by Larry Mawby
Owner / winemaker, L. Mawby Vineyards
The winegrower, older & wiser
than you or I will ever be,
told me, he told us, he said this:
Before man came here,
there was ice - bluewhite,
cold & heavy on the land:
making soil &
laying long ridges pointing
north & south like waves
driven by the west wind.
After many years of grinding rock
the ice slowly moved north, melting.
Lakes grew in the low places & plants
grew in the soil on the high places & man came
onto the land. And men found grapes
growing along the lakes & into the trees
at the edge of the forest. And men thought of the
fruit of the grape, and the wine that comes naturally
from the fruit of the grape, and were well pleased
with this place, & they stayed.
Soon they learned that the wine of these grapes
was not like the wine they knew from Burgundy & Champagne,
nor was it like the wine from Alsace or Germany
nor anywhere else they knew. They did not enjoy
this wine, & they were puzzled.
For this place, this Leelanau Peninsula, a high place
early surrounded by the Lake of Michigan,
was fine terroir. The ice-ground rock made good soil
for grapes, deep & well drained, lying in ridges,
exposing the vines properly to the sun.
And the Lake of Michigan tempered the climate
making a good growing season - ripening the grapes
not too much, not too little, but just right for fine wine.
Then men wondered if the difficulty
might lie in the grapes, not the place.
the grapes that grew along the shore
& into the forest were not the best for wine
that could grow here?
And so one bosky man picked up the telephone
& called the nurseryman, & he ordered that grapevines be shipped
by FedEx Ground of the kind grown in Burgundy,
Champagne, Alsace, Germany. And these were planted:
they grew, thrived, produced fine grapes &
the wine of these grapes was excellent,
& all were well pleased.
And thus the winegrowers of the Leelanau Peninsula
know that they live in a fine place & grew fine
grapes & make excellent wine, and they are well pleased.
And so too the drinkers of the wine
of the Leelanau Peninsula are well pleased,
for they know this is a fine place & an excellent wine.
Then why, I asked the old winegrower, are the wines
from elsewhere, made with care, not so fine
as those of the Leelanau Peninsula?
The fault, he replied, lies not in the men,
nor the grapes, but in the place. There is no
place that is as fine for the growing of wine
as the Leelanau Peninsula.
So said the old winegrower,
older & wiser than you or I will ever be.