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2021 is finally here and we have much to celebrate!

Not only are we excited for the renewed promise of connecting with our family and friends in person, St. Julian is celebrating its 100th Anniversary! In 1921, Mariano Meconi founded St. Julian on the premise that to be successful, you needed to honor the land, the people in your community, and your family. St. Julian has embraced this ideal in bringing you the best of Michigan in every bottle for 100 years. Current president and 3rd generation family member John Braganini states:

"This is an extremely proud moment for all of us at St. Julian. This milestone is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many people and we are sincerely grateful for all those who have supported us throughout the decades."

While we embrace the past, we are excited to look to the future and all the opportunities yet to come. You, our Wine Club Members, offer us so much inspiration! It is because of you that we continue to invest in new equipment, plant new varieties of grapes, stay innovative with products, and seek out fun ways to connect over wine. Join us throughout the year as we come together to commemorate a century of St. Julian history, while enjoying new spirits, wines, and events! 

We cannot thank you enough for being a part of our family. Cheers to 2021!

Spotlight On
Whiskey Barrel Cab Franc

2018 Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc

What’s in a barrel? It turns out a great deal! One of the biggest tools in a winemaker’s toolbox is the use of different barrels. Wood type, cooperage, level of char and age all contribute greatly to the final wine. Our members continue to influence what we do in the cellar and your love of the whiskey barrel wines has been heard! For the 2018 Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc, barrels were sourced from Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill Distilleries in the heart of Bourbon country in Kentucky. These barrels had been used for aging premium whiskey before making their way to St. Julian, while still wet from the amber spirit. These wines do not taste like whiskey; rather, aging them in these barrels introduces additional intricacies and a bigger, richer texture, not to mention 14% alcohol by volume.

The grapes for this wine were grown by Dan Nitz on his Sol Rouge Vineyard in Baroda. Nancie chose this varietal because, although it’s lighter in style than a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, it has rich cherry and berry flavors and a nice body that can stand up to the heavier influences from the whiskey barrel. Aged in the barrel for 22 months, this wine is packed with a savory flavor of spice and peppered berries complemented with bright fruit. What is most noticeable is the real richness throughout the palate.  Subtle notes of caramel and a creamy vanilla finish add to our enjoyment. This bold wine deserves to be served with all your grilled favorites; steak, burgers, BBQ, and stone fired pizzas. Try it around your winter bonfire with s’mores!

For those who enjoy a little added “umph” to their wine, Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc is a delicious and unique bottle to share with friends. Enjoy one bottle now and one to cellar, as the higher alcohol content will help this wine age beautifully!

Cento

Cento

In 1921, Mariano Meconi founded his winery on the premise that to be successful, you needed to honor the land, the people in your community, and your family. Now run by Mariano’s 3rd and 4th generations, St. Julian Winery has lived up to this ideal for 100 years. As part of this milestone, we are excited to share the new sweet red wine, Cento!

A blend of Rougeon, Marquette, and Chambourcin grapes from the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation, Cento is full of ripe dark berry flavors.  Rougeon lends a brilliant red hue, while Chambourcin gives a herbaceous aroma of eucalyptus. Blueberry, black cherry, and plum flavors also are pronounced from the Chambourcin. These two varieties of hybrid grapes have been favorites in St. Julian winemaking since the 1970s.  The third grape in this blend, Marquette, is a newer hybrid and it’s proving to be an exciting addition to the Michigan wine scene. Related to Pinot Noir, Marquette adds rich black currant and blackberry flavors to the blend. At 6% Residual Sugar, Cento was aged in stainless steel to preserve the fresh fruit flavors and natural sweetness.  

Serve this wine slightly chilled to bring out the fresh fruit flavors, or at room temperature to bring out the more complex herbal tones. Either way, you will love this wine paired with burgers, venison, or red pasta dishes. Pizza with Italian herbs and roasted vegetables, charcuterie, spicy sausage stew, or pastry-wrapped brie cheese with berry jam and salty crackers are just some options to enjoy with this beautiful wine!

100 Years of St. Julian Wine Artistry

Mariano

1921

Italian Immigrant Mariano Meconi started Border City Wine Cellars in Windsor, Ontario.  Using native grapes, he was able to make wines that were for “sacramental purposes.” Prohibition in the United States inspired his entrepreneurial spirit and he became creative in distributing his wines across the Detroit River. A 1929 Everroot motor on a rowboat was used for stealth crossings of the river to the thousands of blind pigs and speakeasies in Detroit.  Mariano was able to successfully grow his business during this time.   

19311933

On April 10th, Michigan became the first state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment proposed by Congress to end prohibition. Prohibition officially ended on December 5, 1933! 

19331934

Mariano moved his winery to Detroit and called it the Meconi Wine Company. Native American grapes, like Concord and Niagara, were trucked to the winery from the thriving vineyards in Southwest Michigan. The trip across the state could take up to 12 hours one way. 

19361936

Tired of receiving fruit that was less than fresh due to the long journey, Mariano moved his winery to Paw Paw, MI in order to be in the heart of the southwest Michigan fruit belt; where the best grapes were grown.  He renamed his winery the Italian Wine Co. Wines continued to center around the Native American varietals and sweet fortified wines like Port.  

19411941

WWII broke out and the US entered the international conflict. Due to the Anti- Italian Fascist sentiment, Mariano strategically renamed the winery for the final time to St. Julian. In the last name change, Mariano paid homage to the patron saint of his native village Faleria, Italy. All Italian villages have patron saints and San Giuliano (St. Julian) stands as the saint that protects the village and citizens of Faleria.  

19461946

With the end of WWII, there is much to celebrate! St. Julian continues to pave the way in the Michigan wine industry by adding new Charmat tanks for sparkling wine  and non-alcoholic juice production.  

19491949

St. Julian opens the first tasting room in the state of Michigan at the winery in Paw Paw. With wine for the parents, sparkling juice for the kids, and tours of the facility, the tasting room right off the highway became a favorite family stop.  

19701970

The consumption of table wine surpasses the consumption of sweet wine for the first time in the nation’s history. Mariano’s son-in-law, Apollo Braganini, is now the president of St. Julian and he recognizes the importance of broadening the grape varieties grown in southwest Michigan. St. Julian begins a major joint venture with local growers to plant French American hybrid grapes with the intention of crafting drier style wines. These varieties, such as Chambourcin, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, and Chancellor were planted to withstand the colder temperature of the Midwest. 

19731973

St. Julian’s Solera System (a three-tier system) was created to mature our award-winning Sherry. In this traditional aging process, the bottom tier holds wine ready to be bottled. A fraction of this layer is removed from the barrel and replaced with the same amount of wine from the middle tier, blending older and newer wine together. Solera becomes St. Julian’s most awarded product!  

19831983

Following the death of Mariano in 1980, and the retirement of Apollo in 1983, Mariano’s grandson, David Braganini, takes over as President of the winery. His passion for St. Julian and Michigan wine propels the entire industry forward. St. Julian is instrumental in the establishment of the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation, a premier grape growing region in the state of Michigan. The Frankenmuth Winery is started (1981). 

19951995

St. Julian's cellar master at the time Larry Gilbert, and David travel to Germany to learn the fine art of brandy making. While there, they purchase a Christian Carl Copper Still to begin producing brandy using Southwest Michigan fruit. St. Julian becomes the first distillery in the state of Michigan! 

19981998

St. Julian is awarded the Tasters Guild International Winery of the Year award, making it the first time a winery ever received this award outside of California and France.  Impressive isn't it!

19991999

The Braganini Reserve line is “born” to highlight the great European vinifera that is now growing in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA; Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc are some of the first varieties made into this premium line of wines. 

20072007

David and his brother, John Braganini, purchase an old 20-acre peach orchard in Coloma, located in the heart of the Lake Michigan Shore AVA. This becomes St. Julian’s vineyard named Mountain Road Estate Vineyard. At this location they plant Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. Eventually Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Sangiovese would be added. Wines from this vineyard are some of the most prized and awarded wines from the state.  

20102010

Nancie Oxley joins St. Julian in 2002 and in 2010 is appointed to head Winemaker.  This makes her the first female winemaker in the state of Michigan! Joined by Kyle Totzke as Assistant Winemaker in 2016, this winemaking team continues to create award winning wines, ciders, and spirits for every palate!

20162016

Following David Braganini’s death, his brother, John Braganini, takes over as St. Julian President. Under his direction, St. Julian continues to grow and push the envelope in what makes great Michigan wine. St. Julian remains a family run winery with John’s wife, Sarah, and sons, Apollo and Dario Braganini, taking on integral responsibilities.            

20212021

For 100 years, St. Julian has been a true Michigan gem! As the oldest and largest winery in the state, Mariano’s family continues his commitment to using local fruit and bringing out the best of Michigan in every bottle. Through continued innovations and investments in equipment, vineyards, grape varieties, winemaking techniques, facilities, and team members, St. Julian Winery and Distillery will be crafting noteworthy wine and spirits for generations to come. Cheers to 100 years!  

Wine Club 101s

Wine Club members are invited to join us for free to taste and learn about the wines you love in a fun and relaxed setting. Each month will focus on a different topic. 2 people per membership. RSVPs are required by calling your local tasting room. Space is limited due to social distancing requirements. *All dates subject to change due to Covid.

As the governor’s restrictions are adjusted, we will be posting events for each tasting room location on our website and on Facebook, so please stay tuned. We have MANY amazing experiences in the works for our members!  

Residual Sugar

Residual sugar and Brix are winemaking terms used to reference sweetness levels. Come explore what these terms mean, how Brix and Residual Sugar are measured, and the differences these numbers mean for the wine that’s in your glass.

March 18th, 6:00 pm - Paw Paw
March 24th, 6:00 pm - Rockford
March 24th, 6:00 pm - Troy
March 24th, 6:00 pm - Frankenmuth
March 24th, 7:00 pm - Dundee
March 25th, 6:00 pm - Union Pier
March 25th, 6:00 pm - Paw Paw
March 31st, 6:00 pm - Rockford

100 Years of St. Julian

Founded in 1921, St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest winery and has been integral in the development of the MI wine industry. Join us as we taste through the history of St. Julian. It’s a fascinating story and one we are proud to share with you!

April 14th, 6:00 pm - Rockford
April 14th, 6:00 pm - Troy
April 14th, 6:00 pm - Frankenmuth
April 14th, 7:00 pm - Dundee
April 15th, 6:00 pm - Union Pier
April 15th, 6:00 pm - Paw Paw
April 21st, 6:00 pm - Rockford
April 22nd, 6:00 pm - Paw Paw

Mark Your Calendars for Our Next Case Sale!

March 5th-7th

In all tasting rooms and for online orders. Wine Club members receive 25% OFF 12 or more bottles; mix and match welcome! Penny shipping when you order in increments of 12!

Winter Recipe Pairings
BBQ Bite

Easy BBQ Bites

Pair with: Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc
 

This easy small bite has a nice smoky flavor that will complement the whiskey notes of the wine.

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork 
  • 1 bottle of your favorite hickory smoked BBQ sauce 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 bag of tortilla chips shaped like little bowls
  • crumbled goat cheese 
  • fresh chopped parsley

In a medium pan, cook beef or pork until it’s no longer pink and fully cooked. Drain off excess grease. Season with salt and pepper and then add ½ to ¾ jar of your favorite BBQ sauce. Heat again. Lay out chips on a serving platter in a single layer. Add a small scoop of the meat to fill each tortilla chip cup. Top with crumbled goat cheese and parsley and serve!

Apricot Bite

Blue Cheese Apricot Bites

Pair with: Frostbite
 

The sweet caramelized flavors of the dried apricot mirror the dried fruit characters of the wine. Blue cheese is a natural to pair with Frostbite, as the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese balances with the honeyed sweetness of this late harvest wine.

  • 2 teaspoons butter 
  • 2 tablespoons whole walnuts 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary 
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese 
  • 1 ounce cream cheese 
  • 16 dried apricots

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook for 2 minutes or until walnuts are lightly toasted. Stir in ½ teaspoon of the rosemary. Cook for 30 seconds more and then transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet to cool. Combine blue cheese and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Spoon about ¾ teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of each apricot. Top with a walnut and drizzle with honey. Garnish with additional rosemary if desired. 

Important May Wine Club Dates
  • April 19th – 29th: Special request orders and additional wines will be added to your order and processed.  Wines will ship as they are processed unless you make other arrangements. You can change your shipping address, billing information or add wines to your order any time before your order processes. Please keep in mind, once your order processes, we cannot guarantee your requests. You MUST CONTACT WINE CLUB to make any changes or additions to your order information.
  • May 1st: All Will Call orders Charged
  • May 1st: May Wine Club Newsletter emailed to you
  • May 2nd: Starting now, Will Call orders available for pick up
  • May 2nd-4th: All shipping orders charged
  • May 5th- 6th: All regular shipping orders packed and shipped

*Dates subject to change. Keep an eye out for an email in April confirming these dates.

What We Are Drinking in February
Cassandra

Join our Wine Club Director, Cassandra, as she highlights some of the new wines for February!

Sweet Wine Highlights Dry Wine Highlights

Vineyard Select

2018 Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc
2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc 
Tre Red Blend 
2020 WMS Blaufrankisch Rosé
2018 Sol Rouge Cabernet Franc
Mayhem White Blend 

Vineyard Select Red

2018 Whiskey Barrel Cab Franc
Tre Red Blend 
2018 Sol Rouge Cabernet Franc
2018 WMS Merlot/Cabernet Franc
Tre Red Blend 
2018 Sol Rouge Cabernet Franc 

Vineyard Select White

2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc
Mayhem White Blend 
2018 Unoaked Chardonnay 
2019 BR Traminette 
Mayhem 
2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc 

Sweeter Harvest

Frostbite 
Cento 
2019 BR LaCrescent 
Flirt 
2019 BR LaCrescent
Cento 

Perfectly Paired

Cento 
2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc
2019 BR LaCrescent 
2018 Whiskey Barrel Cabernet Franc
Frostbite 
Tre Red Blend 

Perfectly Paired White

Frostbite
2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc 
2019 BR La Crescent 
Mayhem
White Blend 
2019 BR LaCrescent 
2020 BR Sauvignon Blanc 

READ ABOUT A WINE YOU DIDN’T RECEIVE?

Wine Club members have access to any wine, in any club, if available. Call to check availability 800.732.6002 ext 785. Seasons change and so do our tastes. If you see a club that looks more tempting, call now to change before May's shipment!

Contact Wine Club