BARK RIVER, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Sun Winery is home to vineyards that eventually turn into 100% Estate grown wines for people to enjoy, the only one of it’s kind in that sense in the U.P.
“I’m the vineyard manager and then the vintner,” said Jonathan Bovard. “So I grow the grapes and then make the wine.”
Bovard gave Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme a tour of the winery, which roots started in Bark River and just like vineyards have flourished ever since.
“Dave and Susie Anthony, those are the ones that started the vineyard,” said Bovard. “Started it as a hobby. A couple of vines, in their little home brew in the basement type thing. That would have been, I want to say in the ’90s.”
With the weather we experience in the U.P., it’s important to plant the right kind of grape.
“Basically, everything that comes out of the old vineyard, the original vineyard is what goes into our rosé, said Bovard. “The rosé is a field plant. He [Dave Anthony] then experimented with the Marquette grape. The Marquette grape, which comes out of the University of Minnesota, not from Marquette out here in the U.P. He started experimenting with that. That vine proves to be very hardy. -45 degrees, all winter long it’s not going to be affected. Same with the La Crescent. The Marquette is a red, a red grape. La Crescent is a white. The red and the white from the University of Minnesota. Both of them northern varieties. They do not grow well in warm weather.”
Other grapes they grow are Brianna, St. Pepin and Léon Millot. After the tour, Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme tasted the magic that comes from these grapes. Her favorite, the Rhubarb wine.
Bovard hopes this winery stays in the family for many years to come.
“Nobody knows what the future holds, right? As a family venture, we’re committed 100%,” said Bovard. “We’re in this. We’re making enough at the moment to pay the bills and have a lifestyle. Obviously, we’d like to grow it. So that by the time my boys are off to school and college, they can come back and I can afford to pay them a competitive rate so that we keep it going as a family then. Obviously we’re going to have to grow it because we can’t all be eating from the same pie, if it ain’t bigger. I mean 10 years down the road, I’d like to be at least double what we are now.”
Northern Sun Winery also host events like concerts and is a venue site for special occasions and weddings. For more information on what the winery has to offer, click here.