Conversations pondering “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” recently turned one local resident’s wine-making hobby into a business.
Julie Swantek, winemaker, host, and owner of TwoRivers Winery
, opened the business in June at the site of the former Roasted Coffee & Café in downtown Marine City. Featuring local artwork and a massive wood bar, the winery and tasting room offers a comfortable atmosphere with an “up north” feel.
There is a diverse array of wines ranging from dry to sweet and fruity, so there is something to fit everyone’s tastes. It’s close proximity to popular restaurants and multiple theaters offers downtown patrons the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine during intermission or while waiting on a table.
The winery currently offers 47 different varieties with plans to introduce a few hard ciders and new seasonal wines in the fall.
“We have some new fall wines coming in, so once the summer wines are gone, they're gone until May,” says Julie Swantek. “So we’re always going to be changing it up every season.”
"The boathouse blueberry is one of our top sellers...It kind of tastes like a blueberry pie," says Julie Swantek, owner of TwoRivers Winery. "That one we are having a hard time keeping on the shelves."
She manages the business with support from her husband Dave, who says he helps out sometimes on the business side to give Julie more free time to create the best wine possible.
“Julie loves wine and has been making wine as a hobby,” says Dave Swantek. “It really all started about a year ago and just took off. People loved it and wanted to buy it, so we decided to go through the process of getting a license.”
From the fermentation process to bottling and corking, Julie Swantek does it herself. She says that some of the wines are not actually made from grapes, instead a puree or juice such as pineapple or apple that she ferments and adds different spices or a unique twist to.
Some of the names for the wine are inspired by the local area and its history, such as the Marine City Mule, the Pinot Pickerel, or the Mariner Blood Orange.
Julie and Paul's daughter, Evelyn Swantek, helps out at the winery for the summer before heading off to school at Central Michigan University this fall.
The couple, who are now empty nesters with three adult daughters, say opening in Marine City was an easy choice and that they have wanted a winery here since they moved to Cottrellville from Richmond three years ago. They named the winery TwoRivers, referencing where the St. Clair River and the Belle River meet, to honor Marine City’s rich heritage and its water and boating lifestyle.
“We figured once Blue Pike left, if nobody else was going to do it, why not us,” says Julie Swantek, who also works part-time as a dental hygienist and has no plans to make a career change.
Dave Swantek says to see clean smiles at the office, and smiles and laughter at the winery, are both very important — yet very different — and equally rewarding.
“The response has been overwhelming so far, everyone has been very kind,” says Dave Swantek. “We hope we can reciprocate and give the best possible experience.”
Customers can stop in each week to try a new featured flavor of wine slushy. Pictured here is the Moot Mango.
TwoRivers doesn’t serve food, but customers are welcome to bring in carryout.
To see a full wine list and prices or to see current hours of operation, visit 2riverswinery.com