As the winter chill settles in and the vineyards go dormant, the pace of life at BOS Wine doesn’t slow down. While the grapevines rest, we focus on many projects to progress our hibernating vintages and expand our reach in new markets, retail stores, and restaurants. We’re also visiting establishments that currently sell BOS wine for tasting with staff, tasting events, and wine dinners.
BOS In The Cellar
Delicious work is happening right now with both our Michigan and California wines. We just tasted through all of our reds at Boathouse Vineyards and are thrilled with how they are progressing! We are making decisions regarding maturation vessels and length in vessels and blending. We’re excited to work with winemaker Doug Olson on our red wines this year; our collaboration and learning from his expertise is something we never take for granted. We are also spending a lot of time at Left Foot Charley Winery where we are making our whites with winemaker/owner, Bryan Ulbrich. He has been an inspiration to Dave since he started and it is such a joy to make wine there!
It’s also an exciting time for our California wines, as our 2021 Moon BOS was just bottled! You won’t have to wait much longer to taste this glorious wine; it will be here in time for our Winter Wine Club. It is made from 100% Cinsault grapes from the magical Bechthold Vineyard. It is planted with the largely underappreciated Cinsault rather than Zinfandel, the grape variety most wine aficionados associate with old vineyards. Cinsault, which tends to be low in tannin, is generally used to add aromatics and a spicy component to Southern Rhone Valley-style wine blends. Nestled in the Mokelumne River area of Lodi, the organically dry-farmed vineyard with head-trained vines is believed to be the world’s oldest surviving Cinsault vineyard. Shout out to Jillian Johnson DeLeon, our great friend and talented winemaker, who made 2021 and 2022 (yes, you still have that to look forward to!) Moon BOS.
BOS On The Road
Dave and Jackie spent some time in California in early January, visiting vineyards and wineries and connecting with the people, like winemaker Jillian, who help keep BOS California wines coming your way. They, of course, had to do quite a bit of research and development and had a great time at Tres Sabores, whose high level organic and regenerative farming is something to aspire to; owner Julie Johnson is both an icon and leader in the industry. They also enjoyed (many) flights of sparkling at Domaine Carneros, a definite favorite bubbly producer. With future BOS goals including many more bubbles, it’s crucial to always draw inspiration from wineries and winemakers that align with our passion for biodynamic farming and clean, quality wine.
Dave also spent a week in Chicago spreading the word about Michigan wine and doing tasting events and wine dinners. Our Illinois distributor is Cream Wine Company, who also represents Left Foot Charley Winery, so we’ve been joining forces with Bryan Ulbrich and Kristy McClellan, Sales Director for these trips, and they’ve proven to be very successful in getting our wines on more lists and more shelves. We started the week at Up North Wine Tasting Room in Geneva, which we love visiting. We did a happy hour tasting event and a joint wine dinner the following night. It was amazing to see some of our favorite wine club members at those events; thank you for the support! We ventured into the city and did a couple tasting events at All Together Now and Nettare. Thank you to Cream for setting up the events and helping us meet the best Chicagoans, to all of the incredible establishments; we are beyond honored that you carry our wines, and to Bryan and Kristy for helping to showcase some of the best of what Michigan wine offers.
We also recently enjoyed an incredible wine dinner in Traverse City at Modern Bird! This was our second wine dinner there, and both times, we celebrated Jackie’s birthday, so we’re hoping to make this an annual event in the future. Modern Bird owners Andy and Emily are so talented; from the unique creations on every plate and the perfect pairings, it was a pleasure all around. Next is our wine dinner with Little Bird on March 5th in Grand Rapids, which will be our third dinner there, and we can’t wait to return. Stay tuned for details about our trip to Detroit this spring!
BOS At The Wine Garden
Visit us at BOS Wine Garden! We have events happening all the time, including our DIG Nights and weekly Local’s Nights (Wednesdays, 5-8 PM) as well as community events like Frostbite Trail event. The BOS team is always working on new curation experience pairings, delicious dips and flight offerings, labeling wine bottles, and growing our wine clubs. We’d love to host you, your friends and family soon; we’re open Wednesday - Saturday during the Winter months and are available for walk-ins or by making a reservation.
In short, Winter is a season of productivity and innovation. From cellar work to sales trips, the winter months are essential for shaping the future success of BOS Wine and ensuring that each bottle tells a story worth savoring.
BOS Wine is excited to be participating in the Frostbite Trail again in 2024. The Frostbite Trail includes 12 locations in Antrim County and Charlevoix offering locally made wine, cider, beer, and spirit tasting paired with small bites for $12. The event runs once a month January-April.
The 1st event is January 13th and BOS wine is offering delicious Antipasto Skewers paired with our crowd pleaseing sparkling Methode Agricole!
2024 Frosbite Trail Participating Locations:
- Bier's Inwood Brewery (Charlevoix)
- BluDot Farm & Vineyard (Charlevoix)
- BOS Wine Garden (Elk Rapids)
- Cellar 1914/Shooks Farm (Central Lake)
- Ethanology (Elk Rapids)
- Folklor Wine & Cider (Carlevoix)
- Lost Cellars (Charlevoix)
- Short's Brewing Company (Elk Rapids)
- Spare Key Winery (Charlevoix)
- Torch Lake Cellars (Bellaire)
- Townline Ciderworks (Williamsburg)
- WaterFire Vineyards (Kewadin)
As we slide into home after Harvest, one thing is clear about the 2023 vintage...the quality is excellent across the board. Because we had such a hot and dry August and September, we could pick exactly when we wanted, which is only sometimes the case with unpredictable Michigan weather. A very wet winter and spring in California kept the vines dormant for a few weeks longer than usual, so everything was tracking late from the get-go. This allowed the fruit to remain pure and bright with good acidity, and even though many sites required extra hangtime to reach full phenolic and flavor ripeness, this is a winemaker's dream regarding wine style.
The entire BOS team helped out during Harvest this year, and it was so nice not only to have the extra hands but also to engage the team behind the scenes. Betsy helped Dave out with sampling during Harvest. Sampling allows winemakers to assess where the grapes are in their levels of Brix, titratable acidity, and pH to pick them at the ideal ripeness. Grapes need to be sampled often as weather continues to change throughout the Fall, and different varieties of grapes adjust to the weather and ripen at different time frames. Now that the grapes are harvested, she said she "can't wait to see what the 2023 vintage brings!"
Trinet helped harvest grapes from 10 Hands Vineyards. She said, "It was a treat to be joined by my parents, who were eager to participate. My dad got to try a 'wine grape' straight from the vine, which he enjoyed. My mom was delighted to help with Harvest for the second year. The chardonnay looked lovely that day, and I'm patiently waiting for it to hit the tasting room. I also got to peek in on my favorite BOS Wine, Amber, during its stage of fermenting on her skins (yes, Amber is a she because she is a goddess of perfection in wine form) and teach my brother about the goodness of orange wine. So much is happening, and it's hard to contain my excitement."
Elizabeth helped out on the production side and visited both production facilities throughout the 2023 harvest. She said, "On the first day of BOS harvest, I spent time both in the vineyard and Boathouse production facility. Chardonnay for BOS traditional method sparkling was first up, and it was so fun to see and taste the fresh press juice for the cuvée and observe how the production method differs when doing sparkling versus still wines. Bill and I visited weeks later and saw how much had changed and how it was developing. It was so interesting to hear Dave and Doug share what they are tasting and looking for at different stages of fermentation. I also visited Left Foot Charley's production facility on several occasions. I tasted some BOS wines at different fermentation stages and was on site for the incoming fruit and pressing. I was impressed with how Bryan and the team worked together to bring the fruit in and out, sorting, pressing, and moving equipment with precision, speed, and patience for people like me! They make processing the amount of fruit that comes through the facility look effortless. It is fascinating to see and learn about all the different vessels used for different varieties and styles of wine. I'm so excited for all the BOS wines currently fermenting in both locations!"
We are working with Bryan Ulbrich, winemaker and owner of Left Foot Charley Winery, and Doug Olson, winemaker at Boathouse Vineyards to make our wine this year. Bryan is making our whites, and Doug is making our sparkling and red wines. We feel lucky to collaborate with and learn from two highly talented winemakers. They each have their own techniques and styles but operate with the same philosophies of minimal intervention in the cellars, commitment to enhancing Michigan wine, and extreme passion for quality.
Our 2023 Michigan fruit includes Valvin Muscat and Marquette from Crystal Vista Vineyard in Interlochen, Pinot Gris from Brigadoon Vineyard on Leelanau Peninsula, and from Harper’s Ridge on Old Mission Peninsula, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier from Devil’s Dive Vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula, Chardonnay and Riesling from 10 Hands Vineyards and Blaufränkisch from Vineyard 15, both on Old Mission Peninsula. In addition to Methode Agricole, Wishflower, Interlochen, and Amber, we will be making more single-vineyard Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Blaufränkisch this year, as well as three different traditional method sparkling wines. Stay tuned for California fruit updates as Dave is heading there in January.
Dave, Jackie, Della, Olsen
We continue to feel immense gratitude for our growers and their meticulous farming. Bringing in clean fruit is our #1 priority, and we are so lucky that our growers care about that as much as we do.
This year was Dave's 20th Harvest, Jackie's 13th, Della's 3rd, and Olsen's 2nd. Now it's time to get excited for the upcoming wines because that's a wrap on 2023 Harvest!
BOS Family Harvest Stats
Daves 19th Harvest
Jackie's 12th Harvest
Della's 2nd Harvest
Olsen's 2nd Harvest
So Grateful For Our Growers
Making Wine at Modales!
Fall is a beautiful time in Northern Michigan. Sweaters, pumpkins, and mums, the gorgeous changing of the leaves, and the most important thing in the wine industry, Harvest. October weekends, here in wine country, are also the busiest time of year. We are excited to participate in that energy at BOS Wine Garden this year and invite you here for a wine and food curation experience, available Wednesday through Sunday. We have limited space inside, so we are encouraging reservations. Our curation experience involves wines from vineyards that Dave has either personally farmed or consulted on in Michigan and California. The wines are artfully paired with carefully selected meats, cheeses, and accouterments. We look forward to sharing with you our passion for farming, design, world-class winemaking, and the vineyards that make it possible!
We are SO lucky to have amazing neighbors who believe in the same farming, sourcing, and local philosophies that we do, and we think you should spend some time there, too. How fun of a day would it be to do a curation experience at BOS Wine Garden, then head to Short’s (in Elk Rapids) and have lunch from Fried Food Truck, enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail from Ethanology, and then end your day with a relaxing glass of wine at WaterFire Vineyards? Does that sound like the perfect autumn day, or what?! So pull up your boots, throw on a flannel, and sip and nibble the day away.
FRIED FOOD TRUCK AT SHORT’S BREWERY
Fried Food Truck is owned by our friends, Chef Adam and Caitlin Raupp. They specialize in sandwiches with local, fresh ingredients (such as eggs from local farm, Up North Heritage Farm!) that are the perfect complement to a Short’s beer. They offer everything from a Pork Roll to a Falafel Wrap (my favorite) and a Great Lakes Walleye Fried Fish sandwich. The husband/wife team is hardworking, down-to-earth, and humble and makes the most out-of-this-world food. Fried Food Truck is open Wednesday-Saturday, 12-7 pm, and Sunday, 12-5 pm.
Simply put, Ethanology makes the best cocktails, ever. They are another husband/wife team of entrepreneurs. Nick and Geri Lefebre (Nick handles the logistics/operations, and Geri is the distiller/spirit developer) founded Ethanology on the commitment to encapsulate the diversity of Northern Michigan Agriculture. Their focus is to utilize botanicals that represent our region and source all of their ingredients from a 33-mile radius. From local farms to your glass! Ethanlogy’s Fall hours are Thursday from 1-10 pm, Friday and Saturday from 1-11 pm, and Sunday from 1-6 pm.
As the first sustainable vineyard in the Midwest, it’s safe to say that WaterFire cares about the Great Lakes and the environment. They go to great lengths to protect the landscape around them, using no herbicides and low-risk pesticides that minimize air and water impacts. Their wines are fashioned in small batches from grapes they farm themselves and are absolutely delicious. Owners Chantal Lefebvre and Mike Newman planted the first vines in 2009 after converting the property over from a cherry orchard. They specialize in regionally underrepresented European varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Grüner Veltliner, and superb Rieslings. This fall, they are featuring the 2020 Dry Riesling, and it’s a must-try for sure. In addition, they are hosting their annual Harvest Party on 10/23. WaterFire Vineyards is open Tuesday - Saturday from 12-7 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm.
Avoid the crowds on Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula this fall and spend a relaxing, intimate day with us. We’d all love to welcome you!
The Bos Wine team wholeheartedly believes that good wine is made in the vineyard. Dave is so passionate about farming that he has made it his life’s work. It’s translating into incredible wine, which is why we are so excited about the Tasting Room opening so that you all can try the literal fruits of his labor. Dirt is his specialty, and by that I mean, biodynamic and organic farming. He caught the good dirt bug while living out in California’s wine country and managing vineyards that practice biodynamic farming. So what exactly is biodynamic farming?
A biodynamic vineyard is farmed with all components of the vineyard as one whole entity, using natural materials and composts and eliminating chemicals. From pruning to harvesting, the biodynamic calendar controls the farming practices. In day-to-day practice, the goal is to create a farm system that is minimally dependant on imported materials and instead meets its needs from the living dynamics of the farm itself. The farm's biodiversity is organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, which increases the farm’s capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable. Time to Dig into Goodness!
Dave has managed the farming and consulted on many vineyards in California that are biodynamic certified. Now, he is working hard at changing farming here in Northern Michigan by helping local vineyards move towards organic and biodynamic farming practices. The proof is in the wine!
We thought it would be fun to take you through a little tour of the vineyards we work with to get a sense of the terroir, the farmers, and the specific varietals used to make Bos Wine.
Ten Hands Vineyard faces a cool East Bay, situated on the northeastern shore of Old Mission Peninsula. The soil is sandy loam with mixed concentrations of clay and gravel. The glacier movements mixed the soil, so it both drains well, has very little concentrated sand, contains moderate humus, and is slightly alkaline in pH. For fruits, including grapes, this is ideal. Tom and Claudine enhance the soil with annual compost additions by planting a vast mix of grasses and legumes in the row middles. We are using their Chardonnay and Riesling varietals.
Next door to Ten Hands Vineyard is Vineyard 15, named after its owner, Vinnie Johnson, who some of you may know as “The Microwave,” which was his nickname while playing professional basketball on the Detroit Pistons. His number was 15. Tom Petzold is also managing Vineyard 15, and we are using the Blaufränkisch grapes for our rosé. This is a younger vineyard, and Dave is excited to continue to grow the organic and biodynamic practices here.
Brigadoon Vineyard on Leelanau Peninsula is where we are getting our Pinot Gris. It sits up a bit higher and has sandy loam soil with a westerly facing slope. Its owner, Adina Klim, takes great joy in farming and has a real passion for it. Dave has been helping them from the viticultural side and will be continuing to plant vines there.
Rounding out the Michigan vineyards is Crystal Vista Vineyards, owned by Mike and Darlene Heuser, outside of Interlochen. The varietals grown here are Valvin Muscat and Marquette, and Dave’s especially excited about these winter-hardy varietals because he has never worked with them before. These two do a great job farming their vineyard, which is the only vineyard on the block.
We get a lot of our Syrah from Golden Vineyards located in scenic Mendocino County, and Dave consulted with them for many years. We continue to work closely with Julie Golden and get Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon from her in the future. Golden Vineyard has been Demeter (biodynamic), and Organic certified for over 20 years.
The first wine we ever made was a single-vineyard Syrah, our 2010 Phoenix Ranch. Phoenix Ranch is located northeast of the town of Napa on a gentle hillside composed of pebbly ash and loam soils. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically by Brian Phoenix, bringing out site-specificity and the most complexity possible in the fruit.
Dave started working with the Apallas family, owners of Soda Creek Vineyards, in 2011 when they hired him as a biodynamic consultant to eliminate harmful chemicals and instead rely on organic solutions for weed and pest control. In addition, the beautiful gardens and farm animal inhabitants (chickens and goats) create biodiversity and help maintain a thriving ecosystem. Soda Creek Vineyards is located in Napa, California and our Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc come from these vineyards. This is a timeline graphic that they have on their website, and I love it:
A combination of other backyard vineyards makes up DEO. Dave carefully chooses the best Cabernet Sauvignon from the best vineyards for this wine. Each vineyard chosen is approximately ½ acre and is located from St. Helena to Calistoga.
We hope that you see (and taste!) our passion for vineyards and wine through our boutique label. We are beyond excited to showcase our Michigan and California wines in our tasting room in Elk Rapids, Michigan.