Breathtaking views, first class hospitality and exciting wines welcomed us to the Old Mission Península of Michigan a couple of weeks ago when we visited Mari Vineyards and the Peninsula for the first time. This stunning Italian inspired winery sits on top of a hill overlooking the crystal clear blue waters of the Grand Traverse Bay. Mari Vineyards is the vision of Marty Lagina, a former engineer and energy business pioneer now turned treasure hunter as you can witness by watching the tv show The Curse of Oak Island.
During the visit, we were fortunate to have Mari’s Winemaker, Sean O’Keefe, as our host. O’Keefe, who is a member of the family that inspired the wine revolution on the Old Mission Peninsula and who is also known as Michigan’s First Family of Riesling, is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the region. At Mari, Sean has combined his formal training, which he received in Germany, and his knowledge for the area, to create an exciting portfolio of wines.
While touring the winery with O’Keefe, it became clear that there is a true commitment to making world class wines at Mari Vineyards. From being the first northern Michigan winery to design an extensive aging cave, to their Nellaserra growing technology, which provides approximately 4 extra weeks of ripening period for the grapes, Owner Marty Lagina, is giving his team all of the tools necessary to succeed in this mission.
During the tasting it was exciting to see the diversity of their portfolio. To no surprise, due to O’Keefe’s knowledge of the region and his training in Germany, their Rieslings are elegant and balanced showing a nice contrast between fruit and acidity. We were also impressed with the layers of flavor that their Cabernet Franc showed and with their sparkling, which is 100% Riesling and offers some delicious tropical notes.
Marty, Sean and the rest of the Mari Vineyards team are without a doubt making wines to be proud of. We have certainly become fans and are already thinking about our next visit. If you are in the area, Mari is for sure a must visit. If Michigan is not on your bucket list, make sure to track down some of their wines, you will be in for a treat.
Thanks Sean for your time and hospitality. We will be keeping an eye out for your new releases and we also look forward to tasting some of the wines that you are working on focused on Italian varietals. Cheers! 🍷