Mari Vineyards founder Marty Lagina made the (some would say) crazy choice to grow grapes that shouldn't grow in Michigan, with the belief that he could produce world class wines that otherwise couldn't be made here. So, true to his Italian heritage, he planted exotic varieties like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and others. Combined with a little creative grape growing and a lot of attention, today his dream has become a reality. Along with classic area grapes like Cabernet Franc and Merlot, Mari Vineyards produces a wide variety of red wines unlike anything else produced in Michigan.
Our first vineyard was planted on Old Mission Peninsula over a hot and frantic weekend in 1999. With thousands of vines - including some of the more uncommon varieties mentioned above - waiting to be planted and either baking in the sun or soaking up too much water, things had to happen fast. Marty and family called in as much help as possible, but in the rush to get the vines planted mistakes were made. Roughly the first seven rows of the vineyard are made up of a random assortment of grape varieties, grabbed haphazardly from their soaking tanks and planted before we realized our mistake. To this day, we do not know exactly what vines are planted in these rows.
What seemed to be a disaster back in 1999 proved to be good fortune. 2006 marked the first official production of our flagship wine, named Row 7 in honor of the first seven mysterious rows in the vineyard and produced exclusively with grapes from that area. True to its origins, Row 7 was unlike anything else we had tried in Northern Michigan, with a flavor all its own.
Building on the success of our first vintage, Mari Vineyards now has over 60 acres of vineyards planted entirely on the Old Mission Peninsula, with more being added every year. Our wines are already available in Traverse City area stores and restaurants, and our brand new winery and tasting room is now complete on Old Mission Peninsula. Until you get a chance to visit, we invite you to explore our website and learn more about our truly unique and exciting Michigan wines!