Doug and Laura Rufenacht dreamed of working together in agriculture. With some help from area mentors, they planted grape vines in 2010 and four years after their dream began, Majestic Oak Winery in Providence Township near Grand Rapids opened. After a recent soggy hike at Oak Openings, we dropped in for a visit to the area’s newest winery.
When we arrived Doug was working on preparing a batch of apples for some apple wine, assisted by son Dan. The bees were swarming, so we headed inside to the tasting room where Laura told us more about Majestic Oak and poured us some wine.
The tasting room is in a converted house near the vines and sprawling oak that gives the winery its name. The tasting room has plenty of natural light and space for the small acoustic acts that perform there regularly.
Laura mentioned that the whole property is bonded, so you can enjoy your wine in the tasting room, sit on the deck or find your place in the sun in the back yard with a view of the vineyard. The winery started with 600 plants and today has vines of Cayuga, Marquette and Chardonel.
It’s a family affair with Doug working on the winemaking, son Dan helping and Laura overseeing the tasting room. Daughter Erica is studying winemaking at Cornell, one of the nation’s top schools.
Majestic Oak currently offers six different wines, three reds and three whites. We began with the whites. White Rapids is a dry white blend of Traminette and Cayuga. It’s crisp and light. Moving up the sweetness scale we next tried Shade Tree Serenity, which is an easy drinking Cayuga/Vidal Blanc wine with a soft finish. The Vidal Blanc is the sweetest white and it had a bit of tartness to it.
On the red side, we sipped the Mill House Marquette. The Majestic Oak wines range from $11.99 to $19.99, which is the price for the Marquette. Marquette is enjoying increased popularity in the region because it is a hardy species. This is an estate-grown wine that is a light rose red color with a great flavor of mulberry. This is a unique wine and my favorite of the visit.
Providence is a three grape semi-dry blend with excellent fruitiness. We capped things off with their best-seller, the Shade Tree Red, with is a blend of Concord and Catawba. This has a bright, enjoyable flavor. It has a light body and it would be easy to drink a lot of this on a hot summer’s day.
We finished off our visit with a stroll to the majestic oak that soars over the vineyard. It’s a beautiful sight with a swing and some chairs nearby – a perfect location to enjoy a bottle of wine.
Majestic Oak Winery is becoming a popular destination with great events like a chili cook-off, wine and fudge pairing, a cruise-in and after-football parties. The grounds are scenic and the wine just right. Stop in, unwind and uncork.