At the peak of the sloping hills surrounding Murray Lake, overlooking the calm water sits something a bit out of the ordinary for Lowell, a family owned boutique winery. In February of this year, Janet Lawrence and her husband Andy opened Henry’s Heritage Winery.
Henry’s Heritage Winery specializes in Blueberry Wines which they craft from blueberries grown on their estate farm in Grand Junction, Michigan just south of Holland. The farm which has been in their family since 1915, covers 35 beautiful acres of land sporting three heritage varieties of blueberries; Jersey, Rubel and Bluecrop. Each year, the farm yields approximately 80,000 pounds of fruit, much of which is sold fresh.
In Michigan, the Bluecrop blueberry has been one of the biggest cultivars harvested for approximately 35 years. Michigan is one of the largest producers of blueberries, leading the nation with 19,000 acres planted according the the USDA. Blueberry wine production here is a natural fit.
Over the years Janet and her husband Andy would spend their downtime from the farm visiting vineyards and enjoying all different varieties of wine. They took notice of a blueberry wine and they started to wonder if they could produce a blueberry fruit wine from their farm in Grand Junction. One advantage of blueberry wine, is that it can be produced from both fresh or frozen fruit. They took the leap and opened their doors in February of this year.
The chemistry of blueberry wine making is completely different from grapes in relation to sugars and acids Janet explained. She was able to take a few seminars in New York and California while learning to craft her blueberry wines. Currently, Henry’s Heritage Winery has four different varieties of Blueberry Wine ranging from dry to a sweeter dessert wine.
If you prefer a dry wine, “Blue Symphony”, has a residual sugar level of approximately .25%. It has the taste and feel of a full bodied red. Janet explains that this is her favorite. Next in line is Barbara’s Blessing, named after Great Grandma Barbara, still a bit dry with a crisp finish. The sweetest of the wine selections is “Summer’s Gold”, with a residual sugar level of 3%. A wonderfully sweet sipping wine. You might try mixing with a bit of champagne for a more festive affair.
Add a quick trip to Henry’s Heritage Winery to this year’s summer schedule. The tasting room is open Tuesdays through Saturday from noon to 6:00pm at 11600 Lally St NE, Lowell. Henry’s Heritage wine can also be found at local establishments,the Main Street BBQ, Flat River Grill and Pauly’s in Lowell.
When asked what’s next for Henry’s Heritage, Janet explained that she would like to experiment with adding some blackberries to the wine as well as expanding her distribution.