Chateau Fontaine is a family-run winery that opened its tasting room doors in 2000. Dan and Lucie Matthies started growing grapes in 1987, and made their first Chardonnay in 1998.
Starting with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Chateau Fontaine now grows 15 varietals and produces some of the most awarded wines in Michigan. Beyond recognition in the Midwest, Chateau Fontaine has even garnered world distinction for several of their white wines, winning the John Rose Award at the Finger Lakes International Competition for the dry and semi-sweet White Rieslings in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and the Best Pacific Rim White Wine for their 2010 Gewurztraminer. There has even been buzz about Chateau Fontaine's award-winning vintages in Wine Spectator.
"Wine is romantic," says Dan. "You can sniff it, smell it and taste it. We have an extreme amount of fun growing grapes and making wine." The Matthies continue to push the envelope on the grapes they grow, being the first to grow Syrah grapes in Michigan and the first to grow Cabernet Saugvinon in Leelanau. They have also introduced new white varietals like Viognier, Pinot Blanc and Grüner Veltliner to their vineyard; the Pinot Blanc has already won best dry white at the Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition in both 2012 and 2013.
The Matthies began their wine-making adventure in 1987 when horticultural expert Dr. G. Stanley Howell, from Michigan State University, visited their land and was, "very favorably impressed by the topography, the slope and the aspect. The way the land changes elevation…is just about ideal." South facing slopes, temperature buffering from the lakes and perfect soil pH combined to give the Matthies great conditions for growing vinifera grapes.
They started out planting some of their first vines on their hands and knees, and have continued to pour hard work and passion into their vineyards and winery. Beyond their own venture, Dan and Lucie, with their son Doug, have expanded into side enterprises to help others plant and maintain their vineyards, find favorable land for growing vinifera grapes, and help in the wine making process. Says Dan, "We're living our dream."
We invite you to come taste our award winning wines and enhance your experience on a visit to Leelanau county. Beyond memories of time at the lake, beautiful views, fudge and found Petoskey stones, you can now take home memories in a bottle with wine from Chateau Fontaine.