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BrewVine: Traverse City’s Bonobo Winery

It’s an important time of year in the vines around northern Michigan, and a fun time to visit for a tour to really get a feel for the process wine makers go through.

We take you to in Traverse City for BrewVine to learn about the process of Veraison when grapes turn color and what that means for the wine making process.

Veraison, it’s the onset of ripening for grapes, when you’ll see the vineyards shifting in color.

“What happens in the wine world, we talk about brick level and that’s the percentage of sugar that’s in the grape, and that percentage of sugar is what actually turns into alcohol. So when we go through the fermentation process, we break down the alcohol levels. So right now we’re trying to get our brick levels really high and we’re trying to get that change of color change,” said Todd Oosterhouse, co-owner.

To get those sugar levels high and ready to process, they trim back leaves at just the right time so the sun can do its magic. There really is quite the process behind each step that makes all the difference with everything happening inside each grape.

“They’re absorbing all the energy that we have out there whether it be from the sun, the rain, and they’re taking that and actually working really hard to make that grape fruit right now, and so all the different compounds, and the science stuff that’s happening is really exciting,” said Oosterhouse.

A tour this time of year brings out a whole new experience to taste the grapes, taste the different flavors, and get a feel for what the next year’s vintage will taste like once it’s bottled.

“Right now we’re releasing our reds from last year, and so you kind of get some of those different flavors and you can taste those flavors, taste the sugar levels, and taste the different acids that are in there,” said Oosterhouse.

You can sit and soak in the views, learn about the wine making process and know that next year’s glass is in the making right before your eyes.

“This is a great time to go through the vineyards, we do tours, you get to go through the vineyard, taste the grapes, taste the diff flavors that are there and you get a feel for what it’s going to be like next year when it gets bottled,” said Oosterhouse.