Crazy Vines Winery to open in Sanford, May 19

The greater Midland area welcomes another new business, and this one aims to give residents another happy hour destination. Jacob and Pamela Kiester are both City of Midland employees, who had a ‘crazy’ retirement plan of opening up a winery. Fast-forward to May 19, and the co-owners are celebrating that ‘later-in-life-idea’ by opening up their very first business, Crazy Vines Winery, in Sanford. 

The grand opening celebration on May 19 includes giveaways, the Proper Taco food truck, and more, starting at 5 p.m. Doors to the winery open at regular business hours, at 1 p.m. 
Pamela & Jacob Kiester own Crazy Vines Winery.
Co-owner Jacob Keister speaks about how the business idea came about.  “We’ve always enjoyed going to wineries and tasting rooms, and we were down at a winery on an old farm in Ohio,” Keister says. “We got to talking about how it would be cool to bring something like this to Midland. We were talking about doing it for retirement, and before long, it ended up being something we started on way sooner than we planned on.”

The original idea came about around three years ago, in a pre-pandemic world. Opening up a new business is risky, especially a first-time business, and now in the pandemic, it’s even more difficult. For the Keisters, though, it felt like the right time. “We thought, ‘we’re young enough now,’" Keister says, “We thought, ‘let’s just go for it now, and see if we can make it work.’ That way, if it does go really well, then, by the time we’re ready to retire from our regular jobs, we can either keep doing this or have extra income from selling this.”

Crazy Vines’ name comes from the blended family’s hectic schedule of raising a family of five, children drop offs and pickups at schools, and sports, says Keister.
The winery will feature a mixture of wines, some made in-house and others sourced regionally. “As time goes on, I’ll make most of it here,” Keister adds, “We wanted to go across the spectrum as far as having sweet, semi-sweet and dry red and white wines. In the beginning, we have one rosé to offer. We’re trying to get a little bit of something of a variety so everyone can have something they like. Everyone is different.”

Featured menu items include a dry white wine, off-dry white wine, semi-sweet white wine, sweet blueberry wine, apple wine, grape wine, elderberry wine, rosé, and dry and sweet red wines also. The winery will also serve cheesecakes, brownies, charcuterie boards, breads and dipping oils.

Getting the 13,000 square-foot location ready was a “massive undertaking,” according to Kiester. The space had been used solely as storage for the past 20 years. The building had to get flooring, updated plumbing, sinks, bathrooms, drywall, and finishing plus they closed off  the manufacturing area from the tasting room. 

Crazy Vines has tables, a lounge area with a loveseat, and four comfortable chairs.
Kiester describes the space as rustic, “Our bar and tabletops are all red cedar. On the inside, we did a wainscoting half-way up the wall with pallet wood, and old barnwood we had from a building we tore down on our property. It’s cozy. We’ve got tables, a lounge area with a loveseat, and four comfortable chairs. In the summertime, we’ll have outside seating too on the front porch for this year.” In the future, the Kiesters hope to be able to pair up with other wineries and breweries, and offer a wine trail locally. 

Crazy Vines Winery is located at 37 East Saginaw Road, near M-30,  in Sanford. They will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays, open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 1 to 7 p.m., and Fridays & Saturdays from 1 to 9 p.m.

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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at