Archive for January, 2010

French Road Cellars in Wines & Vines!
January 19, 2010

Wines & Vines has a feature on the new French Road Cellars in Lake Leelanau, Michigan, Michigan’s first custom-crush winery owned by Doug and Laura Matthies:

Because his background is more oriented to viticulture, Matthies works closely with Shawn Walters, owner of One World Winery Consulting. In response to a question concerning his winemaking background, Walters, who began working in wineries 18 years ago as a cellar rat, noted, “I’ve learned in the school of hard knocks—no formal training, just 18 crushes.” He was winemaker and vineyard manager at Leelanau Wine Cellars for a number of years before deciding he preferred making “artisan wines” for smaller, boutique wineries. He now consults for a number of northern Michigan wineries.

French Road Cellars is designed to be a 20,000-case facility. It currently has cooperage for 6,000 cases, with stainless steel tanks on order for another 4,000 cases, in order to handle the anticipated volume during harvest in 2010. Its equipment includes a Milani destemmer-crusher that is designed to destem grapes while leaving the berries whole; a Enoveneta bladder press; and a Fimer nine-spout bottling line that can handle 400 cases per day with either a cork or screwcap finish. The press has a capacity of 3 tons.

Walters sees French Road Cellars as a great opportunity for the local wine industry. “We can help smaller growers be successful in getting into the business of making wine,” Walters stated. “They can bring us the fruits of their labors, and we can help them produce clean, well-made, varietally expressive wines.”