Custom Crush at French Road Cellars

Chardonnay Vineyard‘Custom crush’ outfit shines from the Traverse City Record-Eagle looks at French Road Cellars, the region’s first custom crush operation. Owner Doug Matthies says:

“I’ve had this idea in mind for a number of years,” Matthies said. “This way we can concentrate solely behind the counter, and not worry about the marketing and the sales and everything … that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.”

Matthies has deep roots in northern Michigan wine. He’s the son of Dan Matthies, owner of Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau, who’s among the pioneers of Leelanau vintners and vineyard sales and development. Doug worked in vineyard management for 20 years, including a stint as vineyard manager for Leelanau Wine Cellars, among Michigan’s top wine producers.

He’s also run his own Big Paw Vineyard Services for the past decade, planting vineyards, building trellises and pruning and maintaining area grape-growing properties.

Matthies combines his experience in vineyard management with Shawn Walters’ knowledge. Walters is a former wine maker for Leelanau Wine Cellars who owns One World Winery, a consulting firm that works with a handful of area wineries. The two offer suggestions and advice based on the fruit that other wine makers bring in and the type of product they want.

“You’ve got to have something good come out on the other end,” Walters said. “That’s a huge part of it.”

You can see some footage from inside in this video.

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