Northern Michigan has offered the best of a vacation end point for three generations of Grossnickles. The Traverse City area provides the midwest with perhaps the best in hiking, swimming, boating, golfing, and a just plain relaxing atmosphere for all ages. And hence, was visited almost every year since the sixties.After leaving the U.S. Navy and establishing an ophthalmology practice in Indiana, we as a family re-acquainted ourselves with the area and bought a lake front property on Little Traverse Lake in Leelanau County in 1983. At the time, there were only a few wineries in the area and, since that time, we have seen the industry flourish and gain respect across the country. As the cherry capitol of the U.S. and its unique peninsular micro-climate, Leelanau County truly is capable of growing vinifera grapes just as much as another area along the 45th parallel 4500 miles to the east, Bordeaux, France. After the head of the California State Fair wine judges, Maynard Johnston, an old high school friend, confirmed the quality of wine production in Leelanau County, it only seemed reasonable to start a winery. With the help of John Peppler, a realtor in the county, a perfect piece of Leelanau, the 100-acre Dean Robb farm was purchased in 2006.
The 45th parallel passes directly through the vineyard and hence the name of the fourteenth winery in the county, Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery. A total of 37 acres of grapes have been planted along with three acres of red raspberries. A state of the art production facility was built that can accommodate a 20,000 case per year production. David Hill is the Winemaker, Alanna Grossnickle is the General Manager, and Channing Sutton is the Tasting Room Manager. As we enter our third year in production, we're proud to say many of our wines have already won many gold, double gold, best of class, and best white wine awards in several competitions and it's our goal to carry this momentum for years to come.
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