Suzanne Tola had no idea her love for wine would be the driving force behind a new Grosse Ile based winery that makes, bottles and sells wine on the island.
The idea for Island Winery came to Grosse Ile residents Nick Bader and Southgate resident Kurt Tola after the two stopped at a winery during a hunting trip in northern Michigan, to pick up a few bottles of wine for Kurt's wife, Suzanne.
The winery, Valley Mist Winery, became a frequent stop for the childhood friends and, after learning a great deal about wine making from the winery's owner, the two decided to begin making wine of their own.
Nick teamed up with friends and Grosse Ile residents Jason and Tina Emero to officially open Island Winery in May. The team of close friends make and bottle over a dozen different types of wine at the Bader's house at 8400 Concord Road.
"Our wines are made by friends, for friends." -- Nick Bader, part owner of Island Winery on Grosse Ile.
The wine is made from fruit concentrate and is available in different forms of red, white or blush wines. Because the wines are made from concentrate Bader said the wines have unique names like Cove, Breeze, Sunset, Tidal Wave White and Shipwreck White instead of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Island Winery wines are made with many different fruits including black cherries, raspberries, blueberries, white cranberries and green apples -- to name a few. One of the most popular wines is called the Dragon Fruit Sunset and the team refers to it as "a tropical taste bud oasis."
While wine making is their passion, each owner of Island Winery has a full-time job. A recent appearance at the made their wine even more popular with local wine lovers and Nick is considering moving the operation to a larger location.
"It's an amazing process ... this entire thing has been very spiritual for everyone of us because nothing has stopped us," Nick said. "It's been a very fascinating process. Everything seems to work out."
Island Winery wine costs $10 per bottle and $85 per case of 12. Several types of Island Winery wines might soon be available at a number of Downriver businesses including Riviera Market in Trenton, Mac's Market and Deli in Wyandotte and The Market in Brownstown.
Island Winery wine is available for purchase by calling 734-818-1501.
*This article initially named Suzanne Tola as part owner of Island Winery.