With the weather turning warmer and spring buds popping all around, our minds turn towards summer vacations and lazy days in the sun. We are happy to forget the harsh weather from this past winter. As any farmer will tell you, harvest is what happens in the vineyard year round. Though winter may be gone, it’s not forgotten. With each unique vintage, the wines are influenced by many things, and the biggest of those is the whims of Mother Nature.
After a mild December, Michigan experienced extreme cold events in January 2019. These “Polar Vortex” events existed when a mass of frigid polar air plunged southward bringing very cold temperatures. Here in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, a low-pressure system and winter storm passed through and brought a severe cold snap with temperatures dipping between -10 F to -15 F for over six days. These temperatures are simply too cold for many of the tender European vinifera vines (vines like Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris) to survive without some major damage. Site selection is a crucial factor in successful vineyard production, and our Mountain Road Estate Vineyard continues to fair well, even during these harsh conditions. Located at one of the highest points in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, this vineyard’s elevation and slope help protect the vines from extreme weather. Vine assessment in April found that there was damage to the European vinifera grown there, but it was not as bad as expected. With adjusted pruning (and fingers crossed- no spring frost damage), we should have close to a normal crop of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon at Mountain Road.
These extreme temperatures also highlight the importance of growing different types of grape vines. Thankfully, we have many growers who have planted hybrid grapes that are cold hardy, like Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc, Traminette and Chancellor. These varieties are looking great so far this spring. Also, grapes that are native to the region are better able to tolerate extreme temperatures, so we expect to have plenty of Concord, Niagara, and Catawba.
St. Julian is committed to using Pure Michigan fruit, which although challenging at times, continues to keep us experimenting and innovating. We are always planning ahead and can maximize our local resources by continuing to plant more and more vineyards, and our growers are highly skilled at producing the best fruit possible. Through the use of the latest technological advances and sustainable practices in the industry, we can continue creating high-quality Michigan wine, even under the toughest conditions. That being said, we are really happy to say goodbye to this past winter, and hello to the beautiful buds of spring.
Oh how we love our rosé wine! While we think every season is rosé season, there is something about the weather turning warmer and the sun shining brighter that makes us gravitate towards these light and fruity wines.
The 2018 SJ Chambourcin Rosé is made in the Saignée (pronounced sohn-yay) style. Saignée means “to bleed” and describes a method of rosé making where a portion of the juice is bled off the grape skins after a short amount of time. All grape juice is white in color. The color of the wine comes from contact with the skins after the grapes are crushed. The shorter the contact with the skins, the lighter the color. For this Chambourcin Rosé, the juice was in contact with the beautiful red grape skins for only one hour, giving it a beautiful translucent color. Chambourcin grapes have a high amount of pigment in their skins, so even with such short skin to juice contact time, the color extracted is stunning. The rosé juice was then fermented into wine and aged in stainless steel. This created an easy drinking wine that is light on the palate with bright, crisp flavors.
Bursting with aromas of freshly picked cherries, this rosé has fresh fruit flavors of strawberry and raspberry. Rosé wines are in general, very food friendly. Almost anything you have at your summer picnic or BBQ will taste delicious with this wine. Enjoy it best chilled or frozen with a splash of lemonade. At 0.1% Residual Sugar, this refreshing wine is simply “ joy” in a glass. Cheers to warmer days and patio parties with the new Chambourcin Rosé. As we like to say; seize the day, then sip rosé!
At St. Julian, we love creating delicious new wines for our sweet drinkers, like this brand new blend featuring Cherry wine and Sweet Riesling. St. Julian has a long history of producing award-winning Cherry and Riesling wines; so creating a new wine out of these two fruits was a perfect way to honor and celebrate May, which is Michigan Wine Month.
The Cherry wine in this blend was created from Montmorency, Meteor and Balleton cherries sourced from Oxley Farms in Lawton; just 3 miles from the winery. The combination of sweetness and tartness is a true showcase of Michigan’s most abundant fruit. St. Julian’s Cherry Wine is known for its intense cherry pie flavors, subtle earthiness and a touch of spice, which you will find in this wine.
Riesling grapes continue to be the state’s calling card when it comes to top quality European varietals. For this wine, Riesling grapes were sourced from the Nitz vineyards in Baroda. The warm sunny days and cool evening tempertures of the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation create ideal conditions to build intense sweet tropical flavors balanced by the perfect amount of acidity.
Pair these two Michigan rockstars together and you have the perfect summertime wine. St. Julian’s Cherry Riesling captures the Riesling’s delicate tropical fruit sweetness and refreshing acidity and mingles it with the Cherry’s complex fruity flavors. Perfect served alongside your warm weather BBQ, this will be your new go-to summer easy drinking wine!
& our Winemaker, Nancie Oxley will answer.
More and more people are realizing what we have known all along; that in addition to fantastic sweet wines, St. Julian also makes amazing dry wines! We are proud to offer club options for every taste preference but the demand sometimes outweighs our available resources. We think our dry red wine drinkers will appreciate the following reasons for temporarily needing to cap our DRY REDclub.
In our commitment to using only locally sourced grapes from the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, we won’t bring in grapes from other regions to blend with our wine. The grapes that we use to make many of our reserve reds are European Vinifera; grapes like Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. These grapes are much more difficult and expensive to work with because they are not native to the region. Therefore, we don’t have as many acres planted as our more weather hardy native varieties. We are planting more! They just aren’t ready to contribute to our bottle numbers. We know you have come to appreciate our cool climate wines’ lighter style, lower alcohol and bright flavors and you can be assured that your Wine Club wines are Pure Michigan reds.
That being said, you can also understand the challenge this creates in that we can only make wine from what we have harvested. We don’t have an unlimited supply or grapes, as much as we wish we did! This becomes even more challenging when faced with harsh weather conditions like this year, where many of these European varieties were damaged. This has especially affected our red varieties. In order to make sure that we have enough of the best quality Pure Michigan reds to share, we have found it necessary to temporarily cap our Vineyard Select Dry Red Club. Our regular Vineyard Select Club ( which highlights dry red, white and rosé wines) is still open for enrollment; and we will still have reserve reds to share with all of you. We just won’t have as many of those smaller lot, limited production reds to go around to everyone. If you would like to be put on the waitlist for our Dry Red Club (VSR), please contact the Wine Club office. Priority will ALWAYS go to existing members. We love that there is such a demand and we promise to keep planting more for you!
Northern California & Portugal
Wine Club members are invited to join Assistant Winemaker, Kyle Totzke, as he travels around Northern California’s Wine Country. Your trip will start in San Francisco. From there, you will travel up the coast into the famed Napa and Sonoma wine regions, where Kyle spent his winemaking internship. He’s excited to take you to some of his favorite wineries in his old stomping ground. Amazing food, delicious wines, and breathtaking scenery will be everywhere you go on this exclusive trip! The trip is filling so call now!
For details and complete itinerary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 269-657-5529
Join Winemaker, Nancie Oxley, on an exclusive member tour of sunny Portugal! Explore the wine regions of this beautiful coastal country known for its olive trees, country estates, and spectacular shoreline. Tour the very cork farm that St. Julian gets its corks from and learn about this very important local industry. Ancient castles, groves of lemon and almond trees, delicious local cuisine and world-class wines await you on this once in a lifetime trip!
For details and complete itinerary, please email email@example.com or call 269-657-5529
PERFECT FOR THE BEACH, BOAT, AND PICNICS.
Canned wine is everywhere and for good reason! While Europeans have been drinking wines in cans for years, canned wines are just now really getting popular state side There are a number of advantages to canned wine and we are excited to offer you four of St. Julian’s favorites in this alternative packaging. Also, look for a dry rose’ coming in the future!
Advantage #1: Canned wines can go places that glass is prohibited; like concerts in the park, at the beach, on the boat or by the pool. They are perfect for on the go!
Advantage #2: Canned wines chill faster.
Advantage #3: Each can is 375 mL (just over 12 ounces), which equals about two glasses of wine. So friends can share a glass together without having to open an entire bottle.
Advantage #4: Canned wines have a lower carbon footprint by reducing weight and promoting more efficient recycling.
Every quarter, we are excited to share with you the latest new release wines. These can be new vintages of favorite varietals, new blends or totally new wines using unique winemaking techniques or first-time grape varieties. There is so much thought, care, hard work and passion that goes into creating wines for our members each quarter!
So what is the process we go through to produce new wines, and how can something like a government shutdown throw a wrench in our plans? During our wine selection meetings, the winemaking, production and wine club teams meet to plan for the upcoming shipments. Much is determined by what mother-nature gave to us in terms of grapes harvested and production numbers for available wines. How do the new vintages of our single varietal wines, like Sauvignon Blanc and Late Harvest Riesling, look this year? Are there some new blends that the winemakers want to create? Are there new varietals that are going to a bottle for the first time? Are there some special barrels that the team wants to bottle separately? Then how many of each wine do we need for each club? All of this requires a lot of hard work, preparation (and tasting!) to make sure that we have the best new wines to share each quarter.
Once we decide on the wine that’s going into the bottle, we need to determine the labeling needs. Often times, it’s just a matter of a new vintage. For example, this quarter we have the 2018 BR Grüner Veltliner. Last year, we had the 2017 BR Grüner Veltliner. The only thing that is changing on the label is the year. Easy!
The creative juices really get flowing when crafting new wines with new names. First, we come up with the concept based off of new wine flavors and blends. From the concept, we determine what the new wine will be called. This information is then given to the marketing team to design the label. Once the label is created, the design is sent to a branch of the government for approval.
All new wine labels require federal approval by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Each label is required to have Information like whether it’s a single varietal or proprietary blend, the alcohol percentage, the growing region, who the wine is produced and bottled by; as well, as appropriate government warnings. The label approval process usually takes 2 weeks. No approval, no label, and no new wine. You can imagine how the government shutdown back in January 2019 had us nervous, as we were waiting on several label approvals. Wines like the new Cherry Riesling, Black Label Gewurztraminer Riesling, and Chambourcin Rosé all needed label approvals before they could be bottled. Once the shutdown was over, the approval process started up again. With TTB approvals in hand, the labels can be ordered and back at the winery 2-3 weeks later, ready for bottling. When it comes to creating new wines, there are many moving parts and the whole process is fascinating! Do you have an idea for a wine you would like to see? Head Games and Envy were actually Wine Club member Jodie Kurburski’s ideas. Become a part of the process by submitting your ideas to Wine Club! You could come up with the next big thing!
Food & Wine together is truly divine.
1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
20 small mozzarella balls
Fresh basil for garnish
Balsamic Reduction for drizzle garnish
Wooden appetizer skewers
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. Honey
Combine over low heat until starts to simmer. Gently cook until it reduces by half, about 15 minutes. Onto small wooden cocktail skewers, thread prosciutto, mozzarella, and melon cubes. Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped basil and drizzle with Balsamic Reduction. Enjoy as an easy appetizer or light dinner with a side salad along with our 2018 Chambourcin Rosé - a fruity dry rosé is the perfect complement to this sweet and salty appetizer.
4 (4oz.) salmon fillets
1 cup sweet chili sauce, plus extra for topping
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 limes, sliced
Place the salmon in a bowl and season with salt & pepper. Cover with sweet chili sauce and toss to coat. Place fish in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil and cooking spray. Turn on the oven’s broiler on High and position the top oven rack 5” – 6” below the heat source. Broil the fish for 6-8 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once. Remove from the oven and brush each piece with more sweet chili sauce. Return to the oven and broil another 3-5 minutes, or until the salmon has been caramelized. Top with sesame seeds, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve with our 2018 Cherry Riesling - The spicy sweetness of the sauce will complement the sweetness of this late harvest wine, and the slight acidity of the wine will pair well with the richness of the salmon.
Great Wines for Great Times
SWEETER HARVEST- 2018 SJ Reserve Cherry Riesling, Blueberry Wine, 2018 Gewurzt/ Riesling, 2018 SJ Late Harvest Chardonnay, Social Butterfly,
PERFECTLY PAIRED - 2018 BR Grüner Veltliner, 2018 SJ Reserve Cherry Riesling, 2018 Chambourcin Rose’, 2018 Gewurzt/ Riesling, 2018 BR Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 SJ Late Harvest Chardonnay
VINEYARD SELECT - 2018 BR Grüner Veltliner, 2018 Chambourcin Rose’, 2018 BR Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 BR Tempranillo, 2018 Tempranillo Rose’, 2017 Single Barrel Syrah
VINEYARD SELECT RED - 2017 BR Tempranillo, 2017 Chancellor/Chambourcin, 2016 Single Barrel Merlot, 2017 Double Barrel Marquette, 2017 BR Tempranillo, 2017 Single Barrel Syrah
PERFECTLY PAIRED WHITE - 2018 BR Grüner Veltliner 2018 Gewurtz/ Riesling, 2018 BR Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 SJ Late Harvest Chardonnay, 2018 BR Grüner Veltliner, 2018 Gewurzt/ Riesling
Read about a wine you didn’t receive? See a club that looks more tempting? Wine Club members have access to any wine, in any shipment, if available, and you can change your club you are in. Call to check availability of wines or to change clubs before August’ shipment! 800.732.6002 ext. 785 firstname.lastname@example.org