low fertility, forcing the vine to send its roots deep, in search of water and nutrients. The dirt makes the vine work and through this struggle, the vine becomes stronger. A stable foundation, upon which grapes can eke out an existence, developing in their fruit rich flavors framed with crisp acids and delicate aromas.
Larry Mawby made a promise when he first planted vines in 1973, to make the best wine he possibly could while respecting Mother Nature. Today, we use several sustainable practices to ensure both the vineyards and the surrounding lands are protected. As of 2020, we are herbicide free in the vineyards we manage. This not only helps our pants, but the cover crops we plant. These are a blend of clover and low growing grasses that outcompete tall growing weeds that would otherwise grow up into the vine. Cover crops also introduce important nutrients into the spoil, further strengthening our vineyards.
In mid to late September, when it is time to harvest, we do so by hand, carefully picking only the best of the best. The grapes are left as whole clusters, and gently pressed using a bladder press. The first juice released from the grapes, the Cuvee, is used for our bottle fermented wines. It is pure, clean and bright, with fresh acidity. The juice goes to the tank where it settles, yeast is added and it ferments, for the first time.
To become bubbly, sparking wine needs to go through a secondary fermentation. The magic here happens in the bottle. Each its own little universe of wine, sugar and yeast, patiently waiting to become Blanc, or Grace, or Talismon. Once the dosage is added, a crown cap is firmly placed on the bottle and they are tucked away in cages. Depending on the final wine, this can be anywhere between 2 and 7 years.
Bottle fermented wines also mean you have options when it comes to the bottles. We put several of our higher end, bottle aged wines into large format bottles, called magnums. Wine in a larger bottle ages differently, due to the surface area and size and the oxygen transfer that happens between the cork and the wine. The bubbles can be more elegant, the mouthfeel richer and they can age even longer than a traditional sized bottle.