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Domaine Berrien Cellars is a proud member of Rhone Rangers.

We can’t stress enough that wine is made in the vineyard, which is why our vineyards are so important to us. Domaine Berrien Cellars is an all estate winery. What does that mean? It means that all of our wines are made only from grapes grown in our vineyards and that all of our winemaking and bottling takes place right here on site as well. This gives us the control over the grapes and we make decisions all during the growing year that maximize the quality (not quantity) of our grapes. This gives us a higher probability of producing the most premium wines.

Our unique site located on one of the highest points in Berrien County, within the Lake Michigan Shore AVA growing region, provides what can be the ideal climate for outstanding wine grapes. The extended growing season and gentle ripening contribute to the characteristics of quality and complexity in our wines. Located on southerly facing hillsides ranging from 900’ to 800’ of elevation, our vineyards are trellised in a north/south direction to provide even sunlight on both sides of the vines, and hold the sun’s heat to allow better ripening of the grapes, especially for red wines.

Our oldest vines were planted in 1992, and we have been adding more grapevines each year as our needs grow. We currently grow 21 different varieties of wine grapes in our 40 acres of vineyards:

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Sauvignon

Chardonnay

Chelois

deChaunac

Lemberger

Malbec

Marsanne

Merlot

Petit Verdot

Pinot Gris

Pinot Noir

Riesling

Roussanne

St. Vincent

Sauvignon Blanc

Seyval Blanc

Syrah

Traminette

Vignoles

Viognier

 

Summer in the Vineyard: The grapevines have already flowered for the year and the flowers that have pollinated themselves are now turning into grapes.  The grapes are all green at this stage of development and are about the size of small peas.  We are in the process of positioning the grapevine shoots on the trellis so that they will grow properly and won’t shade the fruit.  Sunlight is very important in ripening the grapes & keeping them open for breezes also helps to keep them dry.  We also spray the grapes now to protect them as they grow from insects, molds, & mildews.

 

 

After the grape clusters get a little larger, we will be thinning (also known as “green harvest”) by cutting off the excess bunches and only leaving the number of grape bunches per vine that we feel the vine can get ripe based on the health of the vine and the weather conditions that we are experiencing this year.  A grapevine could produce 80 to 100+ grape bunches but for optimum quality wine production here in SW Michigan, we will only keep 30 to 35 bunches on each vine.

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