New cider tasting room opening in Traverse City

A new tasting room from Northern Natural Cider House is opening in downtown Traverse City, bringing the worlds of organic farming and northern Michigan wines and ciders together.

The wines and ciders on tap at the cider house and tasting room come from Northern Natural Winery in Kaleva. Located at 324 E. Front Street in Traverse City, the new tasting room replaces the winery's former tasting location in Benzonia. It will offer bottles and growlers for purchase, as well as the farm's organic cherry juice concentrate, and local and regional cheeses, meats, jams and appetizers, says sales manager Jen Mackey. The business focuses on sustainable farming and Michigan products.

"We work directly with local Michigan farmers that we have established a good relationship with and also grow a large variety of organic apples, organic strawberries, organic white lady peaches, and organic cherries," says Mackey. "We are locally owned and locally grown and use hand selected varieties of fruits that have produced great wine and hard ciders."

The presence in downtown TC is new for the winery, but its co-owners--CEO Dennis Mackey, president James Anderson, and their late partner, Hugh Bowling--had been farming organic crops since the 1980s, and started Northern Natural Organic in 2001 to sell their popular organic cherry concentrate, apple cider and apple juice.

Then in 2007, the partners met winemaker Shawn Walters, and began crafting wines from the fruits the farms were already producing. They added hard cider, and opened their first wine tasting room in 2010, but had been looking for a new location to reach more customers. When the Front Street location came open, the time was right, says Jen Mackey.

Northern Natural Cider House will open this spring, offering a convenient Traverse City location to find the winery's organic hard ciders, cherry, apple and peach wine, fruit dessert wines, Riesling and Chardonnay.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Northern Natural Organic
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