Brys Estate Blog
Welcome to the our blog, here is where we will be highlighting events, news, and stories from around the vineyard & winery!
Coenraad Stassen is the vintner and winemaker at Brys Estate. When not between the vines or in the cellar, Coenraad is an avid hunter and enjoys cooking meals for family and friends. So when the Michigan DNR reached out about getting involved with their DNR Hunting and Wild Game Cuisine project he was excited to participate. Included in this post are two recipes. The first, Venison Stew with Brys Estate Merlot by Coenraad, and the second, Venison Loin with Parsnip Puree and Brys Estate Cabernet Franc, by a favorite, local fine dining restaurant – The Riverside Inn.
Hunting is an excellent way to provide locally-sourced food for your table and is a great activity for your family to enjoy together. Head over to www.Michigan.gov/hunting to learn more about where, when, and how to hunt in Michigan.
I grew up in South Africa, and my father introduced me to hunting at a young age. This is one of my favorite ways to cook venison with family and friends. I am preparing this stew in a cast iron pot over hot coals (the Braai), a style of cooking traditional in South Africa, but you can prepare it on a stovetop as well using a cast iron pan or dutch oven. The key to preparing the most amazing stew is time. Low and slow will work best. Pick some of your favorite vegetables and layer them in order of cooking time.
Enjoy! – Coenraad
Yield – 10-12 servings
Time – 4 hours
Ingredients - Venison
- 3 lbs venison stew meat cut into 1 ½” pieces – for additional flavor, you can marinate the meat overnight with balsamic vinegar, red wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 375ml rich red wine – Brys Estate Merlot
- 4 cups apple juice
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
Ingredients - Seasonings
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground coriander (if you want to use seeds, toast before adding)
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
Ingredients - Vegetables
- 3 medium yellow onions, thin-sliced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1lb bacon, chopped
- 1 16oz package of white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium butternut squash, cubed into 1” pieces
- 8-10 medium red skin potatoes, cut into quarters
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced in ½ lengthwise
- 2 medium green zucchinis, sliced in half & then sliced in ½ lengthwise
- 20 dried apricots, cut in ½
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Add olive oil to the pot and heat. Add bacon, onions, mushrooms, and green pepper and sauté until tender & onion is translucent. Remove from stew pot and set aside
- Coat venison in flour. Add to pot and sear on all sides. Once browned, add apple juice, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and spice mixture. Make sure all the meat is covered by liquid. Slowly simmer, covered, for 90 minutes, or until tender. Add water or beef stock if needed to make sure the meat is covered in liquid.
- Once the meat is tender, add butternut, potatoes, and carrots. Simmer for 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Add zucchini and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender
- Add the bacon, onion, pepper & mushroom mixture with the dried apricots and simmer for a few minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Stir well.
- Serve with rice or homemade bread to soak up the liquid.
Venison Loin with Parsnip Puree
Recipe by The Riverside Inn
Yield – 4 servings
Time – 45 minutes
Ingredients - Venison
- 1 2lb Venison Loin or backstrap
- Butter – if you can find smoked butter – it is amazing! Boss Mouse Cheese here in Northern Michigan makes our favorite
- Cooking Oil
Ingredients - Parsnip Puree
- 2lbs Parsnips peeled
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- ½ cup milk
- 2 Tbs unsalted butter
Method for Parsnip
Can be done ahead and reheated.
- Heat over to 400 degrees. Wrap garlic in foil and spray a bit of olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes until nice and golden.
- Cut parsnips into 2” pieces and simmer, covered, in the cream and milk until tender – about 10-15 minutes. Add a few pinches of salt & pepper.
- Remove lid and reduce the milk mixture by about ½. Add the roasted garlic and puree with an immersion blender, or in your blender – be careful with hot liquids in your blender!
Method for Venison
Best done with a cast iron or any heavy-bottomed pan that can go from stovetop to oven.
- Remove Venison from the refrigerator, and place on a plate. Pat down until completely dry.
- Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides – let venison come to room temp.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Set pan on the stovetop and preheat – you want this HOT. Add 2 tbsp cooking oil. Once ready, sear the venison on all sides. Let it sit in the pan undisturbed for 2 minutes per side. If the meat is sticking, it probably isn’t ready to be flipped. You may need to add a bit more oil.
- Once seared on all sides, add a generous spoonful of butter – 3-4 tablespoons, and place the pan in the oven. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, checking the internal temp midway. We like our venison at medium-rare, or 135. I would not recommend past 145, as it will dry out.
- Once cooked to your temperature, place on a cutting board, and pour the butter from the pan over the meat. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with parsnip puree. Sauces that go well are demi-glace, sautéed mushrooms, blackberry compote.
- Pour a glass of rich red wine - Brys Estate Merlot or Cabernet Franc.
For more recipe ideas from Brys Estate click here.
Brys Estate is full of unique and fun experiences! Below is our list of the top 21 things to do at Brys Estate in 2021.
1) Visit us in May and enjoy special deals in the tasting room in celebration of Michigan Wine Month!
2) Reserve a table on our Upper Deck and enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese & charcuterie board while overlooking 50 acres of vines.
3) Join us at our Lawn Bar and enjoy a glass of wine or Frosé served in a souvenir stemless glass.
4) Book a ride on our Wine Wagon and experience a 2-hour immersive tour and tasting that takes you around our 111 acres!
5) Wander the Secret Garden and witness lavender in full bloom (late June - mid-July).
6) Take a selfie at the Vineyard Overlook located on the Upper Deck.
7) Pick a huge basket of strawberries at our Secret Garden (early to mid-June).
8) Send a gift certificate to a friend or family member to redeem during their next visit to the winery or in our online store.
9) Book a stay at our private guesthouse (newly renovated in 2021!).
10) Join our Wine Club for great discounts on wine, retail, and food items, plus exclusive event invitations!
11) Pack a picnic and enjoy it while lounging on the patio at the Secret Garden.
12) Sample a selection of new release wines for 2021 in one of our elegant Tasting Towers (wine flights).
13) Pop the question! Plan a special engagement proposal with one of our unique proposal packages.
16) Test your culinary skills by cooking one of Patrick's Pairing recipes and pair it with a bottle of Brys Estate!
17) Build a bouquet from u-cut perennial flowers at the Secret Garden (June - September).
18) Plan ahead for your fall color tour, following these Tips for Visiting in Fall.
19) Sip on Spiked Hot Apple Cider while overlooking peak fall color and our annual harvest in action.
20) Join us this December as we bring back our Winter Trail where you can snowshoe the best of BE's 111 acres.
21) Take part in a future Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail event.
Start planning your trip to Brys Estate today! When visiting the area make sure to snap a photo and use #BrysEstate to help us share the Brys Estate experience. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest news and offerings here on Old Mission Peninsula!
The golden season is here again. Temperatures are dropping, grapes are ripening, leaves are changing, and the wine is flowing! Join us this autumn and experience nature's season finale!
Here are 10 tips from the Brys team on making your visit the best it can be!
1. Consider visiting on a weekday
If you're planning a trip to the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail and our winery, we highly recommend visiting during the week. Weekends (Saturdays in particular) are our most highly trafficked days of the year.
2. If visiting on a Saturday, consider visiting outside of our peak hours of 2-4 pm
If you are planning a weekend visit, please make a reservation, if you're able, or consider visiting before 2 pm.
3. For a seated Wine Country experience, check for Upper Deck reservation availability using our
online reservation calendar (it shows real-time availability)
Most reservations for October Saturdays are currently taken, but we have weekday availability! Please check our online reservation calendar before calling. Guests without a reservation may try for a walk-in table (we do not book every table in advance)
or plan to visit our Lawn Bar.
4. Know that if it's raining, walk-in availability will be very limited, and our Lawn Bar area may be closed
In the case of inclement weather, guests with reservations will be seated indoors and table availability will be decreased significantly. If it's only lightly raining, the Lawn Bar will remain open. However, Lawn Bar seating is not covered.
5. Tune in to the weather forecast and dress accordingly
All services will be held outdoors and covered seating is not available. Remember your jacket and bundle up! Small blankets are welcome.
6. Research the wineries you'd like to visit in advance so you have an understanding of their services
If you haven't visited the wineries since 2020, please note that many wineries have adjusted their service offerings or styles in light of COVID-19. We suggest planning your visit in advance by researching their offerings or giving them a call directly to learn more!
7. Please, be patient with our staff members!
Our hard-working staff members will be doing their best every day this fall season to provide you a great experience. Due to the larger number of guests visiting, and some new staff joining the team, wait times may be increased. We assure you we will be doing all that we can to provide you fabulous customer service and we thank you in advance for your understanding.
8. Carpool and/or utilize a local shuttle service or driver
UBER & Lyft are often times unreliable and therefore we do not recommend utilizing their services. For a list of local transportation companies click here.
9. Please, do not visit if you or other members of your group are feeling ill.
For the health and safety of our staff members and other patrons, please stay home if you are not well.
10. MOST IMPORTANTLY - Take in the views and enjoy the wine!
We look forward to welcoming you this fall and providing you an enjoyable and safe experience!
Answers to FAQ's about our offerings at this time can be found here.
Traverse City, MI – Michigan’s premier boutique winery, Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, is excited to announce their 2017 Cabernet Franc Reserve and 2018 Riesling Reserve won major awards at the 20th annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition. Brys Estate’s Cabernet Franc Reserve was awarded a Jefferson Cup, and Riesling Reserve received nomination for a Jefferson Cup and won a Double Gold Medal.
Named the “Olympics” of wine competition by many, this invitational is unique in that is the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of America’s wine regions. Rather than being open to every winery willing to submit an entrance fee, the organization select wines culled from tastings and competitions in America through 2019. This year’s competition included 750 wines from 27 states, and at the end of the second day of tasting judges found 23 being worthy of Double Gold Medals, and just 36 wines were awarded the Jefferson Cup by the 20 judges.
Other Brys wines awarded in the competition were Artisan Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Artisan Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Signature Rosé (Silver); Pinot Noir, Artisan Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and Artisan Dry Riesling (Bronze).
“We are very proud to receive a Jefferson Cup for our Cabernet Franc. My goal as a winemaker has always been to challenge myself. Producing a world class Cabernet Franc in Northern Michigan takes a lot of discipline and dedication. At Brys Estate, we focus on the land, agriculture and hard work.”- Brys Estate winemaker, Coenraad Stassen.
As summer begins to slowly draw to a close we're encouraging you to get outside & enjoy the bounty of the season, including fresh fruits & vegetables, sunflowers, & local wine.
We rounded up 4 recipes from #PatricksPairings that make for a delicious late summer meal. Of course, we've also included the wines that pair best with each. Enjoy!
- Charcuterie: Salami, Prosciutto, Coppa, Speck, Chorizo, Pâté, Foie Gras
- Cheeses: White Cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina, Irish Dubliner, Havarti, Manchego, Brie, Goat Cheese
- Pickled Things: Cornichons, Giardiniera, Pickled Onion, Kalamata Olives, Castelvetrano Olives, Cracked Greek Olives, Pickled Asparagus, Pickled Brussels Sprouts
- Fruit: Sliced Pear, Sliced Apple
- Spreads: Whole Grain Mustard, Peach or Pear Chutney, Lavender Honey
- Breads/Crackers: Focaccia, Olive Bread, French Bread, Water Crackers, Flavored Triscuits, Thinly Sliced Pumpernickel
- Nuts: Cashews, Almonds, Pistachio
- Number of Items: the number of items you choose is largely dependent on the number of people you have. A general rule of thumb for an appetizer sized portion is 3 items for 1-2 people, 5 items for 3-4 people, and 8-10 items for 6-8 people.
- Item Types: a well rounded board will have an assortment of cheeses, meats, and pickled vegetables. I usually choose at least one item from each category. So for a 3 item board I will have a cheese, a meat and a pickled item. In addition, every board should have bread or crackers (or both) and a spread of some sort. See item suggestions below.
- Wine Pairing Suggestions: the items you select for your board will determine which wines pair best. Sharp cheeses such as white cheddar go well with sweeter style wines or crisp whites, creamy cheeses such as Fontina go well with Pinot Noir, salty or crumbly cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano go well with red wines. Cured meats typically pair best with red wines. Experiment and taste - it's part of the fun!
- romaine lettuce heads
- fresh Michigan sweet corn
- cherry or grape tomatoes - diced
- radishes - diced
- green onion - sliced
- shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh ground pepper
Depending on how many people you are serving, you will need 1 head of Romaine for each 2 servings and 1 ear of corn for each 4 servings. Pre-heat barbeque grill over high heat. Rinse and pat dry the romaine heads. Slice romaine heads in half lengthwise so that you end up with 2 identical pieces. Shuck corn and remove any silks by hand. Place romaine on the grill cut side down and grill for 2-3 minutes with the grill lid open until the edges are just beginning to blacken. Remove romaine from heat. Reduce heat to medium. Place corn on grill and rotate every few minutes until the corn is partially blackened on all sides. Remove from heat. Once corn has cooled, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Once grilled, the grilled romaine and grilled corn can be refrigerated for a couple hours until ready to serve. To assemble, place grilled romaine on plate, top with the grilled corn kernels, diced radishes, tomato, green onion and shaved parmesan cheese. There is no measuring here, just top each salad with however much of any of the listed ingredients you like. Drizzle with good quality balsamic and olive oil, then season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Shop Pinot Noir
- 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 2 scallions - sliced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2/3 cup mayonaise
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- sliced tomato
- red onion
- sliced cucumber
- pickle slices
- avocado slices
- crumbled feta
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, chopped spinach, scallions, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well then divide into 4 equal patties. To make the lemon aioli, in a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Grill burgers over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side or until cooked through. To assemble your California Turkey Burger, place some of the lemon aioli on the bottom bun, top with the burger patty, tomato, red onion, pickle, cucumber, sprouts, avocado and feta. Add a bit more aioli to the top bun before placing it on top. Enjoy with a glass of Brys Estate Pinot Grigio!
Shop Pinot Grigio
- 2 cups Pinot Noir
- 1 cup Michigan dried cherries
- 2 tsps sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp butter
Add the Pinot Noir, dried cherries, and sugar to a sauce pan. Mix the corn starch with a little bit of wine before adding it to the pan to avoid any lumps. Over medium heat allow the pan to simmer for about 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced down to about 1 cup. Swirl in 1 tbs butter and serve warm.
Shop Pinot Noir
We're proud to share our most recent wine awards!
🏆Best In Show White Wine - 2017 Gewürztraminer Reserve
🏆Best Gewürztraminer - 2017 Gewürztraminer Reserve
🏆Platinum Award - 2017 Gewürztraminer Reserve
🏆Gold - 2015 Cab/Merlot
Silver - 2017 Naked Chardonnay Reserve
🏆Gold - 2017 Gewürztraminer Reserve
🏆Double Gold - 2017 Riesling/Gris Reserve
🏆Double Gold - 2016 Riesling Reserve
🏆Double Gold - 2015 Cab/Merlot
Silver - 2017 Pinot Noir/Riesling
Silver - 2017 Naked Chardonnay Reserve
Silver - 2017 Pinot Blanc Reserve
2018 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition
🏆Gold - 2015 Cabernet Franc
Silver - 2015 Cab/Merlot
Silver - 2017 Pinot Blanc Reserve
Silver - 2017 Pinot Noir/Riesling
Bronze - 2017 Gewürztraminer Reserve
Bronze - 2015 Pinot Noir
Great job Coenraad & Jordan!
Happy Spring to everyone!
I hope that all of you enjoyed winter as much as possible, but now it is time to get excited about this new season and everything it has to offer.
This week we're moving towards the final stage of bottling, and I speak on behalf of everyone in production when I say, “Thank goodness we're almost done!”. Also this week we are releasing four of our new vintages. We hope you can stop by the tasting room soon to sample them. And of course, overall, we're starting another growing season on the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula. This is a very exciting time of the year for us.
To reflect a bit on last season, let me start by saying that climate change is real, and we are all starting to see the effects it has on growing conditions. As you may know, we have a short growing season compared to other appellations in the United States, so it is crucial that this important period goes well. During the past few seasons, we have seen an increase in temperature and growing degree days which allow us to see an increase in ripeness as well as natural sugar and flavor development. But we have also noticed an increase in spring and fall precipitation, and that makes it very difficult to adjust our vineyard management practices to ensure the best quality fruit possible. We are working closely with the brilliant team from Agrivine to ensure we constantly come up with better management practices that influence the new wines as little as possible so that we can bring you the best product available.
To speak on our new release wines, I think the new whites will showcase a delicious balance between tropical fruit and acidity, and the red wines are very fruit forward with well-integrated tannins from the fruit as well as oak aging. We were also able to produce our very rare Artisan Series wines from the 2016 vintage. These wines were carefully crafted and left unfiltered to showcase the best possible techniques in winemaking. We are looking at 2019 release for these gems.
I am very excited about the upcoming growing season and the possibility to once again craft some of your favorite wines from our Estate. I thank you for your continued support and love for small, boutique style wines. Without you, I would just be a winemaker with a whole lot of wine to drink. And trust me, I would rather share it with all of you.
It takes a small village to make sure everything is done correctly and no shortcuts are taken. I would not be able to craft these wines if it was not for my assistant, Jordan Hooker. Your hard work and dedication are priceless - thank you, Jordan. If you see him on the tractor or in the cellar, please make sure to say 'hello'!
We hope that you fall in love with these wines as much as we have, and I hope to share a few laughs with you soon on the upper deck or tasting room. Just for PC reasons, I have to also include the golf course. See you soon.
Gesondheid(Cheers in Afrikaans).