The Perfect #NOMI Winter Wine Weekend

We know after the holiday season, many of us feel those January blues. We need a change of pace or scenery to give us something to look forward to. Well, lucky for you, we’ve designed the perfect antidote with a trip to beautiful northern Michigan wine country! The itinerary includes some of our Rove Recs with places you must try and fun things to do up here during a winter wine weekend. Truthfully though, there are SO MANY choices that we could probably write a blog series about all there is to see, taste, and sip here in beautiful Traverse City.

During the weekly commute to work or whatnot, the cold and snowy weather can be a bit of a drag. However, those of us who live in the Great White North choose to embrace this quiet, restorative, snowy wonderland. In fact, we highly recommend visiting the region in the winter or during the shoulder seasons. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a lowkey and more intentional visit. Many of the folks you meet at our local businesses have the time to talk and form a much more personable connection, sharing tips from locals or favorite spots. Eating, drinking, and visiting areas that us locals frequent will surely give you a much more meaningful experience.

Friday Evening

For high-energy vibes to kick off your wine weekend, we recommend… Mama’s Lu’s Taco Shop. They have fresh and delicious tacos for everyone and not to mention, some of the best guacamole in town. We’re pretty sure their street corn will go down in history, so make sure you try ‘em.

They carry local wine, beer, and cider, but if we are being honest, we are obsessed with their margaritas! Nothing says vacation like a margarita, and they have really fun options. Try the Champagne Margarita, which features a local winery’s sparkling wine! 

If you’re coming off a long week at work, you may just be feeling like a relaxing evening to unwind and rest up for an action-packed weekend. After all, it is a vacation. If this is your ideal Friday evening in Traverse City, we recommend picking up some pizza from a local favorite, Charles and Reid Detroit Style Pizza! We love the SOOOO-EEEYYY and the PEP IN YO’ STEP, but always keep an eye out for these pizza geniuses’ specials! They are incredible! Not to mention their owners, Dan and Kristen (and baby Jacqueline), are one of the coolest families in town! There is a lot of love going into those pizzas, and it shows.

Saturday AM

Although it may not be peak season for tourism in Nomi, there is still so much to do! 

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a great place to start any day! If you’re in the mood for brunch, we recommend Red Spire Brunch House or Sugar 2 Salt! If you’re just looking for a quick cup of joe, look no further than Higher Grounds Trading Co.

During the winter, the Commons hosts the Indoor Farmer’s Market from 10 AM-2 PM (on Saturdays) for delicious local produce, meat, jams, soaps, lotions, and so much more. Don’t forget to pick up a delicious pastry from 9 Bean Rows while you’re there. You won’t regret it!

The Commons is also a hub for beautiful boutique shops that are perfect for unique items, souvenirs, and local goods. Definitely take some time to do some shopping while you’re there!

Saturday Afternoon

Winter afternoons are the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors and your favorite local wine. You can kill two birds with one stone here at Rove Estate. We have snowshoe trails around the vineyard available all winter long. You can do loops around our snow-covered vines or take a hike through our path in the woods that leads to Rove Point, the highest point in Leelanau county.

After enjoying the fresh air, you can taste some of our estate-grown wines. Maybe even stick around for a glass or two of your favorites. If you hang around long enough, you will be able to catch the sunset! Sunsets at Rove are seriously some of the best around, and even better with a glass of wine in hand. We are known (year round) for incredible sunsets due to our panoramic views and very high altitude. Friday through Sunday, we offer our seasonal favorite—hot winter sangria in mugs—and have our solo fire pits pumping out heat. The perfect combination to warm up after a hike around the vineyard during your wine weekend. 

If you do not have your own snowshoes, there are plenty of places in the area to rent them! Check the Traverse City Tourism guide to snowshoeing here for recommendations!

Saturday Evening

If you have not made it to Farm Club yet, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to check it out! Farm Club is a farm, restaurant, brewery, bakery, and marketplace. In the winter, they bring out their Shepherd’s Tent, complete with a cozy wood burning stove where you can book a private four-course meal for $65 per person. This is a fantastic opportunity to taste true farm-to-table northern Michigan cuisine. They also have a fantastic menu of their own beers, local wine, cider, and non-alcoholic options!

If the Shepherd’s Tent is booked out, their constantly fresh and changing menu for indoor dining is a fantastic option.

Sunday 

If you’re looking for that little extra R&R before you head back home, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers incredible services of massage, facials, nail care, and access to their pools, hot tubs, saunas, and fitness centers. Begin your morning feeling rejuvenated!

For some fuel for your journey home, try Raduno, which features seasonal salads, sandwiches, baked goods, pasta, and more! The menu is constantly rotating as they carefully source all of their ingredients and produce from local Michigan farmers. We love the local love! 

Lake District Wine Co. is a neighbor to Raduno so you can stop in and pick up some wine for the journey home. Their extensive selection features international wines as well as many of our local wineries. These weekends are just too short to visit every single winery here in the Traverse Wine Coast, but this is a perfect one-stop shop to try another local winery and give you ideas on where to go for your next adventure in beautiful northern Michigan!

What is a Nice Bottle of Wine for a Gift? 11 Tips to Guide Your Holiday Wine Purchases

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift? That depends largely on the person you’re buying for! Our guide leaves you with tasting notes and food pairings to help you buy the perfect wine for your loved one or work friend.

We constantly get asked questions about what wine to buy as a gift for someone. As the holidays are quickly approaching, we wanted to give you a guide for what wines to purchase for anyone, whether they are family, your best friend, or your work colleague. Whether you are bringing wine to turkey day or as a secret Santa gift, this guide is for you!

What is a Nice Bottle of Wine for a Gift?

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift? Our wine gifting guide gives you 11 tips to follow

The Mother-in-Law: 2020 Pinot Noir Rosé

This dry style Rosé color is so gorgeous it will bring beauty to the table at any family gathering. It goes with everything from Thanksgiving turkey to cranberry sauce to the beautiful cocktail shrimp spread on Christmas Eve! They will thank you for knowing the exact wine to pair for their party (bonus points!).

‘That’ Wine Friend: 2020 Gewurztraminer

We all know them… and of course love them. But that one friend who geeks out about yeast strains, Pinot Noir clones, and aging in amphora will love the individuality of our Gewurztraminer. With its gorgeous tropical and floral notes that are so elegant and delicious, it will have them discussing the aromas all night long. Of course, they will get a kick out of actually knowing how to pronounce it too!

The Classy One: 2020 Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is one of the most versatile wines, with a full flavor, balance, and truly timeless appeal. With a round texture and intriguing aromas, it complements most foods. Boasting classic aromas of pear, apple, and ripe lemon with a subtle touch of smoke, this is a wine that will never go out of style!

The Life of the Party: 2020 Brut Sparkling

With the ‘pop’ of the cork, our 2020 Brut Sparkling lets you know it has arrived, much like the life of the party! This wine is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Riesling, and flavors of green apple, lemon drop, and white peach create an exciting wine full of flavor. This wine makes an entrance and sparkles anywhere it goes!

 

The Optimist: 2020 Select Harvest Riesling

We all have that friend that is a literal ray of sunshine whenever they walk into the room. The Select Harvest Riesling also has that special effect, and with every sip, you find yourself smiling just a little bit more. With notes of peach and key lime pie that finish with just a hint of sweetness, it can seriously brighten anyone’s day! 

The Quirky Intellectual: 2018 Oaked Chardonnay

This classic wine is perfectly enjoyed by the fireplace, in your pajamas while reading a good book. The toasty and smoky notes are warm while the fruit flavors balance the wine. It is enjoyed at room temperature and is the perfect white wine for the cozier time of year. 

The Foodie: 2020 Dry Riesling

Dry Riesling is all the rage with its electric acidity, ability to age and intense aromas. It pairs well with the simplest dishes to fine dining delicacies (hello tuna tartare!). Your foodie friend will appreciate a wine to go with all the crazy things they cook up this holiday season!

The Boss: 2020 Unoaked Chardonnay

It is no secret that this wine is one of our best sellers at Rove Estate. With its tropical fruit bomb nose and delicious flavors everyone who tries this wine likes it. Your boss will be highly impressed with your fine taste in wine!

 

The Secret Santa Party: 2020 Pinot Grigio

What is a nice bottle of wine for a gift when you don’t know someone? Pinot Grigio is always a safe bet! Everyone knows and loves Pinot Grigio—it’s refreshing, delicious, and pairs well with food. It is a great wine to start a meal or drink on the patio all summer long. Whoever receives this wine will be pleasantly surprised and enjoy it no matter where or what they are doing!

The Health Guru: 2018 Trí 

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Pinot Noir. It has notes of cherries, plums and currants along with warm baking spices. The color from these red wines come from the skins which also contain antioxidants. Any health-conscious friend will appreciate the health benefits associated with those high levels of antioxidants!

 

The Wine Collector: The Holiday Trio!

Our holiday trio contains the Dry Riesling, Pinot Noir Rosé, and the 2018 Trí. Why give one bottle when you can give three?! Your friend with the gorgeous wine cellar will appreciate these bottles to age or drink over this holiday season. You save 20% on the wine when you purchase the trio—talk about a win/win!

Let Wine Connect You and Your Loved Ones

We hope you find this guide helpful and see our amazing estate-grown wines in a new light. The truth of the matter is wine is a fantastic gift! Anyone and everyone would be appreciative of your thoughtfulness in picking a fantastic locally grown wine for them to share with their loved ones. Wine connects people and this is the perfect time of year to slow down, enjoy one another’s company, and give the gift of true human connection.

Every Glass Holds a Story: The Life Cycle of Wine Vineyards

The year’s stormy weather, the type of grapes on the vine, the leathery hands of the workers that picked each one—these are the things that make up the story of every vintage. Just as every family has its story to tell, so does every glass of wine. Let us take you through the life cycle of wine vineyards.

When we say “every glass holds a story,” we mean it both literally and figuratively. We are farmers first, and we know that good wine is made in the vineyard. It is easy to forget, or to simplify all of the work and time that goes into each bottle of wine.

Sometimes we can forget ourselves as we get sucked into the seasonal grind of Mother Nature. Each week, month, and season is a critical building block that ultimately determines the beautiful and alluring nuances making each vintage unique in its own right. A true time capsule, perfectly summing up the season—from the grit to the glory. From unexpected hail, to unseasonable heat, or an October snow storm thrown in for good measure. And literally everything in between.

Those variables show through in our wines. We love showing our guests these delicate details and making that connection from the vine to the glass. We wanted to take the time to start at the beginning. To take a moment and pause and go through the plant life cycle, from bud burst in Spring through harvest. There is always SO MUCH going on in the vineyard, so much more than meets the eye. From the deep roots and soil nutrition through canopy management to focusing on sugar production in the fruit zone. We are constantly learning, and evolving our farming practices to ensure the best health of our vines and also highest quality in production. We take the responsibility of being stewards of the land very seriously and that is one of our greatest privileges—to be able to do what we love all while adding value to the land. The cherry on top is that we get to share the fruits of our labor with you. Wine is about connection. And we believe that connection is understanding that every glass holds a story. 

March through November, our vines are doing so much work to produce and ripen our fruit! Then once we harvest, the hard work in the cellar starts. This winter, stay tuned for additional blog posts on the enology (wine making) side of our business.

The Life Cycle of Wine Grapes: 6 Steps

  1. Budburst – When temperatures rise in the spring, the vine awakens. Buds containing the genetic makeup for the vine growth bursts from the vine, signifying the beginning of the growing season. 
  2. Shoot and Leaf Growth – From these buds, new green shoots and leaves grow at rapid rates using the nutrients stored in the trunk and energy from the sunlight and heat beginning with the warming climate.
  3. Flowering and Fruit Set – Like many other fruit plants, flowers (through inflorescence) will appear and the flowers will go through pollination, which sets where the grape berries will form. 
  4. Grape Development – As the growing season progresses, the warmth, sunlight, water, soil nutrients, climate, and weather all affect how fast or slow the grapes will ripen. As the grapes ripen, the sugar accumulates within the grapes.
  5. Harvest – One of the most crucial points of the growing season (and for future winemaking) is selecting the harvest date. In the fall, the nights cool, helping to retain acidity (needed for balance in the wine). The sunny days continue the photosynthesis of the vine, adding to the sugar concentration of the grapes. The sugar eventually will get to a desired concentration (sugar concentration relates to final potential alcohol in the wine), and the flavors and aromas of the grape will also be to the liking of the vineyard manager/winemaker. At this point the grapes are harvested off the vine and taken to a facility to be made into wine.
  6. Dormancy – With dormancy, the life cycle of wine grapes ends. After harvest when the temperatures cool, the vine will lose its leaves and store enough CHO (carbohydrates) and nutrients to sustain over the cool winter. It serves as a kind of hibernation state for the vine.

Food and Wine Pairing Rules 101: Labor Day Combinations to Impress Your Guests

Labor Day signifies the end of our gorgeous northern Michigan summers. Barbecues and grilling are some of the best ways to gather and enjoy these last few weeks of warm weather. Food and wine are both amazing on their own—and together, they can really bring out the best in each other. Not all pairings are a perfect match, but when you do find a great one, it can completely transform your experience. That is why we put together a set of food and wine pairing rules, just to get you off on the right foot to impress your guests!

Food and Wine Pairing Rules: The Basics

Here are three elements of food and wine and how you can think of them when pairing food with wine:

#1: Flavors

When thinking about food and wine, there are two flavor categories to consider: congruent and contrasting flavors.

Congruent flavors exist within the same flavor family. An example of congruent flavors is beef and mushroom. They are both earthy and savory and have significant amounts of umami flavor.

Contrasting flavors are flavors that complement each other and taste great together, even if they’re not in the same flavor family. A prime example is lime and coconut. They do not have the same flavor profiles but somehow just work well together!

#2: Textures

Food and wine textures can also be congruent or complementary. An example of congruent textures in food and wine would be a sweet wine with a sweet food (think lemon cake and select harvest Riesling!).

But let’s say you’re eating foods with creamy or fatty textures, such as cheese, beef, or fried foods. You want to instead complement those foods by choosing a wine with high acidity—it will cut through that texture and balance the dish.

#3: Body

In regards to the body of the wine, I always think that lighter wines go great with lighter foods. To make sure that your wine doesn’t overpower your food (and vice versa), here’s a general rule of thumb: The heavier the food, the heavier the body of the wine.

That is why you have probably heard of pairing white wine with fish and red wine with meat. It’s a safe bet to just follow that rule—but experimenting with all three of these elements is what can make it so fun and interesting!

Find the recipe for this tasty cilantro lime grilled chicken at the end of our post!

Bonus Tip!

The last little rule that I like to follow is a saying that goes “what grows together, goes together.” This means that pasta is generally great with Italian wine. That Napa Cabernet is great with a Californian cow ribeye steak. Traverse wine coast wines go well with fresh produce from your local farmer, with fresh fish caught out of our bay and local bakeries baking the best pastries and pies for dessert. Go out and support your local producers and pair them with your favorite local wines!

The Joy is All in Experimentation

Although these are good things to think about when pairing wine and food, it is completely a personal experience. The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is a fantastic resource in learning all things about wine and it has general guidelines for wine and food pairings. But remember: the food and wine pairing rules shouldn’t rule you. Try different combinations and see what you like the best—it’s all part of the fun!

Recipes For Your Labor Day Fun

Here are some great recipes to take to your get together this Labor Day weekend. Pair them with our estate-grown wines!

 

 

A Showcase of Lush Michigan Wines: The Judgement of Michigan Wine Competition

Earlier this month, Rove Estate had the distinct pleasure of participating in the inaugural Judgement of Michigan wine competition that brought together Michigan winemakers, including Traverse City wineries. Each location proudly showcased their incredible home-grown wines to an extensive panel of industry experts from all over the country. It was truly one of the most diverse and impressive panels of educators and influencers. The Michigan Wine Collaborative and Lake Michigan College planned and hosted the event to bring the wines of Michigan together as a united front to promote and bring awareness to our state’s burgeoning wine industry.

Bringing Michigan Wine to a National Stage

The competition’s main purpose is to help wineries like Rove Estate expand their reach. “It’s more of an inclusive tasting evaluation with buyers and influencers from Michigan, Chicagoland, and the greater United States,” said Gina Shay, who is vice president of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that promotes the state’s flourishing wine industry and one of the partners in the new judging event. “We hesitate to say it’s ‘the new competition,’ because instead of the point being to pit Michigan wineries against each other, it’s more of an introduction or re-introduction of Michigan wines to relevant judges in the wine community who can help Michigan wine reach more consumers.”

Michigan Hosted a Diverse Group of Judges

The judges came from near and far with diversity in professions as well as palates. Among them were wine journalists, buyers, retailers, influencers, and educators. The 22 judges sat in groups and assessed the wines blindly (meaning they didn’t know what winery produced what wine, eliminating any bias). The group rated the wines on a quality tiered system of double gold, gold, silver, and bronze. Traverse City wineries stunned with winners across the board, validating our world-class wine region.

Rove Estate’s Mission

Although we love a friendly competition with our colleagues and peers, the sole objective is to band together and shout from the rooftops to show the world the incredibly unique and delicious wines of Michigan. The collective impact of this event has already turned heads among wine professionals throughout the country, and even the world. We may be a young region, but we are confident in the wines we can produce and varietals we can grow. As we say in the business, we will only get better with time. Each year, as an industry, we continue to push the envelope and raise our standards in both winemaking and farming practices. There is so much enthusiasm and passion behind our mission!

Rove Estate submitted three wines to this competition and proudly brought home two medals! Of course, it is always fun to be recognized for our quality wines—but the biggest reason we wanted to participate in the Judgement of Michigan was to show both our support and enthusiasm for elevating Michigan and local Traverse City wineries. A rising tide lifts all boats. And we couldn’t be prouder to be included in this fleet!

Planning the Perfect Traverse City Wine Tour

Are you considering Traverse City wine tours for your next getaway? Ready to taste the fresh, bright notes of our award-winning wines? If your upcoming trip will be your first time visiting our region, here are a few tips to prepare a perfect wine coast vacation.

The Traverse Wine Coast consists of two lovely peninsulas — Old Mission and Leelanau. In more recent years, these regions have received more and more recognition for their fruit-forward wines with bright acidity. With the number of accolades Traverse City wineries have been winning in international wine competitions, visiting our beautiful coastline should definitely be on your wine tour bucket list.

Tip #1: Consider Your Group Size

If you plan to travel in a larger group, then consider keeping the size to 4 to 6 people. For bigger groups of over 6 people, visit on less popular days for an optimal experience. Your Traverse City winery visits will usually be less crowded between Sunday and Friday. Pro-tip: there are a few wineries that will open up at 10 AM and stay open past 6 PM to help accommodate the high demand of summer/fall traffic. 

Tip #2: Research Wineries Before You Arrive

There are over 40 wineries in our region, and as our wines gain more recognition, this number will keep growing! However, it’s best to keep your visit to four wineries (five is pushing it!). This will allow you to enjoy and savor each winery without feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of locations here. Do the research before booking your flight and prioritize which ones you wish to visit.

With the number of incredible wineries here, it’s tempting to want to try them all. Plan on multiple Traverse City wine tours! We are definitely a destination that deserves multiple visits. 

Tip #3: Decide What Kind of Tour You Want

Many decide to go on a self-guided tour with a designated driver and handpick every winery they want to visit based on their own research. Others decide to leave all the details to a local wine tour company or chauffeur. With a company, you don’t have to worry about driving or choosing from all the wineries in Traverse City. Instead, you get to sit back and focus on simply enjoying your time.

Tip #4: Enjoy Time in Each Peninsula

While you can book a separate wine tour for both Old Mission and Leelanau on your trip here, we recommend taking the time to taste the best of both worlds. Each region boasts its own unique terrain and vineyards — we recommend a day for both!

Ready to Amp Up Your Traverse Wine Coast Vacation?

Make Rove Estate Winery one of your stops! We craft our wines exclusively with estate-grown grapes for a plethora of unique fragrances and tastes that please all of your senses. Since our winery is located between Old Mission and Leelanau, it is the ideal place to begin or end your Traverse City wine tour. To make a reservation with us or book a tour (with a stop at Rove Estate), click here or email us at visit@roveestate.com.

Rove Estate: Our 5-Year Anniversary!

‘Rove’ is a Gaelic term that is defined as a journey without a destination. To rove is to travel, to experience, to wander, or just to set out for an adventure, even when you don’t quite know where that adventure will lead you… Rove Estate is that adventure that Creighton and McKenzie Gallagher set out on, nearly 10 years ago.

 

From their multi-generational northern Michigan cherry farm, they began their dream and planted a vineyard, not knowing all the hardships that came along with that dream. As unlikely winery owners, they pursued their dream with no security or assurances—a leap of faith—which is truly echoed by the intrepid spirits of their Irish ancestors.

Rove Estate's McKenzie Gallagher

The little known tale of the ‘Winegeese’ begins with a group of Irishmen that fled their home country in the 17th and 18th centuries, leaving all comfort and security behind, for the glimmer of a more meaningful existence. Back in the day, Ireland was one of the biggest trade buyers of fine wine. The Irish loved their fine wine, so naturally they emigrated to the wine capital of the world, Bordeaux and eventually around the world. Despite the odds, they found success in winemaking, establishing a worldwide legacy that persists today.

The Irish farmers were true stewards of the land to produce the highest quality grapes that would turn into some of the highest quality wine. Not many realize that farming is truly at the heart of our Irish ancestors and how they lived their lives, which is why we pride ourselves on being a truly farm-first winery.

Rove Estate's Creighton Gallagher

Farming is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, adaptability, and a surprising amount of faith. You never know what Mother Nature is going to give you. Each year we choose to share all our trials when it comes to the challenges of farming, and our triumphs in the form of delicious estate grown wine. On the back of each of our bottles you can read the notes of each growing season from that vintage as well as the exact date Rove Estate harvests those particular grapes.

We pay homage to our Irish ancestors and carry their unwavering spirit and into our own lives, and it is truly intertwined into the foundations and heart of Rove Estate. We believe every glass holds a story, and our story is centuries deep. So we raise a glass to the beginning, we raise a glass to these incredible five years, and we raise a glass to whatever the future may hold. Slaínte!

The Art of Swirling and Aerating: How to Enhance the Aroma of Your Wine

The guide to wine aromas, swirling, and aerating your wine!

Wine descriptions are often filled with a huge spectrum of aromas and flavors. 

Wine is filled with aromatic compounds that are specific to a certain grape varietal, winemaking technique, or age of a wine. 

For example, when you smell strawberries in a wine, you recognize the aromatic compound abundant in strawberries! Truth be told, there are not any strawberries in your glass (unless you put them there for sangria), but you are inhaling the same aromatic compound that your brain recognizes as the smell of strawberry!

How Swirling Affects the Aroma of Wine

The best way to get these aromas to come to life is by swirling the glass. To put it simply, the alcohol binds to different aromatic compounds. When you swirl the wine in your glass, the oxygen agitates the alcohol. The alcohol then evaporates, lifting the aromas into the air and leaving them more accessible for you to smell. 

Why Should I Aerate My Wine?

Aerating or decanting a wine can also be beneficial, not only for the aromas but the overall structure and mouthfeel. Generally, when you aerate or decant your drink, the more undesirable compounds will evaporate first and leave you with a more desirable fragrance. Alcohol is a very volatile compound (think of the smell of nail polish or straight spirit) so it is not desirable to taste or smell. When you aerate a wine, that alcohol will “burn off” or evaporate in small amounts to leave you with pleasant smells.

Your wine begins aerating as soon as you open the bottle. The more it is exposed to oxygen, the quicker it aerates. Pouring it into your glass and swirling it will help expose your drink to air. For more extreme wines that are more dense, concentrated, or tannic, decanting is a good option to help soften the wine and expose the desirable aromas.

Older wines have unique and delicate flavors and aromas that can potentially disappear too quickly—be cautious when decanting them. Generally, they are decanted to remove sediment. 

Stop and Inhale Before You Taste

Now you can apply the saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ to wine. Take a second before you sip to breathe deep and see if you can recognize any particular aroma! It can be really fun and even challenging at first. But the more you practice, the better you become. Happy tasting!