We were contacted by winemaker John Treloar to let us know of J. Trees Cellars, the new winery he has opened up in Southeast Michigan. The actual production facility and vineyards are located in Petersburg, MI (exit 9 off of 23), with the tasting room located in Blissfield, Michigan, across from the Main Street Stable Tavern & Grill. The tasting room. is open 12 to 6:00 PM Friday through Sunday and 4:00 to 7:00 PM on Tuesday.
The first four releases that are being poured at the tasting room are ; 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 Dry Riesling, 2008 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine and the Fuji Ice Cider.
We caught up with Jon to get the inside story on this new winery.
TWAV: What is your interest/background in wine?
Treloar: I began working with wine after completing my Bachelors in Botany and Plant Pathology at Michigan State University. After realizing that I had little choice but to pursue a Masters, I decided to go into Horticulture. I started working with the Viticulture & Enology group in Horticulture in 2000, and soon thereafter took a full-time position as the research Enologist. I was in charge of producing all of the wines (up to 300/yr) from our Vineyard trials, as well as my own work in Bordeaux varietals.
In 2007 I left my position at MSU to begin commercial production. We constructed a 3,200 foot facility at a property in Petersburg, a few miles from US 23, and planted 4-acres of vineyard. We hope to remodel the original farmhouse on the property, and turn it into a tasting room. I recently opened up the off-site tasting room in Historic, Blissfield to utilize until we get the on-site tasting room open.
TWAV: What is the approach to wine or philosophy of J.Trees?
Treloar: I started this winery with the idea that I will grow as much of my own fruit as possible, but if there is a varietal that I want to produce that can be grown better in a different part of Michigan, then I will seek out the best place, and best grower for that varietal. I originally was only going to produce sparkling wines, particularly the ones similar to those produced in Northern Italy. However, I have started with a few still wines and have 4 sparkling wines that will be released over the course of the summer.
I also have a strong interest in hard cider production. There are more than 500 acres of apples within five miles of the winery, and I'm thrilled to produce ciders that are so local. One of the most exciting cider products I've produced and will be focusing on is my newly released Ice Cider. We left 15 acres of Fuji apples hang last yr. and harvested them on January 20th of this yr. 14 days of pressing (outside), and we were able to begin fermentation. Three months later the fermentation was stopped with a wine that has 12.5% alcohol and nearly 15% residual sugar left in it.
TWAV: What are your future plans?
Treloar: The plan is to make the Petersburg location solely the cidery, and construct another facility just south of Ann Arbor for all of the wine production. For now we will continue to produce all of the products at the winery in Petersburg, and focus on getting the tasting room at that site opened.
You can keep up with J. Trees on Facebook.
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