Silver Leaf Vineyard: Grab a glass and sit awhile.

Today we’re headed to Silver Leaf Vineyard, which is one of the Leelanau Peninsula wineries. Here’s a little traveling hint: Even though big wine weekend events are fun, go on the off season or during the week. It’s more relaxed, and you’d be amazed what you can learn by chatting with the tasting room staff, winemakers, and owners.


Patti and Mark Carlson, Chicago transplants who opened Silver Leaf Vineyard in 2005, can attest that life in Leelanau Peninsula is like being part of a community.

“We have many stories of people knowing others we have known in the suburbs of Chicago or having some connection with places we have been or people we know,” wrote Patti. “I think that it is not Six degrees of Separation up here . . . it is more like two!”

Mark & Patti Carlson, Owners of Silver Leaf Vineyard & Winery

She’s always finding connections. “A man came into our tasting room and asked specific questions about our house.  He shared that his grandparents had lived in our house.  (The house is just down from the tasting room).  He remembered during hunting season they used to hang deer from the big, old tree in the front yard.”

“Another time, a woman came for wine tastings and asked about our cabin.  We knew the story about it being moved from a lot line in Lake Leelanau.  The family was splitting up the lots and selling off some. She used to clean them as a fifteen-year old. When she went inside the cabin we could visualize the ‘kitchen’ area and the way it used to be furnished.”

Finally, she wrote “A wine rack we have on the wall of the tasting room is from the owner of a shop in Suttons Bay. She adopted one of the puppies we found who were abandoned on the side of the road near our home.”

I grew up in a small town, and reading about her stories made me nostalgic for those interesting connections that always seem to pop up.

If You Go

Be sure to Drink: When asked about special wines for April, Mark wanted to be sure I knew that they are featuring their 100% Lemberger “which we refer to as ‘Purple Foot.’ Lemenberger is a medium bodied red wine. I barrel aged this wine in a combination of French and American Oak for 11 months. Our Lemberger has a deep, rich color and flavors of smoke and oak to match. Served at room temperature with grilled meats of any sort are a wonderful combination. You can try it at the Sip & Savor event April 30th and May 1, serving with Oven roasted, hand carved roast beef un croissant.

Patti wanted me to know that in April they will be releasing a wonderful Pinot Gris. “It is the 2010 vintage from Harvest Moon Vineyard. They are are our neighbors who we bought the grapes from. We are honored to have Alyce’s grapes. Our 2009 Reserve Chardonnay will also be released. That is our first vintage from our vineyard which has been in oak getting ready for its debut. Yeah!”

Where to Stay: They have a vacation cabin rental right on site. If you can get a reservation, it’s only $150 per single night stay | $125 per night of multiple (plus 6% sales tax).

Today’s Trivia Question

How many years is an oak barrel typically used for aging wine? (click to see hint and to enter)

Silver Leaf Vineyard has donated four tasting glasses for the giveaway!

Note: You can enter at any time before April 30, midnight EST. Only one entry per question. Correct responses will be added to the pool of all month’s worth of correct responses. Winners of the prizes will be chosen at random from correct entries. For a list of prizes visit

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