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Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Alaina Dodds
 
July 2, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

The Dirty Truth About Vines

A couple months ago, we had soil (and all things wine) extraordinaire, Dave Bos, come out to our vineyards to talk dirty to us. He spoke with our staff on the value of high-quality soil, soil composition and how it affects our plant growth, grape development and ultimately, how much it matters for quality wine. It was very enlightening! Then last week, he was so kind to come out again to teach us about the actual plant growth itself, the lifecycle of vinifera grapes. We learned a ton and I wanted to share a recap of that here.  

Healthy Soil

The health of our vines depends directly on the health of the soil. Our focus is on treating the soil with care so that it can provide solid vine growth. Healthy land means happier vines which translates to higher quality grapes. Each of our vines is handled individually 10-12 times per year, which means that they get a lot of personal attention. If we didn’t pay such close attention to our vines, they would naturally grow into a bushy mess of leaves and branches. Meticulous pruning helps the vines stay nice and organized with their energy focused on growing impeccable grapes.  

The soil we have is sandy loam. Sandy loam is in between sand and silt in the soil texture triangle.  

Sandy loam is porous, so it drains easily, which is important here due to the amount of rain we do get. The soil structure will and can change the growth of the vines. When combined with other healthy biodiverse strategies, the entire environment, which makes up the terroir, becomes energized to produce better quality grapes, that stand out in the wine. We believe it's one of the reasons that BHV produces outstanding wines year after year. 

Grapevines are perennial plants, meaning that they grow in spring, bloom over summer, then die back over the winter months, and then repeats its cycle from its rootstock the following spring. I found this diagram of the yearly lifecycle of a grapevine from Wine Folly. I love it!

Depending on the weather, bud break here typically starts mid-June and this is where 100% of the vine is focused on growing. Then it will self-pollinate and flower where we will remove the leaves from the fruit zone to enhance direct sun exposure to the fruit, then fruit set (grapes) and then veraison (the grapes will change color and sweeten). Once veraison starts, 100% of the plant’s energy will move toward veraison and the vines themselves will quit growing. We are constantly pruning our vines (hedging, removing suckers, leafing) to keep the energy where it needs to be. We’ve had a cool and rainy season so far, so bud break was a bit behind schedule. But the good news is, veraison is what determines harvest, not bud break. So, fingers crossed for a long and hot fall! 

Time Posted: Jul 2, 2019 at 12:50 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
June 25, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

Riesling Roundtable

Last night I participated in a Riesling Roundtable discussion put on by Michigan Wine Collaborative and joined by myself, Chateau Chantal, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Amoritas Vineyards and St. Julian Winery. It was an online conversation on Twitter talking all things Michigan Riesling and it was so fun! I thought I’d break down the conversation into our talking points and share them here.  

Here’s what we discussed: 

What makes Riesling a good variety for Michigan vineyards? 

 

It’s cold hardy so it can survive in cold temperatures in Winter. It blooms late, like Pinot Noir, so it doesn’t get frosted if we get cool nights in Spring. It likes our cool growing region and historically it grows in similar climates throughout the world. Riesling does well in sandy, clay and gravel soil compositions, which is what we have – the proximity to water helps as well to regulate the temperature. Because Riesling likes to grow here, can be made into a wide variety of styles and gets a decent cropping year after year, it’s a great crop for farmers – environmentally and economically. 

Riesling has transparency that reflects where it’s grown – there’s no hiding the terroir! What better way to show off Riesling than in Northern Michigan! 

What is the most notable characteristic of a Riesling fermentation? 

 

Acidity lays the foundation and balance of the wine and is more important than anything because it dictates how the wine will be. Our cool nights here slow down the ripeness of the grapes so we can keep the acidity longer (which is a good thing!).  

A characteristic that shows particularly well in our Riesling wines is the floral spice. When tasting through the various Rieslings from different wineries last night, there were several people mentioning the spice that they detected in Old Mission Peninsula wines that wasn’t apparent in wine from Leelanau Peninsula. I just think that is so fascinating: the same style wine grown just a few miles away has a distinct flavor profile.  

The stone fruit and aromatics are the fun and pretty side of Rieslings grown in this area. 

What are some of the challenges that come with making different styles of Riesling? 

 

A major challenge that we run into in the Tasting Room is people’s perception that all Rieslings are sweet. A lot of people are not aware that Riesling is the diamond of grapes, meaning it is multi-faceted. Currently, we have SIX Rieslings on our menu ranging from very dry to very sweet and everything in between, including a sparkling Riesling.  

Another challenge is educating people on how well a Riesling can age. Because Rieslings are so bright and pretty when they are young, people love to drink them right away. But, if you don’t let some of your Rieslings age, you are missing out on a delicious experience. Over time, Riesling can show off a wide array of flavors. Few people get to enjoy an older Riesling because they are so enjoyable when they are young. Pulling library wines to show the full depth and complexity of different vintages of the same wine (called a vertical tasting) is where a Tasting Room can really educate and open the minds of the consumer.  

Key Takeaway: Save your Rieslings, they are MAGICAL when they are older. 

How long has MI been growing Riesling? 

 

Our first Riesling plants were planted in 1991 and our first bottle was produced in 1994 (yes, it takes THAT LONG to get a bottle of wine). We were the second wave of Riesling being planted. The first in our area was Chateau Grand Traverse who started growing vinifera grapes in the 70’s. 

Which Rieslings are most popular in Tasting Room? Direct to Consumer? Retail? 

 

Our Late Harvest style Rieslings (Late Harvest and Medium Sweet) are still the most popular across the board with distribution and in our Tasting Room, but the wine that is growing more and more in sales each year is our Medium Dry. Hopefully this means we are cracking the bias that all Riesling wines are sweet.  

Our most awarded white wine is our Block II, which is our driest Riesling. Not only is it our most awarded white wine, it is one of the most awarded Rieslings in the whole country. Have you tried it yet?  

What do you do in the Vineyards to make Rieslings stand out in the glass? Tasting Room? Cellar?

 

Vineyards: We do not over grow our Riesling plants. We do VSP (vertical shoot positioning) and only have 8 shoots per plant. We purposely limit the number of clusters on each plant, ensuring every cluster is developed and well nourished. Each plant is touched 10-12 times per year – so we are constantly pruning and removing suckers to keep the plants in optimal health. 

Cellar: In the cellar, we let the grapes and the vintage dictate the style that we are trying to make, rather than manipulating wine. We don’t add sugar to Rieslings, we only use natural sugars so it’s just the real quality flavor of the grape itself. Northern MI Riesling grapes are harvested in a cool climate, which means managing the pace of fermentation in the cellar is easier to control. This is VERY difficult in warm climate because the speed of which all of this can happen is within a week or two. We have months, it’s a slow and patient watch of the wines.  

Tasting Room: Employee education is crucial. We are huge on education here and making sure that the staff understands the differences between all the Riesling styles, what pairs well with each and why, etc. Also, taking our guests through vertical tastings is one way to show the complexity of each style of Riesling.  

All in all, this Riesling Roundtable discussion was a great experience! To follow along with the entire conversation and to learn more, follow #MIRiesling on Twitter.  If you have any questions about these topics, feel free to reach out to me directly at alaina@bowersharbor.com.

Cheers!
Time Posted: Jun 25, 2019 at 7:39 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
May 21, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

The Michigan Wine Chair 2.0

It's Michigan Wine Month!

 

What better way to celebrate than by drinking a glass of delicious local wine, while sitting in a Michigan state shaped chair, and getting your back massaged all at the same time! Check out the GENIUS invention (which should be next to the term Self Care in the Urban Dictionary), the Michigan Wine Chair 2.0 created by Thompson Woodworks.  Does it get any better than this?! We think not!

(bonus: the wine being poured is Bowers Harbor Vineyards 2896 Langley 🍷).

 

Time Posted: May 21, 2019 at 6:17 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
April 17, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

Chardonnay Throwdown

Did you know that we have three Chardonnays on our menu? Why, you ask? Because we can! The Chardonnay grape is one of the most diverse – and most planted – white grapes on Earth. It’s used for everything from light and zesty champagne-style wines (like our Cuvee Evan and Blanc de Blanc) to rich, buttery California-style Oaked Chardonnay (like our RLS Reserve) and everything in between. The climate and terroir where the grapes grow, as well as the winemaking, are the difference makers here.  

Today, we are going to talk about our three Chardonnays (only our still wines will be covered in this blog but click here to read about our sparkling Chardonnays), the differences between them, food pairings that go with each and finally tackle some common Chardonnay misconceptions. Instead of only reading about it, I thought it would be fun to do a little video series starring our rockstar duo Kevin and Jane.  

What makes our three Chardonnays different from one another?

Quick Facts:
  • Unwooded: all stainless-steel tanks, Citrus aromas of lime and lemon zest are layered atop crisp notes of green apple and pear. 
  • Big Paw: new this year, also stainless-steel fermented but a portion of it goes through malolactic fermentation process, which adds texture and body to the wine without losing too much of the floral and citrus aromas that waft off when white wines are aged in oak.  
  • RLS Reserve: Classic oaky buttery Chardonnay aged in French Oak, 100% went through malolactic fermentation, which gives it more complexity and a creamier texture with a soft oak finish. 
What is Malolactic Fermentation?

Malolactic Fermentation is a process where tart malic acid in wine is converted to softer, creamier lactic acid (the same acid found in milk). The process reduces the acidity in wine and also releases some carbon dioxide. Technically, Malolactic Fermentation is not a fermentation because it does not use yeast, it uses a different kind of bacteria (Oenoccocus Oeni). The result is a wine with a creamy, velvety texture. YUM! 

Food Pairings for Each of the Three Chardonnays

Quick Facts:
  • Unwooded: simple wine = simple food, grilled shrimp or chicken or shrimp and grits (but don’t do Cajun shrimp, the spiciness that would overwhelm the wine). 
  • Big Paw: a bit more complexity, so go for more complex and heartier food, such as pork tenderloin or grilled pork chips.
  • RLS Reserve: Big butter notes, so it would go great with pasta dishes, such as: carbonara, primavera, or fettuccini alfredo. If you’re feeling extra fancy, pair RLS with a lobster dinner! 

Side note: there is a simple and delicious recipe at the bottom of this blog for grilled pork chops from Kevin's kitchen! 

Common Chardonnay Misconceptions

Pouring all three Chardonnays for people at the tasting bar is fun for the staff. People often say that “they don’t like Chardonnay” and typically that means that they have only ever had the traditional oaky Chardonnay and that they don’t prefer the taste. If we can get them to try the Unwooded Chardonnay without telling them what it is, and then they like it because it drinks more like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, they are always surprised to find out it is a Chardonnay. But that is what wine tastings are for, to open your horizons and try some varietals and styles that you are unfamiliar with. Oaked Chardonnay is like the cilantro of wine, people typically either love it or hate it.  

We hope you enjoyed our Chardonnay Throwdown mini-series. Stay tuned as we continue having fun educating from behind the tasting bar, as well as behind the camera. Taste. Learn. Enjoy!
 

Shop all of our Chardonnay here.
 

Easy Grilled Pork Chops

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Pork Chops (preferably center cut rib chops)
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 tsp. Thyme
  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

  • Heat an outdoor grill to high heat.
  • Prepare your chops by rubbing both sides with olive oil.
  • In a small bowl, stir together paprika, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the mixture on each side of the pork chops and rub it in.
  • Grill the chops by searing each side for 7 minutes over the high heat.
  • Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

We suggest pairing with Big Paw Chardonnay. Bon Appétit!

Time Posted: Apr 17, 2019 at 12:49 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
February 26, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

The Best of Winter: Traverse City Style

You know what’s tough? Michigan winters...and do you know what’s even tougher? THIS WINTER! It’s been brutally cold, we’ve had to shovel nonstop, and the other day actual ice balls were pelting me in the face while skiing. #MichiganStrong   

Winter blues are a real thing. They’re like Monday blues, except they last for like...5 months! I hear you, it’s cold and long and gray. But nothing will make you feel worse than laying on the couch every day and counting the minutes until May. You know the routine, go to work, come home, make dinner, Netflix. Weekends are similar but swap dinner for brunch and work with house cleaning. Rough city! Seriously, if you can survive winter in Michigan you can probably survive anything — but they don't have to be boring. Part of getting through the coldest, grayest months of the year is knowing how to make the most of them. 

I’m here to give you a list of all things glorious about Traverse City winters. Because after all, you do live in MI, and winter comes every year, and stays for months, so you better just get used to it. Next time you’re sad or bored or feeling claustrophobic, go outside. Put on your winter coat (long underwear, gloves, hat, face mask, snow pants, wool socks, hand and feet warmers, waterproof boots...) and go outside! We live in a Winter Wonderland!  

Top Things to do during Winter in Traverse City 

 

Snowshoe Wine and Brew 

Photo Credit: Jolly Pumpkin

This weekly (can you say SUNDAY FUNDAY!) event happens every winter from end of December until middle of March and is so much fun, you might want to do it every single week. You and all your friends meet at Jolly Pumpkin before being shuttled by the always FUN Brew Bus team to Brys Estate for wine tasting at their gorgeous winery. Sit back and relax while making the tough decision of red, white or rosé (and you don’t have to choose, you can try all of them!) before strapping on your snow shoes and heading to the next stop, Bowers Harbor Vineyards. Enjoy another tasting here and warm up a bit in our heated pavilion and by the roaring fire at the outdoor fire pit. You like S’mores? We have them! And, don’t forget to try a Spirit Cider flavor! When you’re ready to burn off those calories you just drank, you’ll snowshoe back to Jolly Pumpkin for your final tasting, which can consist of wine, beer and/or spirits! Warm up in their cozy restaurant for some well-deserved lunch. Find out all Snowshoe Wine and Brew information and book your reservations here.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Igloo at Hop Lot 

Photo Credit: Hop Lot

I LOVE Hop Lot! What a fun, chill way to spend happy hour or Saturday/Sunday. They have a wide selection of delicious craft brews and the ultimate Winter accessory...IGLOOS! You can reserve the igloos for free by the hour and they’re perfect for a birthday or anniversary celebration. Hop Lot is family-friendly, they have board games to play and sell S’more packs that you and the kids can use by the outdoor fire pits. I love stopping at Mawby on the way for a glass of sparkling wine, which is always beyond delish. And while I’m at it, I also love stopping at another one of my favorite Traverse City wineries, Rove Estate for a glass of red while gazing out of their windows at the glorious snow-covered vineyards. Sigh, so beautiful. 

Photo Credit: Rove Estate

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding is SO FUN. I’ll say it again louder for the people in the back. Skiing IS SO FUN! We are lucky to be surrounded by so many hills to ski on, such as Mt. Holiday and Hickory Hills (both perfect for kiddos), Shanty Creek Resorts, Boyne Highlands, Nub's Nob, and Crystal Mountain. Some of us from BHV take one of our days off, usually a Monday, and head out to ski. We brainstorm new ideas in the car on the way there and back, on the chairlifts and over a couple beers at lunch. I swear some of our best ideas have been hatched during Ski Mondays. It helps to get out of the office, get some exercise, and best of all, get some fresh perspective. Bonding with each other through healthy activities is good for the soul! Enjoy night skiing? You can join 106 KHQ at Schuss Mountain on Wednesday nights from 5pm - 9pm for only $10 per lift ticket! 

 

 

 

 
Mission Point Lighthouse 

One of my favorite places on Earth is Mission Point Lighthouse. It is BEAUTIFUL, peaceful and serene during all times of the year but there is just something extra special about it during the Winter. If you’re lucky you can get miles and miles of fresh tracks through the well-marked trail system. The trails are great for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Does your dog seem bored or depressed? They get cabin fever too! Bring them on your hike and I guarantee you’ll laugh the entire time watching them run and play in the fluffy snow. Shameless plug here: Did you know that Bowers Harbor Vineyards does a fundraiser every year for Mission Point Lighthouse? We are going on our 4th year of fundraising and have donated approximately $6100 so far.  

Photo Credit: Michael Topp

Tubing at Mt. Holiday 

I went tubing for my first time a few weeks ago and now I am wondering WHY OH WHY did I wait so long to do this? It is SO FUN (see a pattern here?)! It’s a perfect activity that the whole family can enjoy and there is a great lodge to warm up in afterwards with good food and hot cocoa (AKA toddies). The worst part about sledding is climbing back up the hill after going down, right? No need to do that while tubing, just grab onto the tow rope and ride up in your tube! You can have all this fun for only $10!

  

Hike at Timbers Recreational Area

Have you been in this gorgeous trail system yet? If not, go ASAP! Picture 250 acres of rolling hills with views of three different lakes (Long, Fern and Page). The property is a combination of mesic northern hardwood forest, fields and riparian wetlands and is truly stunning. The trails are perfect for dogs, hiking and snowshoeing and many of the trails lead straight to the lake for easy ice-fishing access. To me, nature is peace and I absolutely love the serenity of this land, which is protected by The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Get Outside 

The moral of my story is this...there are so many things to do in Winter and staying inside for 4-5 months straight isn’t good for anyone. Fresh air, fun and exercise are all needed for well-rounded lives and we are lucky to live in a place with so much to offer year-round!  

Don’t live in Traverse City? Here’s a list of fun for you to enjoy too (but come up and visit us soon!):

  • Build a Snowman 
  • Go for a walk 
  • Join a winter running league  
  • Ice-fishing 
  • Sledding 
  • Wine Tasting (any wineries, breweries with outdoor space near you?) 
  • Ice-skating 
  • Snow angels 
  • Have a family snowball fight 

What are your favorite Winter activities? Drop me a line and let me know at alaina@bowersharbor.com  

Time Posted: Feb 26, 2019 at 12:08 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
February 12, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

Bowers Harbor Vineyards Wine is Making Appearances During Traverse City Restaurant Week

We LOVE Traverse City's Restaurant Week and we are beyond excited to have our wines make some appearances at our favorite restaurants. First Up is Aerie Restaurant, which is located inside the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa! 

 
COURSE ONE 

sunchoke soup 

fresh sunchokes, Shetler’s dairy cream, brown butter crumb, crispy pancetta, sunchoke chips, fresh herbs 

crab salad 

lump blue crab, capers, bell pepper, shallot, and red onion served in an avocado shell, watercress, wasabi lime aioli, toasted sesame, cilantro 

vegetable tempura 

sweet potato, bell pepper, acorn squash, white onion, broccoli, served with house made ponzu sauce, toasted nori, yuzu citrus 

pork belly 

confit pork belly, roasted butternut squash, crispy brussels leaves, candied pecan, roasted squash puree, wild flower honey 

 
COURSE TWO 

gnocchi 

house made potato gnocchi, bacon tomato jam, creamed spinach, charred carrot, roasted carrot puree 

filet 

chargrilled center cut filet, grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, balsamic cipollini onion, boursin celeriac potato, natural jus

halibut 

potato crusted Alaskan halibut, grilled oyster mushrooms, roasted romanesco, black truffle, caviar beurre blanc 

 
COURSE THREE 

raspberry cheesecake bomb 

creamy raspberry cheesecake with raspberry glaze, almond crust crumble, raspberry dust 

chocolate peanut butter torte 

chocolate cake layered with peanut butter mousse, glazed with chocolate ganache 

 

Wine Flight

$20

2017 Unwooded Chardonnay

Flavors of apple, pear and citrus followed by a crisp, clean finish.

2017 Claret, Wind Whistle

50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Merlot

Flavors of black cherries and red raspberries. Aged in French Oak barrels, enhancing the natural spices of cinnamon and black pepper, creating balance and complexity

2017 Cherritage Port

Port-Style Cordial perfect for sipping after dinner. Rich cherry flavors with a sweet satisfying finish.

Time Posted: Feb 12, 2019 at 2:24 PM
Alaina Dodds
 
January 21, 2019 | Alaina Dodds

Connie The Great!

“Have you ever thought about doing the Introductory Sommelier Course?” Kristy nonchalantly tossed the question my way. Um, well, yes. I had thought about it once for approximately two seconds and immediately dismissed the idea. My oldest daughter has passed her Intro, her Certified, and her Advanced Sommelier exams, and I know the massive amounts of information she has assimilated. It’s daunting.  

Still, the thought was intriguing. After all, I’m going on my twelfth year working at Bowers Harbor Vineyards; part-time, of course, but still. I’ve been around wine and the wine industry long enough that I’ve listened, learned, read, tasted, asked a lot of questions, and developed a good working knowledge of wine basics. 

“OK,” I thought, “I’ll just check online and see when the next Intro course is offered in the Midwest.” The Court of Master Sommeliers makes the various levels of sommelier certification courses available throughout the country on a yearly basis. The trick is to find one that works with your geography and time schedule, and that isn’t already full. I pulled up the website, went to the calendar, and checked the schedule for the upcoming 12 months. There was only one Intro course scheduled for the Midwest, and it was – gulp – in Detroit 5 days hence. Seriously?? “Well”, I thought, “what do I have to lose? My pride? Three days of time? A small chunk of money? But it might be a great learning experience, even if I don’t pass.” So I pulled the trigger, registered, booked a hotel room, and headed home from work that evening ready to download the study manual. All 300 pages. 

Five days later, I arrived at the hotel in Detroit around 7:30 a.m. for the first day of the course. There were about 90 other attendees, most from some segment of the beverage or hospitality industry, although the fellow sitting next to me was in the mortgage industry and simply wanted to put this on his resume. We were seated at long tables in a comfortable conference room, and after a brief introduction by the four Master Sommeliers teaching the course, the barrage of information began. 

The next 10 hours were filled with viticulture and vinification theory; detailed explanation of and practice with the “deductive tasting method”; the basics of food and wine pairing; and then - FRANCE. France, in all its historical and viticultural glory, with exquisite attention to every detail of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Loire Valley, Alsace, and the Rhone Valley. The day ended with a discussion and demonstration of service, salesmanship, and hospitality. Then 90 people filed glaze-eyed out of the conference room to either drink themselves into oblivion or go back to their rooms to study. I studied. 

The following day we returned for a second bombardment of information, this time covering Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, North America, South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. And for good measure they completed the day with detailed instruction on fortified wines, beer, sake, cider and spirits. And in between all of those we had managed to do six different deductive tasting sessions, exploring 18 white wines and 18 red wines. 

At the conclusion of Day Two, we were given a 70-question exam, with 45 minutes to complete it. I finished my exam in about 15 minutes, and then went to wait with others in the lobby outside the conference room. There was a lot of nervous dialogue and mild tension as we waited for everyone to complete the exam, and then another long wait before we were all invited back into the conference room. Glasses of champagne were distributed, and each person waited anxiously to hear their name called. Happily, I passed! 

I walked away with not only a certificate and a pin, but a far greater understanding of and appreciation for what we do here at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. There is a balance in the world of wine between complexity and simplicity that is striking. The simple is obvious: we grow grapes out of which we make wine. We’re farmers. The complexity is an everchanging landscape of factors; we have control over some of the factors. Others, not so much. The soil is there as the foundation of what we do. It can be nurtured, cultivated, or depleted depending on what we do. But we cannot change it, and we would do well to respect and understand its unique character and draw on its strengths. The region in which we farm is Northern Michigan, no more or less stunning than Burgundy or Bordeaux. And therein lies its beauty, and the reason we love what we do here.  

There is no other place on earth that will ever make wine exactly like the wine we make here at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. Similar, perhaps, of the same varietal with a similar chemical profile. But never quite like the grapes that bask in the morning sun along Bowers Harbor Road, lean toward the evening sunset in the Langley Vineyard, or get buffeted by the West wind howling through Block I. Those are the grapes gifted to us, and with which we seek to make wines that express the distinct character of this place. Those are the wines we love to share with family and friends. That is the challenge and the privilege of who we strive to be at Bowers Harbor Vineyards. 

Time Posted: Jan 21, 2019 at 9:58 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
December 27, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Spirit Cider Cocktails and a New Year's Day Brunch

It is VERY hard to believe but 2019 is right around the corner...no really it is, it’s in 5 days! I’ve been going back and forth about what I want to do for New Year's, how do I want to ring it in? I’ve decided that I want to switch it up this year and cook a New Year's Day brunch for me and my husband. But (here’s another twist), it will be a Spirit Cider-inspired brunch! Everyone goes the sparkling wine route for New Year’s Eve so I thought it would be fun to be bold with Spirit Cider instead. Here’s my menu if any of you want to try this too! 

Cocktails and Confessions 

Blueberry Cider Delight  

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz Tito's Vodka (or your favorite vodka)
  • Blueberry Spirit Cider
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Method

Muddle blueberries, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker tin. 

Add vodka and ice, and shake. 

Strain over fresh ice into a pint glass. 

Top with Blueberry Spirit Cider (fill the rest of your pint glass) and garnish with a lemon twist. 

Spirit Cider Mimosa 

Pay attention here, this one is tricky.... 

Ingredients: 

Method: 

Pour Spirit Cider into a Champagne flute, top with OJ and garnish with orange slice.

Voilà! 

Brunch Bunch 

Days where brunch is involved are the best days – am I right? You can sleep in, maybe get a workout in before (if you’re feeling feisty) and meet your friends for a hearty meal and a carafe (or 10) of mimosas. Then a nice long nap and you have had yourself a nice little Saturday. Sound familiar?  

What is brunch without carbs? It’s not brunch at all in my book! Here I am to introduce you to the carb of all brunch carbs...a Dutch Baby, which is a light and puffy/fluffy pancake that actually pairs amazingly well with our Spirit Cider.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

Serves two  

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 
  • 2 1/2 ounces (72 grams) all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup 
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Powdered sugar, for serving 
  • Bluberries, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving 

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Put 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron pan and heat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool slightly. 

Pulse together the flour, sugar and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter, and blend the batter until smooth and frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. 

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and immediately pour the batter into the center. Bake for 20 minutes, do not open the oven while baking. The Dutch baby will puff up in the center and the edges will be dark and crispy. 

Serve warm with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, a handful of blueberries and lemon wedges for squeezing. 

Apple and Cheddar Quiche

Serves six (great leftover!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples (cored and cut into bite sized chunks) 
  • 1 cup Seven Apple Spirit Cider 
  • 4 strips bacon (cut into 1 inch pieces) 
  • 6 sheets phyllo (thawed as directed on package) 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary (chopped) 
  • 1 cup strong cheddar (grated) 
  • 4 eggs (lightly beaten) 
  • 1 cup half and half 

Method:

Simmer the apple slices in the Seven Apple Spirit Cider until they just start to turn tender, about 3-5 minutes, remove and set them aside. 

Simmer the remaining cider to reduce to about 2 tablespoons. 

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan and set aside. 

Brush a sheet of phyllo pastry with the olive oil and fit it into the bottom of a greased 9 inch pie dish or springform pan with the ends hanging over the side of the pan and repeat with the remaining sheets placing them on top. 

Toss the apple slices in the reduced cider and spread them out over the bottom of the pan. 

Sprinkle the bacon, rosemary and cheddar cheese on top of the apples. 

Mix the eggs and half and half, pour into the pan and fold the edges of the phyllo dough that is hanging over the sides. 

Bake in a preheated 375F oven until golden brown and set in the center, about 45 minutes (check every few minutes after 35 minutes for desired doneness).

Make ahead hint: I plan to make this on New Year’s Eve and just pop in the oven the next day.  

Enjoy!

I’d pair both of the above dishes with any of our fruity Spirit Ciders – and I AM going to pair them with BOTH of the Spirit Cider cocktails above. Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

I'm wishing the best year yet for all of you, Happy New Year! 

Time Posted: Dec 27, 2018 at 10:06 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
December 12, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Shipping Promotion and Top 10 Gifting Ideas

She's baaaaaack! We know you're stocking up for all of the holiday parties you have coming up, and we know you need more wine for your own personal stash...so we have ONE MORE chance for you to stock up and save BIG! This will be the last shipping promo we do until February!

Enjoy $5 Shipping for 12+ bottles and $10 shipping for 6-11 bottles of Wine and/or Spirit Cider! 

*If ordering 12 bottles or more, please order in 12 bottle increments, like 12, 24, 36...)
*Offer is valid Monday, 12/10/18 - Monday, 12/17/18 and 11:59 p.m.

🍷Promo Shoppers🍷

Promo Code:
SHIPDEAL for 6-11 bottles
SHIP12 for 12+ bottles

Enjoy Our Quantity Discounts:
10% off 6-11 bottles
15% off 12+ bottles 
20% off 36+ bottles

🍷Wine Club Members 🍷

Promo Code: 
SHIPDEALCLUB for 6-11 bottles
SHIP12CLUB for 12+ bottles

*This shipping promotion may not be used in conjunction with your quarterly wine club shipment.
SHOP HERE 

 

Top 10 Gifting Ideas

 

Cutting Board

How cool is this cutting board with the BHV logo?! It is made out of smooth, light wood and would also be perfect for serving or displaying several cheeses or appetizers at a party! Do you have a chef in your family who would love one of these? 

Box Sign

We have so many cute and sassy box signs that I'm sure you'll be able to find one that speaks to you! I love setting these up around my house as a little reminder not to take life so seriously. Also, since this box sign is talking directly to the dog lovers, I must point out that we have a whole page in our online gift shop dedicated to dog lovers. 

$150 one-time joining fee

Spirit Cider Society Membership

Membership Includes: 

  • Stainless Steel Growler
  • First Growler Fill Free
  • Spirit Cider Hat
  • Spirit Cider Decal Sticker
  • Pint Glass to Take Home
  • First Access to Newly Released Cider
  • 15% Off All Spirit Cider & Spirit Cider Merchandise
  • Free Birthday Pint
  • Special Activities & Events for Cider Club Members

To see all membership perks and to join online, click here

Coffee Mug

This adorable coffee or tea mug also has our BHV logo on the back. It's calling your friend's name (you know, the one who complains about work a lot or the one who has small children?)!

Cork Cage

Who's the crafter in your life? Chances are, she's done a cork project at some point in her crafting career. These cork cages are a cute way for her to save her corks for her next project! I also love to use mine to save the corks of all the super special bottles of wine we drink, as a way to remember them and the great times we had. We have tons of different cork cages, check them all out here

Wine Bottle Tag

Wine bottle tags are the perfect addition to the wine you always bring as a hostess gift. This little memento will make your wine bottle stand out against all of the others and bring a smile to her face. Check out all of the wine bottle tags we have and pick one that reminds you of her, for an extra (and thoughtful!) gift. 

Wine Gift Box

Wine gift boxes are a great way to show your love from afar. They are stuffed with local products, two wines each and are really fun to open! We have three different boxes to choose from, our Red Wine Gift Box which is shown to the left, a Flagship Wine Gift Box and a Dog Lovers Wine Gift Box. You can see them all and their contents here

Wine Sippy Cup

These to-go sippy cups are so popular! I'm gifting one in a white elephant gift exchange because I know my friends will fight over it. They love their wine to-go...not in an illegal way or anything, more in a to-go to the beach, to-go outside, to-go on a hike...kind of way. They are stainless steel with your choice of white (shown here), teal or pink lid! 

Gift Card

Gift cards serve many purposes. They allow the giftee to pick out their own gift, they're perfect for "the person who has everything", they are easy to mail in a card (or simply e-mail), you don't have to wonder whether they will like it or not...and the list goes on and on. We have a plastic gift card (shown here) that you can add to a card or we have an e-gift card that you can send to them via email. Both options are here

Wine

And last but certainly not least...don't forget about wine! Everyone needs it! Especially delicious wine and Spirit Cider from Bowers Harbor Vineyards. We have sparkling, red, white, dessert wine and hard cider sure to satisfy even the toughest of critics. 

Time Posted: Dec 12, 2018 at 9:46 AM
Alaina Dodds
 
November 19, 2018 | Alaina Dodds

Thanksgiving Pairings

Blanc de Blanc:  Bright, fresh notes of green apple and lemon-lime make great dance partners with all those gorgeous bubbles! Pairs well with the salty, nutty, and creamy flavors, such as Baked Sausage & Brie Appetizer.
 
2017 Unwooded Chardonnay: Lean citrus aromas of lime and lemon zest are layered atop notes of green apple and pear. Pairs well with Citrus Roasted Turkey!

2017 Riesling, Medium Dry: The acidity in this wine is great with spice, and the fruitiness would perfectly match the crisp apple component in Sausage and Green Apple Stuffing.

Winston: Lots of intense, plummy, jammy flavors with spicy, peppery notes. Pair with Cranberry–Berry Compote.

2016 Pinot Noir, Wind Whistle: Look for bright cherry and raspberry flavors, balanced by toasted caramel contributed from our high quality French Oak barrels. Pair with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
 
2017 Gewurztraminer, Late Harvest: Indulgent aromas and candied pear and pineapple segue into mouthwatering notes of honeyed orange and cantaloupe, with a whisper of spice on the finish. Pair with Cherry Pie for a Traverse City twist on a traditional Thanksgiving dessert!

Time Posted: Nov 19, 2018 at 8:31 AM
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