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Pentamere Winery
by
K.L. Sullivan

Pentamere WineryPentamere Winery is a “boutique urban winery” located in the small and friendly town of Tecumseh, Michigan. Pentamere is a combination of Latin and French meaning Five Lakes. An urban winery is unique among the wineries in the United States. The estimate is that only 400 wineries in the US are urban wineries. Advantages of being an urban winery include more visibility and foot traffic.

 

Pentamere Winery is owned and run by six partners who met while in college during the 1980’s. They discovered the wonders of winemaking as a hobby, which led to the commercial side of the industry. As a hobby, they gave the bottles of wine out as Christmas gifts. Ed Gerten, manager and partner, refers to the business as a “hobby gone wild.” People liked the wine and asked if they could buy it. They could not sell the wine until they became a commercial winery. This was the “tipping point,” and the friends became partners and created Pentamere Winery.

tank room at Pentamere WineryThe winery occupies a unique building with the brick walls and slightly creaky floors indicating age. The tasting room is on the first floor while the winery is in the basement. Stonewalls contrast with stainless steel tanks. One can conclude that both the building and wine are aging together. The building built in 1871 was the Anderson dry grocery for 50 years. Eventually the building became a clothing store. After World War II, the building became Larry’s Diner. The Pentamere partners bought the building in late 2000 and produced their first vintage in 2001. By working evenings, the partners completed the renovations in 14 months.

tasting room at Pentamere WineryThe small, cozy tasting room and winery has a character all of its own. Visitors can view the winery in the basement. A large section of the floor was cut away to allow for viewing the large stainless steel tanks. During the renovations, red brick walls were discovered behind plaster walls.  With the plaster removed, brick walls add a wonderful atmosphere to the tasting room.

Pentamere Winery obtains their grapes from vineyards within the watershed of the Great Lakes. We were curious about grape selection for this urban winery. They tell the growers what they are looking for and the growers try to produce it. They try to find unusual varietals like Kerner and Sweigelt. The winemaker’s favorites are Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

wine labeled by hand“We take our wines seriously but not ourselves seriously,” according to Ed. All wine produced at Pentamere are made by hand. A simple wood box assists with labeling bottles.

Celebration wine is a white wine and the first wine produced by Pentamere. It is a blend of Seyval and Vidal grapes. Twenty percent of the Chardonnay is oaked then added back to the other Chardonnay and aged in stainless steel tanks for four years. Gerwürstraminer has a flower nose with a fruit taste and a great aftertaste with fruit and some roses. It is dry but has a sweet taste. Cabernet Franc has a black pepper nose and pairs well with tuna. The number one sellers are Michigan Cherry made with 100% cherry and Celebration.

wine jellyGifts and wine accessories are available. We asked about the wine jelly with the Pentamere label and learned that the partners make the jelly themselves in a nearby commercial kitchen.

Each month a local “Featured Artist” provides art for the winery to sell. Pentamere likes to promote the local artists. This month the featured artist is Sarah “DJ,” Jackson with a number of selected photographs from Laramie, Wyoming. Each photograph is unique with something to say. Currently, the winery has local artists booked for 2007 and is now booking for 2008.

Plans for Pentamere Winery include eventually expanding to a larger facility. They would like to see three to five thousand cases per year. In order to produce five thousand cases, they need to build a production facility.

Pentamere provides educational learning experiences both in the tasting room and for larger audiences at other locations. In the fall a Grape Stomp event occurs, where participants stomp two to three pounds of grapes. They also teach a wine and food pairing class.

wine at Pentamere WineryPentamere provides a unique experience being located in a 19th century brick building in small town atmosphere. Their Ice Wine won the gold medal at the Great Lakes Wine Competition in 2006. If you have the opportunity, drop by this urban winery and enjoy. Its location in the historic downtown area of Tecumseh affords a visitor ample establishments to eat at within easy walking distance.

Pentamere Winery
131 E. Chicago Blvd
Tecumseh, Michigan 49286

GPS: N 42°  00.284’ W083° 56.657’

 


 

                                  

 
 
   

 


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