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Hickory Creek Winery
Kathy Sullivan

Hickory Creek WinerySummary: Hickory Creek Winery tasting room and winery located in Southwestern Michigan is a boutique winery. Jayne and Eric Wagner are the new owners. Mike de Schaff is the winemaker. They want visitors to be sure to try the oaked and Zero Oak Chardonnays in addition to their other wines.

Visitors to Hickory Creek Winery pass by vineyards on the long driveway to the winery and the tasting room. From the road the building looks a bit like a barn that may have been renovated; however that is not the case. This tall, red building was purposely built as a winery. The walk from the parking area to the front doors curves upward; there is delightful landscaping on each side. Close to the winery and tasting room a small home is being renovated and will potentially become a bed and breakfast.

Hickory Creek WineryBehind the tasting counter, visitors can look through a window into the winery. Oak barrels and stainless steel tanks fill the area.

Jayne and Eric Wagner, who live on a nearby farm, recently purchased Hickory Creek Winery. Eric makes wine as a hobby and has his own small vineyard. Jayne and Eric found Hickory Creek Winery to be one of their favorite wineries and purchased it when the opportunity became available.The Wagners also have an apiary on their farm and the honey is sold in the Hickory Creek tasting room.

As winemaker, Mike de Schaff wants to emulate the French winemaking techniques. Before entering the wine industry as a viticulturist and winemaker Mike worked as a carpenter and when he did not find that satisfying he sought other employment. His next job was at Round Barn Winery in the tasting room. When they discovered he could drive a tractor and use a wrench he became involved in other tasks including making wine. Mike learned many of his winemaking and viticulture skills through reading.

Hickory Creek WineryVineyards

In addition to Hickory Creek, Mike consults and helps other wineries with their vineyards. A few miles from Hickory Creek Winery, Michael has worked with an association to plant vineyards at a small housing development, The Vineyards at Tabor Fields. Once homes are built, homeowners will have ownership of the adjacent vineyards. The vineyards are thriving and now the development of housing is waiting for an upturn in the housing market.

The onsite vineyards are suffering woes from soil conditions and clone issues. Mike is evaluating the vineyards to decide whether to replant the vineyards or work to rejuvenate them. Vineyards that Michael planted in other areas are prolific and provide grapes for the winery. Grapes are also sourced from other growers in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA.

Hickory Creek WineryWines

We sampled several wines while talking with Michael and Jayne. The Dry Riesling 2009 was a light yellow. The aroma was of floral and apple while the taste had apple nuances. The finish was crisp with apple and citrus hints. Semi Dry Riesling 2009 was a straw color. The wine had a floral aroma and a taste of apple. The finish was crisp with a hint of sweetness and apple.

Mike uses the term “Zero Oak” rather than “unoaked” for Chardonnays that are not placed in any oak during production. Jayne noted, "Customers in our tasting room enjoy comparing the two chardonnays and it helps them understand how aging in oak impacts the characteristics of the wine." Chardonnay 2009 Zero Oak was a straw color. Apple was on the aroma. The taste was velvety with apple notes and a hint of bread dough. The finish was crisp with apple. Chardonnay 2010 Zero Oak was a straw color while the aroma and taste offered pear and bread dough notes. The finish was crisp with pear and apple. Chardonnay 2008 oaked was yellow with an aroma and taste of apple and caramel. The finish was crisp with caramel and apple and had a long aftertaste.

Gewürztraminer 2009 was light yellow with an aroma of spice and floral. The taste had spice and some yellow stone fruit. The crisp finish was spicy with fruit. This Gewürztraminer was served at a NATO Summit event.

Hickory Creek WineryPinot Noir 2009 was a reddish orange. The aroma and taste had red berry fruit and the finish had mild tannins.

Vidal Blanc Icewine 2008 was a golden yellow. The aroma offered very nice aromatics. The aroma had floral notes especially honeysuckle. The taste was of honey with some apple hints. The crisp finish was very fruity with floral nuances. This wine was also served at a NATO Summit event.

Enjoy a visit to Hickory Creek Winery that has a dedicated tasting room. Purchase a glass of wine to enjoy on the small patio just outside the doors where visitors can enjoy views of the countryside and the landscaped area.

June 2012

Hickory Creek Winery
750 Browntown Road
Baroda, Michigan 49101

GPS: N41º 54.071’ W86º 28.058’





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