It has been a bittersweet time for us. We've known for quite awhile that the Sterkenburgs have been looking to move on from the industry, but we have enjoyed working with them and serving/selling their wines. They have been one of our partner wineries at both of our locations since day one, and we've appreciated their faith and confidence in us serving as "ambassadors" for their wines. Their partnership over the last few years has helped MBTB Tasting Room become what it is today, and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. While we are sorry to bid farewell to Gill's Pier, we are also excited for the new opportunity ahead.
In November, we brought Verterra Winery, one of our Royal Oak partner wineries, on board in Shelby to take Gill's Pier's place there. And, at long last, we're finally ready to announce our new partner winery at Royal Oak: Bel Lago Winery!
Bel Lago, based on the Leelanau Peninsula, was founded in 1987 by Domenic, Ruth, and Amy Iezzoni and Charles Edson, and its wines are made from grapes grown in family-owned vineyards overlooking Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan.
As the owners state: "The emphasis at Bel Lago has been on quality, with an unwavering commitment to excellence. We are winegrowers, and believe firmly, the old adage 'the wines are made in the vineyard.' Bel Lago wines are based on the production of quality fruit from select clones of a very unique varietals mix."
The winery is widely known for its superb Pinot Noirs, along with an impressive lineup of other reds, whites and sparkling wines.
Winemaker Charlie Edson is a delightful guy who speaks passionately about winemaking — we can't wait to bring him in for our Bel Lago Winemaker's Dinner on Monday, Feb. 29, so you can meet him! We'll be pairing up his wines with a six-course meal by Chef Chris Franz of The Rattlesnake Club; registration opens soon.
We plan to add Bel Lago to our retail shelves and tasting menu effective Feb. 1. Until then, Gill's Pier's wines will still be available, so it's your final few weeks to stock up!