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Jun 30, 2023 • 2 min read

Meet Mike, our New Vineyard Manger

Where are you from?

I was born in Ohio and grew up Grosse Pointe Farms, a suburb of Detroit. I lived in southern California for a few years and had a short stint on the Big Island of Hawaii before returning to Michigan with my lovely bride.

How did you find your way to Northern Michigan?

I've always wanted to live in Leelanau. I have family in Sutton's Bay and we would come up and visit them growing up and spent summers working on a farm in Cedar while I was in school. I love it here! On the first date with my wife she asked me what I wanted in life, and I told her 40 acres and a homestead in Leelanau County. Well, we ended up with 20 and that's more than enough!

Do you have a favorite wine memory?

My favorite wine memory is probably from a trip to France my wife and I went on. We stayed in Bordeaux for a few nights and were fortunate enough to get a vineyard and winery tour with a woman whose family had had a chateau there for goodness knows how many generations. It was really cool being able to walk the vineyard and ask her questions and climb up on top of the big concrete tanks and pull samples like they've been doing for years and years. Getting fully immersed in the tradition and history on that visit really gave me perspective and excited me about wine.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I like a lot about this job, but my favorite thing is that I feel like I'm a protective father of the vines. I help them grow, nurture them, and protect them from things that would hurt them. There's so much to learn, everything is always changing, and it is really exciting to be part of making world class wines.

What is the most interesting grape to grow?

The most interesting grapes to grow are the Pinots, in my opinion. They're all related, and sometimes you can find a few grapes in a cluster of Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris that has reverted back to Pinot Blanc. Sometimes there are individual grapes themselves that are half Pinot Noir and half Pinot Blanc!

What should we be growing more of?

I would like it if we grew more Blaufrankish. It's a great grape that makes wonderful red wine or rose, and it's one that we can ripen fully here. Wine is a place and time in a bottle. The same grape grown in different places or on different years makes a different wine, and I think Blaufrankish plays well to our strengths and would do so year after year.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my spare time I like to brew beer, play board or card games, listen to music and read. The reading spills over into working in the vineyard, and I'm often listening to an audiobook while in the tractor or pruning.

Welcome Mike! Maybe we should start a MAWBY book club....

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