This 41 acre parcel represents one of Leelanau’s northernmost commercial vineyards, and it is the foundation for Verterra wines. It is a beautiful, rolling former cherry orchard, 19 acres of which were planted in May of 2007. Yes, we went from 1.5 acre planting in an afternoon at Eagles Nest to an insane, 4 day planting extravaganza. It was an amazing experience all be it an exhausting one. Even with mechanical planting you have plants that don't go in the ground correctly and have to manually planted and in the end you have to touch all of the vines. We have nine foot wide rows and then we planted our red grape vines three feet apart and our whites four feet apart. At the end of the four days, we had planted 20,000 vines!!!
When picking grapes vines there are hundreds of choices and combinations of root stock and varietal clones. Each combination will grow a bit differently, produce a bit different fruit and therefore produce a bit different wine. We spent many months working through our plan based on the soil type, rolling landscape, cold hardiness and looking for basically any literature we could find on the different grape vines from the text book to the anecdotal. In the end, we ended up with the following:
- Pinot Gris
- Pinot Blanc
- Cabernet Franc
- Pinot Noir