' St. Julian Winery - In the Vineyard

In the Vineyard

In the Vineyard

Grape Varietals

St. Julian works with over 30 growers in Southwest Michigan to grow and produce several different varieties of grapes. The grapes are located within a 45 mile radius of Paw Paw, qualifying them to the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation.

St. Julian utilizes three types of grapes varieties
- Vitis vinifera (which originated in Europe )
- native American
- hybrids

Hybridization, the result of cross breading native American and Vitis vinifera, produces varieties which can survive the cold Michigan winters and reduces disease pressures which make high quality wines.

At St. Julian we use the following type of grapes:




  • Cabernet franc
  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Chambourcin
  • Chancellor
  • DeChanuac
  • Marechal Foch
  • Merlot
  • Pinot noir
  • Rougeon
  • Syrah
  • Zweigelt
  • Cayuga
  • Chardonel
  • Chardonnay
  • Niagara
  • Pinot gris
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Seyval blanc
  • Traminette
  • Vidal blanc
  • Vignoles
  • Catawba



Fresh and fully ripened wine grapes are preferred as raw material for wine making. In cool climates, as in northern Europe and the eastern United States, however, lack of sufficient heat to produce ripening may necessitate harvesting the grapes before they reach full maturity. The resulting sugar deficiency may be corrected by direct addition of sugar or by the addition of a grape juice concentrate. Grapes that are allowed to reach full maturity on the vine or that are partially dried by exposure to sun after harvesting are high in sugar content as a result of natural moisture loss.

Special methods, employed to produce these wines include the addition of sulfur dioxide, the use of small fermenting vessels during processing, or the use of cool temperatures – the objective being to stop the fermentation before all the sugar is fermented.

Because of the effect upon grape composition, proper timing of the harvest is of great importance. Premature harvesting results in thin, low-alcohol wines; very late harvesting may yield high-alcohol, low-acid wines.

Harvesting may be completed in one picking or in several. The grape clusters are cut from the vine and placed in buckets or boxes and then transferred to large containers for transport to the winery. Mechanical harvesting systems based on shaking the berries from the cluster or on breaking stems are widely used.

The mechanical harvesting machine straddles the vine row and shakes the trunks, while slapping at the extremities of the vine with flexible paddles or striker bars. The grapes fall onto conveyor belts, which carry them from ground level to a chute and pass a fan that blows away all loose leaves and then into an attached to a hopper in the next row.

At the winery the grapes may be dumped directly into the crusher or may be unloaded into a sump and carried to the crusher by a continuous conveyor system.