Page 74 - Visitors Guide 18
P. 74

Connecting glaciers, pH, county vineyards
(Continued from Page 72)
“He was amazed. He did soil samples, and the perfect pH was 6.5 and he found out that we have so much of that here,” Matthies recalls.
Having a 27-mile inland lake transect the county adds to the county’s good looks and grape quality, he added.
Just like Matthies’ favorite drink, the Leelanau winery business has matured with age. He cited pioneers such as Bernie Rink, Larry Mawby and Bruce Simpson for unveiling Leelanau’s potential.
Though he won’t admit it, Matthies’ name belongs with that list of visionaries.
We’ll draw from a moment in history to explain the start to Leelanau’s relatively quick rise in the ranks of wine country. More than a decade ago vintner Tony Ciccone sought
to close the miles between his family’s heritage and Ciccone Vineyard, which sits high on a bluff separating West Grand Traverse Bay and south Lake Leelanau. So he took it upon himself to sponsor an opera in the Traverse City Opera House.
Ciccone happens to be
the father of a singer with 300 million in record sales. But he does not use her name to promote his wines, which he says should stand on their own merit. We won’t mention her name here because, well, Tony wouldn’t want that.
When asked why sponsor the show, he replied, “We have
a building called an ‘opera house’ that has never hosted an opera. So we thought we should do something about it.”
Such vision saw vineyards where they should exist.
— by Alan Campbell
Bernie Rink, a pioneer county grape-grower, chose to retire last year, ending the long run of Boskydel Vineyards. There has been discussion among other vintners to continue harvesting grapes from the property. Rink, 91, still resides on the property.
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