The Incredible Expanding Mackinaw Trail Winery
A Yooper-born winery, a rebel son, and only-in-this-place grapes, this family business has rewritten the rules on what and where wineries can be.
By Ross Boissoneau | Sept. 21, 2019
Some might have said Ralph Stabile didnt understand some basic scientific/agronomic facts like the fact that wine grapes wouldnt grow as far north as Petoskey, much less the Upper Peninsula. But that didnt stop him. Because sometimes facts are facts, and sometimes as in the case of scientists proving that bumblebees cant fly theyre just old wives tales.
AN UNLIKELY WINEMAKERDespite the rapid growth of his familys business, making wine or beer, or cider, or sparkling wines, for that matter was not Dustin Stabiles original game plan. In fact, while his parents were building their Mackinaw Trail Winery business, he was majoring in criminal justice at Michigan State University. A call home, however, forever altered his career path.
I called my parents asking for some money I was broke and my dad said no, Dustin Stabile said.
He said its also a boon because some tasting room guests just arent wine drinkers, and they would stand around while the rest of their party happily sampled wine. Now we have something for everyone that walks in our door.
GRIN & BEER ITRalph Stabile admits Mackinaw Trails beer sideline isnt a huge moneymaker, but he said its worthwhile especially in terms of providing something for everyone.
Resort Pike Cidery & Winery New Wine Release Party
Brewvine: Ice Wine At Mackinaw Trail Winery
Mackinaw Trail Winery in Petoskey just bottled a very special wine.
For this weeks Brewvine, Whitney Amann and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson show you what makes this wintry wine so special and how to make sure you can get a bottle.
In years past when we release ice wine, people buy it up like crazy, said head of production Dustin Stabile. We went five years without making ice wine so when it is available, people kind of want to get their hands on their share of it.
This is only the third time in the past eight years Mackinaw Trail has produced an ice wine because the conditions need to be just right.
The last time they had ice wine was in 2018 and they only ended up with 50 bottles.
But the dry fall and 17 degree temperatures we had on Christmas Eve, gave Mackinaw Trail the perfect conditions to harvest the frigid fruit.
This year we did 125 cases so were really excited that we should have enough to where well get it into a lot more peoples hands, he said.
The longer time on the vine and the frozen water concentrates the sugars in the fruit and gives the wine its unique flavor.
You can get a sneak peek at Mackinaw Trails newest products by joining their wine club.
As a special treat for their members, their April wine club shipment will include a bottle of tasty ice wine.
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Read Also: What Kind Of Wine Is Stella Rosa
Bearing More Fruit: Winery’s Hard Cider On Growth Trend
PETOSKEY As it works to expand its building and production capacity, a Petoskey winery is eyeing growth potential in the hard cider market.
Mackinaw Trail Winery is constructing a 2,500-square foot addition on the south end of its four-year-old building along U.S. 131 South. Owner Ralph Stabile said the new area will provide storage for finished beverages, and free up existing building space to add six new, 3,200-gallon tanks for fermentation. The expansion efforts, expected to wrap up this fall, will more than double the winerys raw production capacity in gallons.
Our cider production is the main issue for the expansion, Stabile said.
The companys cider output has grown since it started production about three years ago. Its expected to reach 10,000 gallons of apple-based cider this year, along with 5,000 more of the peach variety, and Stabile sees opportunity to expand significantly on the total in the years ahead.
A modest alcohol content, which some drinkers embrace, is one reason Stabile sees potential for the cider categorys appeal to increase.
Cider seems to be more of an acceptable option to carry around in a can, he added.
Mackinaw Trails cider lineup includes three varieties: a traditional apple, a cranberry-apple and a peach offering, and it plans to soon add green apple to the assortment. The company relies on three Northern Michigan growers for fruit sourcing.
Itll actually improve our quality during our fermentation, Stabile said.
Where To Buy
Find Marcias Munchies at one of these grocery and specialty stores.
- Whole Foods Market 3135 Washtenaw Avenue
- Kroger 3615 Washtenaw Avenue
- Kroger 400 S. Maple Road
- Kroger 2641 Plymouth Road
- 31201 Southfield Rd
- Nino Salvaggio 6592 Telegraph Road
- Kroger 9968 E Grand River Ave
- Nino Salvaggio 17496 Hall Rd
- Foods for Living 2750 2655 Grand River
- Fresh Thyme East Lansing 940 Trowbridge Road
- Kroger 1550 W Lake Lansing Road
- Whole Foods Market 2758 East Grand River Avenue
- Kroger 37550 12 Mile Road
- Feast Gourmet Kitchen Shop 495 Fenway Drive
- Virtue Cider 2170 62nd Street
- Kroger 1542 E Pierson Rd
- Cavinaughs at The Homestead 1 Wood Ridge Road
- Kroger 12731 S Saginaw Street
- Bridge Street Market 405 Seward Ave NW
- Booze Barn 1007 3813 Tractor Drive
- Sweetfern Cafe & Empotium 7595 W 5 Mile Rd
- Kroger 540 S Main St
- Kroger 35000 23 Mile Road
- Tribune Ice Cream & Eatery 110 E Nagonaba Street
Fresh Thyme 15480 Sheldon Road
Kroger 460 N Lapeer Road
- Mackinaw Trail Winery 3423 US Hwy 131
- Petoskey Cheese 437 E. Mitchell, Petoskey
- Symons General Store & Wine Cellar 401 East Lake Street
- Plaths Meats 2200 E. Mitchell Road
Also Check: Best Temperature For Wine Fridge