The Simpson family has been growing fruit on the Leelanau Peninsula for three generations. Before the cultivation of vineyards, the Simpson’s were a cherry farming family caring for and harvesting over 300 acres. It was Bruce’s father, John Simpson who had the vision of vineyards and a winery.
Northern Michigan has offered the best of a vacation end point for three generations of Grossnickles. The Traverse City area provides the midwest with perhaps the best in hiking, swimming, boating, golfing, and a just plain relaxing atmosphere for all ages. And hence, was visited almost every year since the sixties.
Getting its French title from proprietor Lucie Matthies' middle name and paying homage to the French immigrants who settled in the area, Chateau Fontaine was a deserted potato farm and cow pasture when Dan Matthies discovered the property in the 1970's with its favorable south-facing slopes for growing grapes.
We're off the beaten path, a winery and vineyard that began with the premise that Bernie Rink's five sons needed something to do to stay out of trouble. In 1965, Bernie, then a librarian at Northwestern Michigan College, planted a one-acre test plot of wine grapes in Leelanau County to determine if commercial wine could be made locally.
Dave and Jane were introduced to Leelanau County in the late 1980’s when they stayed at Fountain Point Resort in Lake Leelanau. They never missed a year with their family at Fountain Point until 2002 when they built a second home in Leland. In 2004 Dave retired and they moved up to their home in Leland full time.