The Area & Vineyards
GOOD HARBOR VINEYARDS, LAKE MICHIGAN, AND THE GOOD HARBOR BASIN
Many esteemed wine regions around the world flourish due to their proximity to large bodies of water. The Leelanau Peninsula, located on the 45th parallel is no exception, it is surrounded and protected by Lake Michigan, which allows farmers to successfully grow a wide variety of Vitis Vinifera such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, to name a few. The vast majority of Good Harbor’s vineyard acreage is located within five miles of Lake Michigan and all of it within the regionally distinctive Good Harbor basin.
Provided that Lake Michigan does not completely freeze, it acts as a moderating influence for surrounding temperatures creating an ideal macro climate for world class wine grapes. Grapes grown near Lake Michigan are typically subject to large amounts of snow cover which provides a protective insulating cover for the vines through the winter and into the early spring allowing growers to grow and produce more sensitive and hard to grow varieties such as Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
In addition to providing protection through the cold winter and early spring months, the lake effect is also helpful at the end of the growing season. Lake Michigan allows temperatures to remain warm enough for grapes to sit on the vine into autumn to capture the warmth of late fall and extended sunlight to help ripen the fruit to its full maturity. Without the warmth of the lake, grapes might not have time to fully ripen. The Good Harbor Micro Climate holds many of the warmer waters later into the season that typically gives an additional week or two of frost free nights, which in a Michigan Vintage can mean the difference between a good vintage and one you will talk about for years to come!
Having a deep understanding of agriculture and terroir, it was a strategic decision for John Simpson to purchase and plant the specific parcels of land that Good Harbor owns and continues to farm. He knew that finding high elevation parcels with southwest facing slopes near Lake Michigan would provide an ideal area for producing fruit.
This vineyard consists of 21.5 acres that are located less than a mile from Good Harbor Bay and 800 feet above sea level. There is no significant slope in this vineyard and all the cold air drains into the valley that splits the vineyard. Varieties grown in this block include Gamay, Merlot, Albariño, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Munier.
This block is located 1.5 miles from Good Harbor Bay and 960 feet above sea level. This vineyard faces south which allows the cold air to drain through several shallow valleys running north and south. Within its 26 acres, we grow Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Marquette, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Vignoles.
This is our biggest block at 37 acres. It is located 1.68 miles from Good Harbor Bay with a max of 1,020 feet above sea level. With this vineyard facing south, the cold air drains from north to south and eventually to the west. Varieties grown in this block include Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Auxerrios, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and Chardonnay.
This block is located 1.5 miles from Good Harbor Bay and 1,000 feet above sea level. With this vineyard being our only west facing vineyard, the cold air drains to the wooded valleys to the west and north. Grape varieties grown here include Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, and Pinot Gris. This block has a total of 9 acres.
Long-Term Lease Vineyards
This 9 acre vineyard is located 2 miles from Good Harbor Bay. For the most part, this vineyard is flat with the cold air draining to the valleys to the north. Varieties grown here include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.
This block is located the furthest from Good Harbor Bay at 10.75 miles. Due to the slight north facing slope, the cold air in this vineyard drains to the north. Vignoles, Riesling, Chardonnay, Dornfelter, Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Franc, and Regant grow within the 5.5 acres.
Located 9.7 miles from Good Harbor Bay, this block grows Riesling and Pinot Gris. It is 3.5 acres. The cold air in this south facing vineyard drains to the south, east and west.
This 4 acre, west facing vineyard is located about 6 miles from Good Harbor Bay. The cold air in this vineyard flows east to west. Varieties grown in this vineyard include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc.
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