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Rudbeckia Farm & Winery
by
Terry and Kathy Sullivan

Rudbeckia Farm and WinerySummary: Rudbeckia Farm is located in the Tip of the Mitt AVA in Petoskey, Michigan. Visitors will note that this farm is more than just a farm. It is a winery, brewery and, in the future, a distillery. Wine enthusiasts will learn about grape varieties that can survive the temperatures and the winters north of the 45th parallel in Michigan. Rudbeckia includes a total experience for visitors including outdoor games and small plates.

Rudbeckia Farm and WineryArriving at the tasting room, we were warmly greeted by owners Vickie and John Wysokinski. Since we are from Maryland, our first question was about the choice of the farm’s name “Rudbeckia” also known as the Black-eyed-susan that is the state flower of Maryland. We learned that Vickie and John had previously lived in Maryland. John talked about his wine journey. It started in the early 1970s when he was in the Navy and they were recently married. John was stationed in Spain. Together the couple had the opportunity to visit wineries and sherry houses. This passion for winery visits continued when traveling through France. The couple enjoyed tasting wines. Vickie mentioned that a memorable tasting was with Robert Parker. A tipping point occurred while they were visiting wineries in Napa.

John became a sales representative for 40, mostly California wineries, in the Maryland, DC and Virginia areas. At one time John was a judge for the Virginia Governor’s Cup competition. In 2015, when a 190-acre farm site became available in Petoskey, they took on the challenges of planting grapevines and starting a winery.

Matt Hopf, in addition to winemaking duties, also makes cider and mead. Matt is also the brewer and vineyard manager.

Vineyards

The University of Minnesota grape breeding program developed grape varieties that can survive the winters above the 45th parallel. There are 11 acres planted on the Rudbeckia farm site. The vineyard is located at one of the highest elevations in the Tip of the Mitt. The Rudbeckia varieties include the white wine grapes La Crescent, Frontenac Blanc, Frontenac Gris and Itasca. Red wine varieties include Marquette, Frontenac, Petite Pearl and Crimson Pearl. In addition, Somerset Seedless is grown to taste in the tasting room. At the time of our visit, there were Marquette, Frontenac and Somerset Seedless grape bunches for us to taste.

Tasting Room

Entering the building, the tasting room is to your right while the winery and brewery production area is to your left. The production area has several stainless steel tanks of various sizes. The tasting room has an L-shaped counter with chairs for wine enthusiasts to enjoy their tastings. There are also a few tables that wine tasters can utilize. We sat at a table by the garage-like windowed door. During warmer weather, this door is open and there is outdoor seating at tables for visitors.

Rudbeckia Farm and Winery     Rudbeckia Farm and Winery

Wine Tasting

Rudbeckia Farm and WineryVickie and John joined us for the tasting. There was a charcuterie plate including different cheeses, sausage, nuts, olives and grapes to accompany the tasting. John showed us what options wine visitors may choose. In addition to a regular wine tasting, wine enthusiasts can choose a four-wine flight. They select four wines to taste. These are poured into four flasks. From the flask visitors pour the wine into a wine glass. Riedel stemware is used for the tastings.

We tasted five wines. Rudbeckia Farm & Winery will begin to use estate grapes in their wines beginning with the 2020 season. For the wines we tasted, grapes were sourced from Leelanau Peninsula and the Tip of the Mitt AVA.

The 2018 Unfiltered Dry Riesling Leelanau Peninsula had a light yellow color with 11% alcohol and 0 g/L of residual sugar. The wine offered citrus and yellow stone fruit on the aroma. The taste was reminiscent of grapefruit and peaches. The very crispy finish was fruity.

The 2018 Marquette Dry Rosé Tip of the Mitt AVA had 13% alcohol and 0 g/L of residual sugar. The wine had a translucent red color with a pink hue. Red berry fruits were noted on the aroma. Red raspberries, strawberries and a hint of cranberries were noted on the taste. The finish was very crisp and fruity. This is a great 3P wine, good for a porch, patio or pool. Vickie noted that it would pair well with Thanksgiving meals.

The 2017 Riesling Tip of the Mitt AVA had 11.5% alcohol and 20 g/L of residual sugar. The light straw colored wine had a petrol aroma. The taste included yellow stone fruit and citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Rudbeckia Farm and WineryThe 2016 Marquette Reserve Tip of the Mitt AVA was an opaque ruby color with a purple hue. The wine with 12% alcohol had 0 g/L of residual sugar. Dark fruits and spices were on the aroma. The taste was reminiscent of blueberries, blackberries, cassis and baking spices. The wine was full bodied with medium/bold tannins. On the finish, fruit yielded to baking spices.

The 2018 Blushing Moscato Tip of the Mitt AVA was produced from Muscat Ottonel grapes. With 11% alcohol and 60 g/L of residual sugar, the wine had a translucent light orange color. The wine was run through a filter that had just filtered Marquette accounting for the color. Flowers were noted on the aroma, and the taste included orange blossoms and citrus. The finish was crisp.

While visiting the Rudbeckia wine tasting room, visitors are encourage to enjoy games of bocce, horseshoes and corn hole.

Wine enthusiasts can experience a relaxing wine tasting at Rudbeckia Farm & Winery. They may choose a traditional tasting of one wine at a time with the wine tasting attendant, or they may choose a flight of four wines of their choice and taste at their own pace. The advantage of the wine flight is that one can compare and contrast the wines and re-taste previously tasted wines. Small plates of food may be ordered to accompany the wine tasting.

Rudbeckia Farm & Winery
3379 Lake Grove Rd.
Petoskey, Michigan 49770

GPS: N45º 19.7132’ W85º 01.6077’

 

Article written October 2019.

 



 

                                  

 
 
   

 


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