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45 North Winery
K.L. Sullivan

45 North WinerySummary: Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery is a relatively new winery. The focus of the winemaker is to produce high quality wines made from Michigan fruit. Steven Grossnickle, winery owner, wants to promote the Michigan wine industry. In addition to producing grape wines, the winery also produces hard ciders.

Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery is located on the 45th parallel. It has a saying “Wine on the Line.” A short distance from the tasting room a large sign with a stone anchor proudly displays “Wine on the Line” at the exact point of the 45th parallel line, or within inches depending on one’s GPS device.

45 North WineryVineyards

The current vineyards cover 35 acres of the 100-acre property. The vineyards include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Vignoles, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Gewürztraminer.

Steven Grossnickle, owner of 45 Winery, is determined to ultimately produce wines from Michigan grapes. Today they only source fruit when they need to. Estate wines will be possible as the vineyards grow older and have larger yields. Several more acres of vines will be planted in the spring of 2011.

45 North WineryThe winery began in 2007 with David Hill as the cellar master. David became the winemaker late in 2009. The Forty-Five Winery tasting room opened in February 2010. There is a large tasting room with a long tasting counter on one wall. An additional tasting room is located upstairs when the counter on the first floor is filled.

The winery is in a separate building with a large production facility. Several tanks are in the L-shaped area with the barrel room in another section. A laboratory is located in an adjacent room. At the time of our visit, David was crushing samples of grapes in one-gallon plastic bags. The vineyard grapes were not quite ready for harvest, but David wanted to run some tests for sugar levels and acid levels.

Currently the winery has several wines produced from Michigan grapes. These include Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. In addition they produce fruit wines from Michigan grown fruit, a hard apple cider and hard pear cider.

45 North WineryWines

Currently 45 North is one of Michigan’s larger wineries producing 8,000 cases. We tasted the wines produced with Michigan grapes. The 2009 Blanc de Pinot Noir was a light peach color. The wine offered an aroma and taste of red berries. The taste had noticeable strawberry notes. The fruity finish was slightly sweet but was drying on the aftertaste. The 2009 Gewürztraminer was clear with a pale yellow hue. The aroma had floral nuances with a hint of spice. The taste was reminiscent of a fruit salad with a mix of apple, pear and stone fruit notes. The wine with 1.5 residual sugar was sweet and fruity. Unwooded Chardonnay 2009 has an interesting name as many times Chardonnay that has not seen oak is named unoaked. The name “unwooded” offers a nice variation. This was a clear wine with a yellow hue. The wine offered notes of apple. With a residual sugar of .9 percent the crisp finish was sweet and fruity. Pinot Noir 2008 was a light red. There were red stone fruit notes on the nose. This light bodied wine’s taste offered red cherry nuances. With very mild tannins, the finish was crisp and fruity.


45 North WineryHard Ciders

The Apple Hard Cider was apple forward on the aroma and taste. There was a bit of effervescence on the tongue. The finish was of apple notes and felt cleansing. The Pear Hard Cider was clear with a very slight yellow hue. There were pear notes on the aroma and taste with a bit of effervescence on the finish.

Enjoy a visit to 45 North Vineyard and Winery located in Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula. Take a photo next to the 45th parallel sign.

45 North Vineyard and Winery
8580 E. Horn Rd.
Lake Leelanau, Michigan 49653

GPS: N45º 00.046’ W85º 40.982’






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