Bowers Harbor Vineyards
Bowers Harbor Vineyards
The Stegenga family started out in the early 90s with a modest 2500 vines and initial production of 150 cases of wine. Today BHV boasts 15,000 cases and is number eight in Michigan for production.
The business is family owned by mother and son, Linda Stegenga and Spencer Stegenga. They plan to grow the business organically as continued success allows and one day pass it along to Spencer’s children.
Their approach to wine making reflects an ethic of quality over quantity. The vineyard management style, which includes a designation as an Environmentally Verified Farm, produces high quality grapes. Spencer doesn’t try to make as much wine as possible; instead, he trims back the vines and the number of clusters growing on the vines to make more concentrated clusters, creating more flavorful wines.
BHV Pinot Grigio is their number one seller, and the number one selling Michigan- made Pinot Grigio. According to Spencer, “We were the first in Michigan to use the Pinot Gris grape to make this Italian style wine. Our location in the world on the 45th parallel, is perfect (just like the Alto Adige region in Italy) to make this tropical fruit, aromatic, crisp style.” He is also proud of their 2896, Langley Vineyard Meritage. It’s a Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. “All of the grapes are estate grown in the Langley Vineyard, named after my Grandfather who inspired me to farm and take pride in everything I produce,” said Spencer.
The fermenting process for BHV wine is as meticulous as the growing process. They use stainless steel tanks for most of their white wines, except the Chardonnay RLS Reserve, which is aged in brand new Saury French Oak Barrels. The red wines (aged at least two years) are all aged in French Oak barrels for, except the Red Wagon Red, which is stainless steel fermented and aged in neutral barrels.
Bowers Harbor grows its grapes block-style. There are three “blocks” of land growing specific varietals. One block in particular, the Erica vineyard, has a special meaning to Spencer. It’s where he proposed to his wife Erica in 2000.
You can visit BHV tasting room seven days a week and enjoy magnificent views of the bay and peninsula. They are located at 2896 Bowers Harbor Road, about 10 miles north of TC on Old Mission Peninsula.
For more info: www.bowersharbor.com