The next stop on our whirl-wind tour of wineries in the Leelanau Peninsula was to Shady Lane Cellars. The winery was founded by Dr. Joseph O’Donnell, a neurosurgeon from Grand Rapids in 1987. It recently changed hands to Richard Fortune from Indianapolis, Indiana; whose family has been visiting the area for the last fifty years or so. This is another winery that I have found out has been mentored by Lawrence Mawby of L. Mawby Vineyards and from my further studies appears to be the un-official “Godfather” to the other wineries in the area. I can appreciate his concept, because for years in retailing the concept of a strong neighbor (competitor) makes the entire area better.
I also was surprised to discover later on that the winemaker for Shady Lane Cellars is Adam Satchwell, who I would have liked to have seen, though I am not sure that either one of us, would recognize each other, after all of these years. Adam used to be the General Manager of a great wine shop that used to be directly across the street from the store that I worked at for around thirty-five years in Dearborn, Michigan. He left the wine shop to go and work for Shady Lane Cellars, which was probably a dream job and a more idyllic lifestyle, especially for having the chance to live in that area. The winery also has a very unique outdoor wine tasting area, and the people that were there were full of fun and passion. It was a great way to try the wines on a beautiful day.
The winery has a good mix of wines starting with the whites. The first wine was a Semi-Dry Riesling 2013, and a Coop de Blanc 2013 and the rest of the white wines were considered dry whites. The Coop de Blanc wine was made from the Vignoles grape, a hybrid that works very well in colder climates like The Finger Lakes and Michigan. There was a Dry Riesling 2013, a Muscat 2013, a Gewurztraminer 2013 and a Gruner Veltliner 2013. There were three Rose wines as well; a Cabernet Franc/Merlot Rose 2014, and Pinot Noir Rose 2014 and a Coop de Rose 2014. They also had some red wines and as you can see most of the wines were simply labeled and straight forward, without any fancy names. In the red wines there was a Pinot Noir 2012, a Merlot 2012 and a Coop de Rouge 2010 which was made from the Regent, Cabernet Franc and a small percentage of unlisted varietals. The Regent grape is another hybrid that is considered one of the best at being anti-fungal and ideal for colder climates. Then there were two red wines that had more “fun” names and that is probably because the one varietal would not be readily recognizable by most of the public and may not even get much acceptance or tastings. The last two wines use the Blaufrankisch varietal that is used quite a bit in Austria and some of the Easter European countries as well and is known by several different names, and most of them allude to the blue color of the grape, and has been tagged as “the Pinot Noir of Eastern Europe.” The two wines that use this varietal was Blue Franc 2013 and Franc ‘n’ Franc 2012, which is a blend of Blaufrankisch and Cabernet Franc. They also offered a Hard Cider called Coop de Pomme. We also had more wine to load into the trunk and this was a fun way to do a tasting, especially in great weather.