Cherry Creek Vineyard and Winery
There are actually 2 locations for Cherry Creek Vineyards and Winery and both are along the Pioneer Wine Trail. The original location is in Albion, Michigan along I-94 just east of Battle Creek. The other is the Old Schoolhouse Winery in Brooklyn, Michigan, just east of Jackson in the Irish Hills. We were heading for the Brooklyn location just because we like that the winery is inside of an old, historic schoolhouse that was built in 1870. The inside of the schoolhouse has a nice gift shop with a variety of wine “must haves” and a long knotty pine bar to sample their tasty wines! And we really can’t complain since we love sampling their gourmet Artisan Olive Oil, Michigan Cherry Preserves, and their sinful homemade fudge!
We were greeted by the very busy, but very hospitable Denise Burtka who is co-owner of Cherry Creek Winery with her husband John Burtka. Both John and Denise have European roots and wanted to create a winery destination that makes award winning wines using old world techniques. All grapes were grown in Michigan and fermented with premium French yeasts. Many of their wines have won medals so we were determined to sip through the list and find our own favorites! We bought a couple of winery glasses and looked over the fifteen choices on the current wine menu so we could make some very important decisions. There were dry to sweet red and white wines, fruit wines, and a sangria. We tasted through many of the wines and we were impressed with the wonderful flavors and quality of the wines. It’s great to find such good wines close to home and we did find some favorites! We loved the 2009 Montage which is a dry red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chancellor Noir and had lush cherry flavors with a long finish. It won a gold medal recently and was the featured wine at the National Governor’s Convention. We also liked the 2010 Raceway Red which is a red blend Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, and Chancellor Noir. This dry red won a double gold medal and has flavors of dark berries, spice, with a smooth finish. We loved the Summer Breeze semi sweet white wine which also won a double gold! It is an amazing blend of Gewurtztraminer and Vidal Blanc and is very smooth, fruity, and easy to drink. We also enjoyed the Cherry Wine and that too won a gold medal recently. Flavors of cherry, spice, and just the right amount of sweetness. Fantastic!
With wine, cherry preserves, and fudge in hand, we headed outside to get a light bite to eat and to listen to the band that was playing. The band was named “Lost Wages” and they played a fun variety of music which you could either dance or tap your toes to. We discovered when we got outside that the Cherry Creek Old Schoolhouse Winery now also brews their own beer! Besides owning both Cherry Creek Wineries, the Burtka’s also own the Sleeping Bear Winery, Bad Bear Brewery, and A Taste of Michigan Store which all three are under the same roof. So if you feel you have tried enough wine, you can now cleanse your palate and have a refreshing beer instead. We got a glass of Summer Breeze wine and a pint of Hefeweizen wheat beer, grabbed an umbrella table, and enjoyed the band! Both Cherry Creek Wineries and the Sleeping Bear Winery/Bad Bear Brewery have entertainment most weekends all summer long. And they have events and entertainment at other times of the year so make sure you head out and visit them for a wonderful wine experience! Check out their websites to find out more about their wine, hours, directions, and events. Cherry Creek Winery is at www.cherrycreekwine.com and the Sleeping Bear Winery/Bad Bear Brewery can be found at www.sleepingbearwinery.com . If you have been looking for award winning wine, fun ambience, and a hospitable, knowledgeable staff, then visit Cherry Creek Winery before the snow starts to fly. Fall is a beautiful time to see the Michigan color change and taste some great wines! Enjoy!