By Amanda Renkiewicz – Photos by Tabone Vineyards
It’s winter in Northern Michigan: a time that can seem endless, lethargic, and dull to those who haven’t found a place to recapture energy and excitement. While wine tasting in our area certainly adds spice and fun to the bleakest days, one winery has transformed the winter blues into an absolute thrill. Tabone Vineyards not only offers their award-winning wines for tasting but provides magical igloos that take sipping wine to an entirely new level.
While Tabone Vineyards is indeed the newest winery on Old Mission Peninsula, the vineyard has been operational for nearly two decades. The tasting room has been open for over a year and has wowed visitors with its sense of artistry. The building is large and inviting, with a white exterior contrasting with the dark red roof. Their symbol is a medieval-looking crimson cross, which also appears on their labels. Inside the tasting room, light wood on the ceiling and as accented trim adds additional height to the tall space. A long white marble countertop is a focal point and a smooth surface for beginning a delightful tasting.
2019 has been a remarkable year for Tabone. At the 32nd Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, where over 1,300 wines were evaluated by a team of distinguished judges, ten of Tabone’s estate-grown wines earned medals. They received a double gold medal for their 2017 Estate Semi-Sweet Pinot Gris, a crisp, fruit-forward wine with tropical and starfruit notes. Silver medals were awarded for multiple vintages, including the 2016 Estate Chardonnay, a bright, unoaked wine with notes of lemon and granny smith apple, and the 2017 Estate Sweet Harvest Riesling, which has flavors of candied lemon, honey, and jasmine. At the prestigious INDY International Wine Competition, Tabone received seven awards, including a gold medal for its 2014 Estate Riesling, a dry, whole cluster pressed Riesling with notes of nectarine and pear. As an estate winery, 100% of the grapes were sourced from Tabone’s vineyards.
Owner Mario A. Tabone expressed his thoughts on the results, saying, “I am humbled and honored, and look forward to making more exceptional wines.”
As a member of the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula, Tabone participates in the popular signature events that traditionally sell out. They partnered with Birdhouse Bites, a food truck specializing in craft food, for the November Mac and Cheese Bakeoff, where they created an andouille mac and cheese with smoked cheddar that was a hit for all attendees. Upcoming events include the January Winter Warm-Up, and the February Romancing the Riesling. During the winter season, the igloos are open for business! Enjoy a glass of wine in the deliriously comfortable and cozy clear igloo, where you can stay warm and watch the snow fall while drinking exceptional wine.
Along with walk-in tastings, Tabone offers three different wine club options. The Knight’s Club, Master’s Club, and Grand Master’s Club include member perks, bottle discounts, and varying levels of shipments and VIP event invitations. They have also provided events like S’more Wine Please, where guests can roast s’mores over an open fire, Wine Wednesdays, and anniversary celebrations. Stay tuned to their Facebook page to be updated on their newest listings!
During the long winter season, when our town slows down and life moves a little slower, take a step into Tabone Vineyards. Brush off the snow from your boots, unwrap your scarf, and find warmth in their stunning tasting room and their picturesque igloo. Savor a glass of wine from a winery that understands “la dolce vita”, no matter what the season.
Current winter hours are:
Fridays 11-6 pm
Saturdays 11 am-6 pm
Sundays 11 am-5 pm