Kris and Ryan Sterkenburg of Gills Pier Vineyard & Winery in Leelanau County, 3 miles north of Leland.
Kris and Ryan Sterkenburg, and their two kids, picked up and moved to Leelanau County from Milwaukee seven years ago. Their dream? To grow grapes and start a boutique winery. We talked to Kris about the fruit of their labor, Gills Pier Vineyard and Winery on M-22 north of Leland.
Our only Riesling is semi-dry. If you ferment it too dry you lose a lot of the fruit character.
We hired him right out of the barrel, and it is one of the luckiest things we did.
Every vineyard has its own microclimate. We have a lot of wind—good at preventing diseases, and very acidic soil, which actually works to our advantage.
It’s easier in the cellar (no cork taint), it’s tamper resistant, and you never need to have a corkscrew.
Ryan has a day job in Traverse City, I run the business, and we both run the vineyard. We were doing 10 wines, including fruit wines, and sort of lost our focus. I love being in the vineyard and was barely out there. So this summer we’ve pared back to five wines.
Gill's Pier Vineyard & Winery is located at 5620 N. Manitou Trail (M-22), 3 miles north of Leland, 231-256-7003, gillspier.com.
Pack Leelanau County food, fun and activities around your visit to Gills Pier Vineyard & Winery.