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Good Harbor Vineyards
by
Kathy Sullivan

Good Harbor VineyardsSummary: Good Harbor Vineyards on Leelanau Peninsula is owned and operated by the Simpson family. The focus of the winery is on white wines and sparkling wines. They concentrate on Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling.

For generations the Simpson family farmed 300 acres of land on Leelanau Peninsula. Bruce Simpson obtained a degree in agriculture from the Michigan State University and went to UC Davis to study viticulture and oenology. In 1980, Bruce and Debbie Simpson decided to launch Good Harbor Vineyards. Bruce was known in the area as someone who would help with anything. At a wine event, if something needed to be done, Bruce could be counted on to get it done. When he unexpectedly passed away in 2009, it was a tragedy for his family and the community.

The Simpson family banded together to continue Bruce’s dream of Good Harbor Vineyards. Today his wife, Debbie, and two adult children, Sam and Taylor are working together to continue Bruce’s legacy and grow the success of Good Harbor Vineyards.

Tasting Room

Good Harbor Vineyards tasting room and winery is easy to reach on S. Manitou Trail. The tasting room is of a modern style with a cheerful ambiance. A glass door leads to a self-guided tour room. Visitors can look over a 4-foot wall to see the winemaking process. Seven descriptions of the process are posted along the wall. In the center of the observation area, a dome-like structure overlooks the bottling line giving visitors a birds-eye view of the process.

Good Harbor Vineyards     Good Harbor Vineyards     Good Harbor Vineyards

The white wines and sparkling wines are all estate grown. The majority of red wines produced by Good Harbor are also estate grown. The winery also produces cherry wine. To create cherry wine, the cherries are treated just like grapes. The brix levels and acid levels of cherries are monitored the same as grapes. Currently the winery is producing 15,000 cases and would like to increase production significantly.

Vineyards

The vineyards are located a short driving distance from the tasting room. The rolling hills of vineyards are beautiful especially in the fall with the picturesque views of the grapes almost ready for harvest. Some of the vineyards are at the highest elevation in the county.

The acreage of vineyards on the property has increased to 64 acres and includes Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Vignoles, Riesling, Seyval, Pinot Noir, Marechal Foch and De Chaunac. The Simpsons expect to increase the number of acres. At the time of our visit, vineyard workers were hand-harvesting Marechal Foch grapes.

Good Harbor Vineyards     Good Harbor Vineyards

Good Harbor VineyardsWhite Wines

Tribute 2008 was a Chardonnay produced with grapes that Bruce Simpson had harvested. This wine is a tribute to Sam and Taylor’s father. The aroma and taste offered notes of apples with citrus nuances. The wine finished with apple notes. The label on Tribute was by Craig Holland. It is a view from the porch of Bruce’s home. Riesling 2009 had a slightly floral aroma. There were notes of peach with hints of pineapple. Fishtown White was a blend of Chardonnay, Vignoles and Seyval. This was crisp and dry with tannins on the finish. The wine was named for Fishtown, an historical town where fishermen brought their catch.

Sparkling Wine

Sleeping Bare with its name a play on words from the Sleeping Bear Dunes was a Blanc de Blanc. This sparkling wine was crisp and cleansing with apple notes and citrus nuances on the taste. Good Harbor also produces Moonstruck Brut NV. This is a blanc de noir and made with Pinot NOir

Red Wine

Collaboration was s a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Marechal Foch. The result was a wine with an aroma and taste of black fruit. There were mild tannins on the fruity finish.

Good Harbor VineyardsFruit Wine

Cherry Wine offered an aroma and taste of cherry notes. This wine was very smooth. The tart cherry finish is dry with a hint of sweetness.

Good Harbor Vineyards is one of the few wineries in the world that has an easy pull-off part of the label on the back of the bottle. This is very convenient for consumers who like the wine and want to remember what they drank. Enjoy a visit to Good Harbor Vineyards and while there be sure to take the self-guided tour.

Good Harbor Vineyards
34 S. Manitou Trail, M-22
Lake Leelanau, Michigan 49653

GPS: N44º 58.991’ W85º 46.434’

 

 


 

                                  

 
 
   

 


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