Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 North Vines: A Small Winery with Big Flavors

In the last 5 years, sales of wine made in Michigan has increased by 34%. With 2.4 million gallons of wine being produced a year in the state, taking just one day or only a week to celebrate them just wouldn't seem enough. That's why the state has dedicated all of May as Michigan Wine Month.

The Blue Water Area is home to several wineries and we're stopping in to pay a couple of them a visit and share a bit of their story with you. Our stop this time is 3 North Vines.

A quick half hour drive northwest from Port Huron and less than a 5 minute hop from Lexington, 3 North Vines owners Kristi and Nate Shopbell searched around Michigan for several years for the right spot to start growing grapes and start a winery.

After looking at many properties all over the state, they purchased land on Peck Rd in Sanilac county in the fall of 2007. The area was perfect not only because of it's rolling hills and three ponds on the 35 acres of property but also that it's location in the northern part of the Port Huron Moraine which provides a lake effect climate similar to the ones in Michigan's better known wine regions. This climate is integral to creating the distinctively unique flavors in the grape varieties grown they grow. Also, Kristi is a Marine City native and she mentioned to us that it's nice to have family not too far rather than having to drive across the state to visit them.

In 2008, their first vines went in on the property. In 2011 3 North Vines had their first 3 vintages produced and bottled in a repurposed and reclaimed barn on the property. They were a light bodied with great red fruit notes and an oak charactered Pinot Noir, the zesty and crisp Albarino and a fruit forward Pinotage which is a cross in between Pino Noir and Hermitage varieties.

With several windows letting the May sunlight bathe the tasting room in a warm and friendly tone, we took seats at the bar and Kristi served us up some sips of their vintages.

When I mentioned to people that I would be visiting 3 North Vines for an article several of the told me that I HAD to try their Lucky Shoe. It just so happened to be the first thing we did try. It was a great choice to start things off as it fit with the pleasant spring day in the country. Lucky Shoe is a semi-sweet white that's very light and lively. Open a bottle of it on a perfect Michigan summer day and it will possibly make it even more perfect.

All the wines we tried at 3 North Vines were quite flavorful and all with their own particular nuances but the one that captured and delighted my taste buds in a new way was the Marquette. It wasn't a variety I was familiar with but as it seems not many others either yet. The Marquette is a cold-hardy complex hybrid grape that was pat
ented by the University of Minnesota in 2006. It can handle the frigid temperatures that the northern states winter can dish out. 3 North Vines is one of the small number of wineries in the state to be using the grape so far and its popularity is starting to grow. 

The wine the Marquette grape produces is ruby red and color and very juicy on the noise. It's bold but not overbearing flavor is that of refreshing cherries and berries along with light compliments of oak and vanilla. It's a kind of wine that will go excellently with both backyard barbecue burgers or a spendy steak as it does also on a summer evening or a winter day. 

With the warm weather now upon us, you can also enjoy 3 North Vines offerings right out by the vines as the have a patio right out the door of the tasting room. Enjoying a glass of red or white under the shade on a sunny day while enjoying a nice country breeze coming off Lake Huron? There's not much more one could ask for.

3 North Vines is located at
5940 Peck Rd in Croswell, Michigan and is open for the season. They are looking forward to you making them a stop while you're out on the Thumb's Up Wine Trail or just passing the time.

Be sure to try some of their wines at the Thumbs Up Wine Trail Taste Fest 2017 which is happening on May 21st at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron.

Find out more about 3 North Vines at their website and follow them on Facebook too.

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