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Michigan winery and Chicago restaurant come together to create and launch local keg wine in Illinois

Michigan keg wine makes its debut in Illinois at Chicago's newly opened Farmhouse Tavern. Partnering with Fresh Coast Distributors, Farmhouse Tavern offers house white and red wines on tap from Domaine Berrien Cellars in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

As the first Illinois restaurant to offer Michigan wine by the keg, Farmhouse Tavern owners TJ Callahan and Ferdia Doherty are proud pioneers of kegged local wine, the next logical step following the popular local food movement along with the trend towards local craft beers and spirits. Much like in European countries, where you drink local wine in the restaurants, Farmhouse Tavern will offer the same. “Ferdia and TJ wanted to find the best local wine to offer on tap to pair with their food and were impressed with the artisan juice Wally is producing at Domaine Berrien. We went through several barrel tastings before they decided on Domaine Berrien’s Marsanne and Merlot to feature as the Farmhouse White and Farmhouse Red,” says Kelly Kniewel, COO of Fresh Coast Distributors .

The exclusive Domaine Berrien wine is brought to Farmhouse Tavern via Fresh Coast Distributors in 20 liter disposable KeyKegs which when tapped, does not allow air to enter the container, keeping the wines fresh for months versus days in a traditional bottle. The KeyKeg also offers a reduced impact on the environment because of its recyclable components while eliminating the need for a return trip to the winery for refilling as needed with stainless steel kegs. Wally Mauer, owner and winemaker at Domaine Berrien Cellars says, “We’re excited to partner with Farmhouse Tavern on their keg wine project and expose Chicagoans to Michigan wine. Our Midwestern, lake-influenced terroir is unique and we’re producing excellent wines just across the water from one of the best food cities in the world, certainly a great pairing.”

Farmhouse Tavern is a Midwestern tavern featuring Midwest beers, wine and spirits and locally sourced seasonal fare from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana. The menu is driven by Chef Eric Mansavage, formerly of Club Lucky, South Water Kitchen and Branch 27. The tavern will also feature house-made items like flavored sodas, catchup and chips.
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High praise for Domaine Berrien Cellars wines

at 6th annual Lake Michigan Shore AVA wine evaluation


Being awarded “Best of Category” certificates for its 2010 Crown of Cab and 2010 Merlot, Domaine Berrien Cellars (DBC) won high marks for all seven of the wines it entered in the 6th Annual Lake Michigan Shore (LMS) Wine Evaluation held Feb. 5, 2013 in Benton Harbor, MI.  A panel of three Master Sommeliers lead by Ron Edwards, tasted through 82 wines during the all day session and handed out unbiased critiques of each wine.  Each category of wines was tasted together blind, along with one or two wines from other world-class winegrowing regions of the world.  After giving their comments, the judges voted on their top three wines. The wines from other regions were then identified, along with the top pick of the panel.

In the Merlot category, Domaine Berrien Cellars 2010 Merlot was the top vote getter (tied with Karma Vista Winery), beating out a Washington State Merlot which was the benchmark wine from outside the LMS region and 7 other LMS Merlots.  The panelists loved the DBC Merlot, calling it “a rock star of wines” – “awesome” – “very well made” – “absolutely varietally correct”.  One judge swore that it was from the Right Bank of the Bordeaux Region in France and said, “If this wine is from Michigan, then I want to meet the winemaker!”  Another judge said, “Whoever made this wine, keep on doing whatever you are doing!”

In the Bordeaux-style blend category, Domaine Berrien Cellars 2010 Crown of Cab was again voted the best of the category, winning out over both French and Napa Valley blends.  The judges described the Crown of Cab blend as perfectly balanced, gorgeous, elegant, very integrated, and stated that it will age well.

Comments on the DBC 2010 Cabernet Franc:  “A great bottle of wine! Rich & balanced.”

Comments on the DBC 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon: “Very polished. The finish goes on forever!”

Comments on the 2010 DBC Syrah: “Well done!  A perfect example of a Syrah! Spicy, delicious, black cherry, blueberry, smoked meat, bacon.  YUMM!”

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