Cheese & Love – Feb 14th Cheese Lady Pairing Event!

Here’s the menu for our event this coming Sunday!

Asiago w/ Rosemary
From Wisconsin, Asiago with Rosemary is a sweet and savory cows’ milk cheese. The rosemary gives this cheese just the right finish.

Paired with Razzputin

Lemon Stilton
From England, this cows’ milk cheese is a young white stilton. Long Clawson adds lemon citron. It tastes like cheesecake anis a perfect match for fresh fruit.

Paired with Rhythm & Blues

Prairie Breeze
Cows’ milk, from small family farms in Iowa. Pleasant, nutty tones and crystal crunches make this something special.

Paired with XR Cyser

Peppadew Spread
A peppadew is a sweet, hot pepper grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Blended with a mixture of cheeses it makes a spreadable snack.

Paired with Grateful Head

Mango & Ginger Stilton
From England, a young white Stilton with sweet mango and spicy ginger pieces. Like cheese cake without the crust. Delightful.

Paired with Grateful Head

The Art of Disc Golf

The Art of Disc Golf

A disc rises with its thrower in the morning, anxious and rearing to get to the next 9. Together, thrower and disc will become one unit, to fly between baskets like a majestic, nearly-flightless bird.

We are getting ahead of ourselves though, for someone who has yet to try playing disc golf, and travel the path of the many frisbee samurai who have come before them, let us first explain what the game is and how to perform, nay, excel in the craft.

While the sport of disc golf as we know it has only been standardized by the Professional Disc Golf Association in the 1970s, the concept has been around since the early Greek Olympic games, when innovators were flogged for lobbing discuses between a series of olive trees. While there is little historical evidence to back up this legend, we personally hold these early origins to be gospel.

Exchange a ball and club with a narrow-ledged frisbee and you have essentially the same golf gameplay: begin at the starting tee box, aim toward the target (usually a metal post with a chain-link goblet structure on top called a “basket”), and try to reach it in the least number of throws, picking up the disc where it lands anywhere short of the target to toss again.

The goal is to have the least number of throws by the end of the round, usually a whole or half- course of 9-18 baskets.

There are three variations on the main disc used in the sport which, again not unlike switching between clubs in golf, serve distinct purposes on the course.

The driver is used for distance shots when the basket is still a ways away, its sharp edges allow for dangerously fast flight, cutting through wind and the occasional dragonfly.

The mid-range disc has duller edges which allow for easier control between trees and obstacles, it is generally switched out for the driver after tee-off.

The putter was designed for strategic handling while on final approach to the basket.

There are quite a few variations off these main three disc types which professionals keep in their bags for more specified conditions and throws.

Perfect Pairings

Perfect Pairings

So, you purchased one of St Ambrose Cellars’ signature meads, wines, ciders, or brews but now hesitate at the fridge with the plaguing question: ‘what food pairs best with my beverage?’

No worries, we got you covered with a comprehensive list of drink pairing that will help no matter where your tastebuds meander.


Imagine a canvas on which it is your job to elegantly paint only two of the many pigments on the palette spectrum-ing robust, dark, sweet, bitter, fruity, or dry. It might seem overwhelming.

However, there is a trick to blending a beautiful mead portrait – which is to pair light meads (such as our Dancing Bare Ambrosia) with light foods (i.e. fish, chicken, etc.), dark melomels (AKA fruit meads such as Cherry Amore or Rhythm & Blues) with heavier foods (think stews and beef), and light melomels (John Lemon, Razzputin, and Razzmatazz) with fresh and popping flavors (perhaps salads or spicy shrimp tacos).

There is some room for play here but, to continue this painting metaphor, as you shade your landscape of sunset over Lake Michigan, restrain from smearing too much yellow into the waves.


No pressure here except the taped lines your art teacher has placed between colors. Meads have guidelines, wines have laws.

To reference our menu directly:

Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio (as well as other dry whites) pair well with vegetables and some fish.

Chardonnay (a rich white) pairs well with cheeses, most fish, and lighter meats.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and all dark reds) pair well with heavier meats and cheeses.

It should be said that most wines love bread and other starches so if you ever feel lost in the nitpicking, grab a baguette and enjoy the rest of your evening daydreaming of the cobblestone avenues in Paris.


Pairing beer to food is less a chore and more an exciting experiment. Even lighter ales can shine with the spicy or dark meals and darker brews can work wonderfully with fish. Our recommendation is to order a pizza and pick at the toppings between swigs.

How about you?

Do you have any favorite mead, wine, or beer pairings using St. Ambrose products? We’d love to see them!



Join us this Sunday for another visit from Tina the Cheese Lady – who brings awesome cheese and great energy every time she visits. And, once again, we’ll be joined by Fantail Farms with their beautiful horses for free carriage rides through the woods!

For $15, you’ll get:

Unoaked Chardonnay paired with Young Manchego

Young manchego is a creamy sheep’s milk cheese

Spyzer Cyser with Prima Donna Aged & Piave’ Vecchio

Prima Donna Aged gouda style cow’s milk, firm, nutty, and sweet. Piave Vecchip is dense, sweet, almost almondy.

Secret Beach with Le Roule

Le Roule is a velvety soft cow’s milk cheese with herbs and garlic.

Cherry Amore with Delft Blue

Delft blue is a Holland cow’s milk cheese with blue cultures added – creamy, buttery, and incredible.

Third IPA with Barber’s 1833 Full Cheddar and Covadonga

Barber’s 1833 Full Cheddar is a full-flavored and sharp cheddar from England, and Covadonga is a tangy and slightly sweet rich blue cheese.


Pairing menu starts at 12PM – and will be available til 4PM or while supplies last. Horse carriage rides are free and will be leaving from the parking lot approximately every half hour from 1230-3.

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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It’s Memorial Day Weekend, and we’re sure you’re excited for the traditional kick-off to summer!

We’ll keep it brief and to the point here today, because we’ve got a TON of stuff going on and we don’t want you to miss any of it.

Cyser Lab

Ever wonder how the brewcrew spends their time when they aren’t making and bottling your current favorites? Find out this weekend with our Cyser Lab experiment. We’ve got a limited edition release of three new cysers that may someday join the permanent lineup – if you like them!

We have a Strawberry/Black Pepper cyser, an Orange Blossom cyser aged in French Oak barrels, and a Passionfruit cyser! Each will be available – until it’s gone – this weekend. Hurry and get here early in case your potential new favorite runs out!

Turbo Pup

Turbo Pup Duo graces the tasting room stage on Friday night for what is sure to be a rockin’ show! These local heroes are ready to melt some faces here at St. Ambrose Cellars and we couldn’t be more excited. Join us on Friday night at 6PM!

Ted Alan

Ted Alan hits the tasting room for a Saturday night show – like always, the fun starts at 6 PM

New Discs!

Looking for some outdoor recreation this weekend? Hit the disc golf course out back – and pick up some new Black Madonna discs from our friends at Innova.

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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Another week of sun here at St. Ambrose Cellars! Let’s take a look at what we’ve got going on …

Live Music!

On the music front, we’ll have OPEN MIC with Jim and Wanda on Thursdays, as per usual. The fun starts at 6 – bring your skills and join the jam. Our own K Jones might even pop in to help strum some tunes!

On Friday night, Chris Winkelmann is here in the tasting room. Wink always brings a crowd and a fun time, so come on down!

On Saturday night, we’ve got Alex Mendenall. Alex has been to the tasting room before and it’s a lovely evening. He’ll be here starting at 6PM for all the fun.

Spring Sale Winding Down

It’s almost Memorial Day weekend, and that means the end of our Spring Sale. Stop in before the holiday to get 20% off on apparel, 50% off on Rose Ambrosia, and 50% on a growler fill if you buy one at full price.

The Lawn is Alive!

Bocce ball, disc golf, ladder ball, cornhole – it’s all available. With the temps on the rise and the sun shining high, we’ve had plenty of people enjoying the games out on the lawn. Stop by and have a few drinks and get in some competitive fun while you do it.

Lulu Roe

On Sunday (May 20th) we’ve got LuLa Roe with Heather Nickerson. Check out the details on the Facebook event page!

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

It’s time for another look at what’s going on at St. Ambrose Cellars!

Eat a Peach

Eat a Peach is our newest draft style mead creation, and it’s been rolling it’s way into stores across Michigan the past few weeks. Our store locator has been updated with almost 80 locations that are offering this new cyser.

Featuring a refreshing apple, peach, and honey flavor profile, Eat a Peach is a great summer refresher. This new mead has been a hit everywhere we’ve taken it, and we’re sure you’re going to love it to! Find it now, either in a store near you, our tasting room, or through our web store.

$2 Beer Wednesdays

Our newest tradition rolls on this week with our $2 Beer Wednesdays. For just $2 – yes that’s right, just $2 – you can have a glass of one our awesome new beers. Our newest addition to the tap is Sandbar Pale Ale. It’s a malt-forward pale ale that’s got a delightful red hue to it. Check it out this Wednesday, and stick around to play some games with your friends.

Music This Weekend

It’s another awesome weekend of music. We kick things off with Open Mic Night featuring Jim & Wanda Curtis. Rumor has it that Mr. Jones might even be joining in on the fun now that he’s returned to the great state of Michigan.

On Friday, Dede Alder makes her way back to the tasting room for another night of magical music. Dede is a favorite and we’re glad to see her back.

Maggie McCabe brings her rock n’ roll show to the tasting room on Saturday night. The fun starts at 6 PM – and believe us, it’s always fun when Maggie comes to town!

Double Vision

We’ve got a limited supply of Double Vision cider still available. This collaboration with Townline Ciderworks features Wickson Crab Apples, Star Thistle Honey, Tart Cherry Juice, and Ramblin’ Rose Tea from Bear Earth Essentials.

Yard Yoga

On May 15th, we begin our Yard Yoga series, taught by the wonderful Jenn Ryan. For just $10 you get a 1 hour yoga class in our serene bee garden area. There are some extra mats available – make sure to mention if you need one when you register. View more details and a registration number here.

LuLaRoe Pop-Up May 20th

LuLaRoe returns to the winery on Sunday, May 20th. Stay tuned for more details to come on this pop-up boutique experience.

Mother’s Day Wines

In case you missed it last week, we have a whole slew of new wines available. Any of these would make a great gift for Mother’s Day this weekend – so if you haven’t found a present yet, make sure to stop out and pick up some this week!

Spring Wine Releases

Spring Wine Releases

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing and we’re uncorking some new wine for you this week at St. Ambrose Cellars!

Sunset Beach


Strawberry, cherry aroma, bright acidity, lingering and spicy finish. 100% Marquette grapes.

Harvest Date: 11-2-2017
Brix@ Harvest: 24.5
pH: 3.2
TA: 9.6
ABV: 12%
R.S.: 2.6
Vineyard: Daddy Long Legs
Bottling Date: 3-26-2018
Price: $13

2017 Pinot Grigio


Lemon zest and orange blossom aroma. Tangerine and citrus flavors with a creamy minerality mouthfeel – mandarin orange and spicy finish.


Creamy fish and chicken dishes with lemon

Harvest Date:
Brix@ Harvest: 22.3
pH: 3.17
TA: 7.05
ABV: 13%
R.S.: 0
Vineyard: Daddy Long Legs
Bottling Date: 3-26- 2018
Price: $16

2016 Merlot


Aromas of cherry, vanilla, baked bread and cedar. Underlying tones of eucalyptus. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry jam with coffee finish.


Braised short ribs, roasted duck, charcuterie and grilled mushrooms

Harvest Date: 10-18- 2016
Brix@ Harvest: 24
pH: 3.75
TA: 7.5
ABV: 14%
R.S.: .2 (unfermentable)
Vineyard: Herman Farms
Bottling Date: 4-5- 2018
Price: $26

2017 Sauvignon Blanc


Tropical fruit aromas of passion fruit, guava, gooseberry, and smoked herbs. Juicy white peach mid palate with kiwi and grapefruit finish.

Pairing: Shellfish, cream sauces, gourmet cheese and spring vegetables

Harvest Date: 10-4- 2017
Brix@ Harvest: 23.2
pH: 3.2
TA: 8.6
ABV: 13%
R.S.: .7
Vineyard: Herman Farms
Bottling Date: 3-26- 2018
Cases: 86
Price: $22

2016 Vin Gris


Vin Gris is the juice from pinot noir. Whole cluster press gives the wine more
structure a very slight hue of pink.

Flavors of white cherry, passion fruit, strawberry. Creamy yet spicy lingering finish.

Pair with cherry glazed pork tenderloin or a Traverse City cherry salad with grilled chicken. Cheeses like gruyere or wensleydale, cranberry cheese.

Harvest Date: 10-18- 2016
Brix @ Harvest: 22.2*
pH: 3.2
ABV: 12.5%
R.S.: .85%
TA: 8.7 g/L
Bottling Date: 2-21- 2017
Vineyard: Evans Brothers (Frankfort)
Cases: 104
Price: $22

2016 Dry Riesling


White rose petals on the nose. Flavors of white peach, citrus, tropical, green apple finish.

Pair with roasted sausage and grapes or your favorite spicy dish with curry. Cheeses like sharp cheddar, parmigiano reggiano, and goat cheese.

Harvest Date: 10-18- 2016
Brix @ Harvest: 20.2*
pH: 2.9
ABV: 11%
R.S.: 2%
TA: 8.03 g/L
Bottling Date: 2-22- 2017
Vineyard: Daddy Long Legs (Benzie)
Price: $22

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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It’s the start of May, and we’ve got lots of great events going on this week to kick off the early-summer season!

New Drinks!

We’ve got two new drinks on tap – Sandbar Pale Ale, and Double Vision!

Sandbar Pale Ale is a malt forward pale ale, with a little bitterness from the hops and a nice off-red color. This is a delicious day drinker for your time in the sun!

Double Vision is a cyser that we made in collaboration with Townline Ciderworks – it features Wickson crab apples, star thistle honey, tart cherry juice, and Ramblin’ Rose Tea from Bear Earth Herbals. It checks in at 6.9% ABV and we have a VERY limited supply – be sure to come check it out before it’s gone!

New Wines!

Our latest round of wines are also available in the tasting room now – we are currently pouring the following new wines:

Sunset Beach
2017 Pinot Grigio
2017 Sauvignon Blanc
2016 Dry Riesling
2016 Merlot
2016 Vin Gris

Check out this post for more information on these awesome new wines.


On Friday, the always-great Keith Scott will join us for his blues show.

On Saturday, local legends The Feral Cats will be playing in the tasting room.

And on Thursday – as usual – we have Open Mic Night with Jim & Wanda Curtis.

Two Dollar Beer Day!

Starting this Wednesday, we’re going to offer all of our draft beers for just $2 a glass on that day. So every Wednesday you can come wet your whistle and enjoy our brewmaster’s creations for just $2 a glass. What a steal!

May Painting Class

Our May Painting Class is coming up – the class is this Monday (the 7th) at 3 PM. For $30 you get a 10% discount on drinks and cheese plates, painting materials, and painting instruction. Check out more (and buy tickets) at this link.

Enjoy the sun – we’ll be here waiting to help you get some much needed refreshment!

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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Spring has sprung at St. Ambrose Cellars! The Sleeping Bear Farms bee hives have returned, so if you get out here soon, you can experience the wonderful symphony of nature that a yard full of hives produces. It’s truly a unique experience that we recommend checking out before they disperse to their summer jobs pollinating the Northern Michigan orchards and farm lands.

With the temperatures hovering in the 50s and 60s, it looks like you’ll have another week or so to get a piece of our $1 Beer Deal – until it hits 70 degree outside (or we run out) we are offering $1 glasses of Stoney Wheat. Stoney Wheat is a summery fruit wheat beer that features stonefruit flavors.

On Thursday night, as per usual, we’ll have Open Mic Night hosted by Jim and Wanda Curtis. Always a great time! The fun starts at 6PM, and growlers/howlers are 35% all day.

In addition, you can check out our Spring Sale that is running through Memorial Day. You get 20% off all apparel in the tasting room, you get 50% off on Rose’ Ambrosia purchases, and (on any day but Thursday) if you buy a growler fill, you get a second fill at 50% off. Help us make way for the summer season with these awesome deals.

Jim Spalink joins us on Friday night for a night of storytelling and song. Jim is a talented musician and we are super excited to have him back in the tasting room for another show. Below is a great music video he made in honor of an old piano that he was retiring, featuring an original composition and some beautiful photography.

Coming up soon, we have our May Painting Class. Hosted by Toinette Wicks, you get hands-on instruction, all materials, and 10% off your tab that day – the class is $30 per person and it runs from 3PM to 6PM on Monday, May 7th. Tickets are available here or in the tasting room. If you can’t make that time, fear not, we are going to be offering a later start time in the summer season once our hours expand. Look for details on that soon!

We hope to see you around this week – enjoy the sun!

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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April rolls on here at St. Ambrose Cellars, and we’ve got more great events for you this week.

We have a couple special deals running in the tasting room right now, if you haven’t heard. First, there’s our Spring Sale. As we make room for the summer season, we’re offering 20% off on ALL of our apparel – as well as 50% off Rose’ Ambrosia bottles and a special (every day but Thursday) on growler fills – buy one, and you get your second at 50% off. What a steal!

After the ridiculous winter weather last weekend that had us closed for two days digging out of the storm, we wanted to do something to chase those blues away. We looked at our taps, and decided that we were going to help usher in the warmer weather (someday) with $1 glasses of our summery wheat bear, Stoney Wheat. Come on in and get your dollar beer, and think sunny thoughts.

As always, we have Open Mic and Thirsty Thursday coming up on Thursday, 4/19. The Open Mic fun starts at 6PM and the 35% off howler/growler fills last all day. Stock up on your favorite meads and ciders with us this Thursday.

This weekend, we’ve got the wonderful Jack Pine Savage performing on Saturday night in the tasting room. JPS is one of our favorite acts here, and they always bring a fun crowd – come by at 6PM for the show.

On Sunday, it’s time for The Cheese Lady! She’ll be here from 12PM to 4PM. For just $15 you get to sample six cheeses and 5 of our wines/meads. No advance tickets needed. You can view the entire menu here. This is always a great time, and we encourage you to come by this Sunday afternoon and try the cheese pairings. We’ll have the cheese for sale on site as well, so you can keep the party going at home.

If you can’t make it to the tasting room, remember that you can find a store carrying our products near you with the help of our store locator. We keep it as up to date as possible to help you find our products in Michigan, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. If you aren’t in one of those states – or there’s no store near you – you can also order online and have some St. Ambrose Cellars goodness delivered right to your door.

$1 Beers!

$1 Beers!

Our summer fruit wheat beer – Stoney Wheat – is now just $1 a glass!

Why, you ask?

Because we feel so bad about the continued snow, ice, slush, and general muck associated with this winter. While we wait for a majorly overdue spring thaw, we’re going to do our part to raise spirits by offering this summery ale at just $1 a glass.

The offer lasts until supplies run out OR the temperature hits 70 degrees outside – which will come first? At this rate, probably the beer being gone. Either way, don’t delay – come on down and grab your $1 glass of beer and help us wish for warmer days.

While you’re here, don’t forget to take advantage of our spring sale – we’ve got a 50% discount on Rose’ Ambrosia, 20% off on all apparel, and if you buy one growler fill at full price, you’ll get another at 50% off (except on Thursday, when they are already 35% off).

So we hope to see you soon, and stay warm, friends!

Meet the Cheeses

Meet the Cheeses

The Cheese Lady is returning to the tasting room on Sunday, April 22 – and here’s your chance to preview the pairing menu.

For just $15 (pay when you get here, no advance tickets necessary) you’ll get a guided tour through 5 pairings – sampling 5 different St. Ambrose Cellars products and 6 delicious cheeses from around the globe.

The Cheese Lady will be here from 12 PM – 4 PM on Sunday, April 22. Here’s what you’ll be getting:

Pairing A

2014 Riesling Reserve

A nice balance between citrus and floral defines this Riesling vintage.


A harvest gouda, from Holland cow’s milk. Aged, yet still creamy and seet. Excellent with dry or sweet white wines.

Pairing B

Secret Beach

Our tropical, delightful, and fun house white wine blend. One of our most popular sellers!

Mango & Ginger Stilton

From England, a young white Stilton with sweet mango and spicy ginger pieces. Like cheese cake without the crust.

Piave Vecchio

From Veneto in Northern Italy, this wonderful table cheese comes from cow’s milk. Dense and sweet, almost almondy.

Pairing C

2013 Syrah

Bold blackberry, black pepper, and eucalyptus characteristics – with a great acid balance – makes for a wonderful food pairing wine.

Prima Donna Aged

A gouda-style, cow’s milk cheese from Holland aged for 14 months. Firm, nutty, and sweet – hard to resist.

Pairing D

Eat a Peach

Our newest draft, this peach cyser features peach, apple, and apricot flavors.

Chevre with balsamic pearls

Creamy, sweet, and delicious. The taste of this fresh goat cheese with olive oil and olives will remind you of summer and sunshine.

Pairing E

Sunset Beach

Our house rose’ table wine, sure to put you in the mood for relaxation.

Asiago with basil

A delicious cow’s milk cheese from Wisconsin. Basil, the symbol of love in Italy, gives this cheese just the right finish.

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

We’ve got another big lineup of events here at St. Ambrose Cellars – check them out:

2024 July

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On Thursday, as per usual, we’ll have 35% off howlers and growlers, and Jim & Wanda Curtis here to host Open Mic (Open Mic starts at 6, discounts are all day)

On Saturday night, the dark and mysterious Saldaje returns to the tasting room to help us ride out the anticipated late winter storm. Here they are in action:

Next Monday (April 16) we host Painting with Toinette – tickets are still available here or in the tasting room. $30 per person, includes all materials and a 10% discount on your drinks/cheese plates!

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Week at St. Ambrose Cellars

2024 July

Week 3

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Join us on Thursday night for another edition of Open Mic Night with Jim & Wanda Curtis – sure to be a rockin’ and rollin’ good time as usual.

On Friday night, we have the talented Lena Maude, who you can see in action here:

On Saturday night, join us for Jen Sygit and her wonderful tunes:

As usual, our Friday and Saturday shows are no cover and family friendly – come on down to the tasting room to try our wine, mead, beer, and cider along with charcuterie plates.

To celebrate spring, we’re also offering you a 50% discount on Rose’ Ambrosia, along with 20% off merchandise, and, if you buy one regular price growler fill, 50% off on your second fill. This sale runs through Memorial Day!

Don’t forget – Painting with Toinette returns on April 16 at 3PM – pick up your tickets here or in the tasting room. $30 per person, and you get 10% off your charcuterie and drinks.

The Cheese Lady returns Sunday, April 22nd – no advance tickets required, it’s just $15 per person at the door and you’ll get to sample a variety of mead/wine/cheese pairings from The Cheese Lady Traverse City!

The Cheese Lady Returns!

The Cheese Lady Returns!

This Sunday (October 29th) the Cheese Lady is returning to St. Ambrose Cellars for another pairing event!

Instead of a guided pairing with advance tickets and sessions, this will be an all-day affair. At least, that is, until the cheese runs out.

You’ll be able to purchase (for $15) a flight of four St. Ambrose drinks (more info below) that come with specially selected paired cheeses. The cheese will also be available for purchase so you can take some home and continue the fun.

So, what’s the flight? What are the cheeses? Read on …

Rhythm & Blues

Our newest draft mead features black currants and blueberries for flavor. This mead will be paired with two cheeses:

Irish Cheddar

From the Irish fields of Tipperary, this creamy cow’s milk cheddar is slightly aged and very full-flavored. Very pleasing, with distinct grassy taste.


This Belgian fresh chevre is smooth and creamy – a drop of sweet Belgian “liquid gold” gives the cheese a hint of sugar to please the palate.

Drunkin Pumpkin

Our seasonal pumpkin spice mead is still here for a limited time, and will also be paired with two exciting cheeses …


From Menorca off the coast of Spain, this aged cow’s milk cheese is cheddary and sweet with a crunch to the texture. Rubbed in butter and paprika.

Fromager D’Affinois

An ultra smooth brie-style cheese that features a fresh, full, buttery flavor. Produced in France and made from cow’s milk.

2016 Vin Gris

This elegant dry white wine made from pinot noir grapes will be paired with ..

Double Cream Gouda

A cheese made in the small cheesemaking factories of Hollan, it is known as one of the creamiest and mellowest cheeses made in the country.

Cherry Amore – New!

The returning Cherry Amore features a new and improved formula featuring a dark, flavorful, and tart experience. Try the new Cherry Amore with …

Peppadew Spread

The peppadew is a sweet, hot pepper grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Blended with a mixture of cheeses, it makes a delicious and spreadable snack.

Be Here Sunday!

The fun starts at 12 Noon – and you don’t need tickets. The flight and cheese pairing will be available as long as supplies last!

What’s the Buzz? August 17th 2017

What’s the Buzz? August 17th 2017

Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean the fun is winding down. We’ve got another buzzworthy weekend coming up, and here’s all the details you need!

DeDe Alder

The wonderful DeDe Alder – a mainstay of the St. Ambrose Cellars music lineup – is back again on Friday night.

From humble beginnings, Dede has paved her way on her own experimental, alternative, off the grid musical journey. Dede has picked up her gypsy skills over the years including soulfull singing, raw song-writing, playing percussion of all kinds, dancing, community organizing, and being able to sleep in any location at anytime. Skilled in the art of the Vibraphone, Tambourine, Drumkit, Frame Drum, Snare Drum, Vocals, Word Smithery and much more, she is a versatile performer that can wear many hats, and does.

Her vocal style mixes sweet Irish influence with growling soulfelt jazz sensibilities, a unique combo you can only experience for yourself.

Come enjoy DeDe and her delightful drums, and grab yourself some mead, wine, beer, and food from the awesome TNT Food Truck outside.

Suds on the Shore

We’re back at Suds on the Shore in beautiful Ludington, MI this weekend. For the low low price of $25, you’ll get to sample the wares of St. Ambrose and 60 other vendors!

There’s more info on this cool event at their official website.

Newest Tap Additions

If you’ve been to the tasting room lately, you’ve certainly noticed the larger tap selection that we’ve added. We have too many cool ideas to be contained by just 12 taps – so we put on a few more, and that’s allowed us to debut some new beverages – including two options for our designated drivers (or soda lovers in general)!

St. Cider

Our house cider is now available. It features 11 different apples! We use Spartan, Gala, Jonathan, Honey Gold, Yellow Delicious, Ginger Gold, Iona Gold, Cortland, Greening, Chestnut Crab, and Wickson Crab to make this house cider.

Eat a Peach

Our Peach Cyser, with peach, apple, and apricot flavors, is a traditional cyser (mead/cider combo) that is going to have Georgia on your mind in no time.

Northwoods Soda

We’ve added two Northwoods Sodas – Lake Effect and Black Cherry – to our lineup, for those looking for something a little lighter.

Imperial Brag-about-it

This is our first true braggot – a mead and beer hybrid – that is hard to describe and even harder to forget. Words aren’t going to do this justice, so you need to come in and grab a glass before it’s gone!

TNT Food Truck

As usual, the TNT Food Truck will be joining us on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Here’s a preview of the menu:


It’s that time of year again!

It’s that time … THE CRUSH! St. Ambrose Cellars presents the yearly birthday party that we all love! This year, we’ll be donating a portion of your $10 entrance fee to the Honor Area Restoration Project. For your entrance fee, you’ll get to enjoy FOUR great bands: The Ol’ Microtones, Kellerville, The Barbarossa Brothers, and the world famous K. Jones & The Benzie Playboys, and you’ll get a drink token!

Join us for another awesome day and night of partying at the Cellars – September 16th, starting at 4PM!

St. Ambrose Disc Golf Course

St. Ambrose Disc Golf Course

It’s true! The St. Ambrose Cellars disc golf course is open for business. It’s a 9 hole, free-to-play course that’s easily accessible from the meadery. Simply park in the parking lot, and head into the big field next door – you’ll see the first tee.

Here is an overview of the course layout:

Now we’ll take you through the course, hole by hole, so that you can get a feel for where you’re headed.

This is the first tee:

Hole 1 is a straight shot – but it’s kinda long. It’s 540 feet from tee to the basket. This is a view of the basket:

Moving on to the second hole, you’ll be met with a slight dogleg. Here’s the view from the tee:

The basket is tucked into the woods – here’s the view:

Hole 3 is a moderately long hole, with a dogleg at the end. Here’s the view from the tee:

And here’s the view of the basket area:

Hole 4 is pretty straight – but you’ve got a couple options here. We have three trees in the middle – you can go around to the left, right, or straight over all them if you want:

This is the Hole 4 basket:

Hole 5 is medium length par 3, and there’s a dogleg at the end, to the left. The view from the tee:

Once you get to the basket, here’s your view:

Hole 6 starts with a curve, instead of ending with one. You’ll need to get left from the tucked tee:

And here’s the sixth hole basket:

Hole 7 is basically straight with a curve at the end. Here’s the view from the tee:

Here’s the seventh hole basket:

Hole 8 is a big, long dogleg right. You’ll start off down this path:

Here’s the view at the turn in the hole – notice the large brush pile that might be problematic.

A bit beyond that brush pile, you’ll find the basket:

We finish up on Hole 9 – where you’ll need to navigate this mess of trees:

And you will find the basket:

What’s the Buzz?! – June 9th

What’s the Buzz?! – June 9th

Summer Hours

How many times have you gotten to the winery at 11:00 AM and waited patiently for us to open up? I know at least two of you have – because I have seen your cars. Well, we’ve noticed, and we’ve made the change! For the rest of the summer, we’re opening up at 11:00AM for all your mead, wine, and beer needs. Get those growlers filled earlier, pick up some wine for your afternoon picnic, and don’t forget the honey. As a reminder, our new operating hours for the rest of the summer are:

Monday – Wednesday: 11AM to 9PM
Thursday – Saturday: 11AM to 10PM
Sunday: 11AM – 6PM

Music This Weekend

Your home for the hottest music in Benzie County is right here at St. Ambrose Cellars. We’ve got three more night of tunes for you this week.

Open Mic

The ever-popular Open Mic series hosted by Jim & Wanda Curtis rolls on this week, starting Thursday at 6PM! We’ve got a fancy sound system and everything for you to play with now!

Alfredo Improv

Local legends Alfredo will be back on Friday night, starting around 6PM.


The hottest band in the land – To Be Announced – will be hopefully joining us on Saturday.

Ok, The Whiskey Charmers had a situation pop up and had to unfortunately cancel, so we’re working on a replacement. TBA ! TBA ! TBA !

TNT Food Truck

Joining us on our Thursday nights, Friday nights, and Saturdays will be the TNT Food Truck! The menu is constantly evolving, but here’s a selection of what they have been serving up lately:

In the Wild

HopCat East Lansing

Looking at our Untappd check-ins, it seems the HopCat down in East Lansing is really purring with love for the Black Madonna draft lately. If you’re downstate and need your fix, head down to the HopCat and check out Black Madonna – along with about 1 million other beers, ciders, and meads – and show them some love!


VinoShipper Air Delivery

VinoShipper – our shipping partners for online sales – have made some shipping changes for the summer. Shipping during the summer months can be a challenge due to varying temperatures around the country, so this summer, in partnership with UPS they are offering substantially reduced UPS Next Day Air shipping rates – a reduction of about 45%.

This helps save your mead and wine from being left in hot trucks or other delivery points during these blazin’ summer months. You can shop our VinoShipper store here.

Yard Yoga!

Join RYT200 certified yoga instructor Jenn Ryan & guest teachers for YardYoga at St. Ambrose Cellars, Tuesday evenings, beginning June 13th!

REGISTER via text: 231-218-0655

Classes will always be different – sometimes gentle, sometimes a well-balanced vinyasa flow – we’ll have fun, enjoy nature’s beauty, & afterward, perhaps have a sip or a snack.

YardYoga will happen IF:
1. it’s not raining
2. it’s at least 65 degrees Farenheit
3. the ground isn’t soaked from a day of rain that has ceased


Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival

We’ll be pouring our wares at the Mt. Pleasant Beer Festival on Saturday, June 10th! More info here:


In Case You Missed It …

Pinot Noir Riesling 2016

Pinot Noir Riesling 2016

A lovely pink wine in hand. The sun blazing on your shoulders. And a big splotch of BBQ sauce narrowly missing your shirt after you eat an amazing pork nacho. That’s summer, right? If it’s your idea of a good time, you don’t want to miss out on Pinot Noir Riesling.

This is a first of its kind for our winery! A lovely pinkish/red color, our Pinot Noir Riesling blend is handcrafted to perfect your summer evenings on the porch.

Pinot Noir Riesling 2016 features watermelon, strawberry, and cherry flavors. There is a nice spice on the finish to tingle the tastebuds. The whole cluster press of the pinot noir grapes provides the wine with a nice structure.

St. Ambrose Pinot Noir Riesling is an ideal summertime wine. It plays nicely with your favorite backyard barbecue fair – we recommend pairing it with BBQ pulled pork nachos, or perhaps your favorite spicy rubbed meat. On the cheese platter, find yourself a nice cheddar or monterey jack and enjoy!

This new wine is here for a limited time only. You can try it in our tasting room, and you can purchase bottles via VinoShipper here.

Wine Stats

Harvest Date: October 2016
Brix at Harvest: 21.5*
pH: 3.1
TA: 8.55 g/L
Blend: 66% Pinot Noir, 34% Riesling
ABV: 11.5%
R.S.: 2.6%
Bottling Date: March 2016
Vineyards: Evans Brothers (Frankfort, MI) and Daddy Long Legs (Benzie County, MI)
Winemaker: Michael Altesleben

The Case of the Secret Beach

The Case of the Secret Beach

The Private Investigator set himself down at the bar with a sigh. It was a wet night, but the bar was dry. So was his tongue. He was looking to fix that, right away.

“What can I do ya for, chief?”

“Something sweet.”

“Right-on. What’s your name, fella? For the tab?”


“Need a little more … that’s not uncommon, buddy.”

“Lemon. John Lemon.”

“… don’t joke with me, boss.”

“I’m not. I promise you that.”

John Lemon had heard it all before. People always wanted to hold his hand, let him be, get together … he was done with it. Let them joke. His dad liked the music. That was John’s burden to bear for the rest of his life. At least he wasn’t “Sue”.

John sipped his Tupelo. Mead. Interesting. Made from honey. That’s a new one. Maybe the buzz would help him relax and find this “Ginger” he was looking for.

That’s when he saw her – red hair ablaze, shooting a glare at him from the end of the bar. John cocked an eyebrow. She motioned him to come down. He shook his head. Never move if you don’t have to. Have to conserve the energy where you can.

She was exasperated, but collected her purse and made the journey.

“Ginger, I presume?”

“Oh honey, I get that a lot.”

“So … yes?”

“We’ll go with that.”

John raised his brows. This was going to be a challenge.

“You called my office. You’re looking for a Secret Beach?”

“You might say that. Or you might say, I need something from the Secret Beach.”

“Listen lady, I don’t have all night.”

This was a level ten lie – he had all night, and all the nights after this. Business hadn’t been too strong lately.

“I left something … important … down there …” she trailed off.

“Money? Jewels? What are we talkin’ here?”

“You’ll know it when you see it.”

John knew his Supreme Court cases, and that phrase carries a certain connotation in that curriculum. He assumed she wasn’t talking about her dirty magazines.

“How about we table the object, and we talk place. Where’s the Secret Beach?”

“You know Star Thistle Ave?”

“I do. Been down that way many times.”

“Go down there tomorrow night. 9 PM. You’ll get the info you need.”

And with that, she was gone. John was glad to have another billable hour tomorrow night. Probably two by the time he found the “info” she was talking about. If he took the scenic route, maybe three. That’ll almost pay for a week of rent at the motel.

For now, he enjoyed his mead.

And that’s when she walked back in, strode across the bar floor, and sat back down next to him.

“Ginger, you’re back?”

“Back, honey? I just got here … wait … you didn’t meet my … twin?”

John was gonna need another drink.

** End Part 1 **

What’s the Buzz?! June 1-4

What’s the Buzz?! June 1-4

First, a big thanks to everyone who came out for Memorial Day weekend! We know it was busy here, and we appreciate your business. It was great to see so many happy faces trying out the meads, wines, and new beers.

There’s no three-day weekend this week, but we’ve still got plenty going on out here at the Cellars for the start of June.

Open Mic Thursday

Starting off with tonight – we’ve got Jim and Wanda Curtis in the house for open mic! We’ve recently installed a whole host of new sound equipment to make this event even more lively, and you definitely need to come down and check out the new speakers, soundboard, and more. We’ve loved having Jim and Wanda host our Open Mics, and look forward to a summer full of sound from our favorite friends. Get in on the fun – and get 35% off your howlers and growlers because it is Thirsty Thursday! Music starts around 6PM and goes until we close!

DeDe Alder

DeDe and her magic drums are one of our favorite acts in the tasting room, and she’ll be back on Friday night to delight you. The music will start around 6PM. From humble beginnings, Dede has paved her way on her own experimental, alternative, off the grid musical journey. Dede has picked up her gypsy skills over the years including soulfull singing, raw song-writing, playing percussion of all kinds, dancing, community organizing, and being able to sleep in any location at anytime. Skilled in the art of the Vibraphone, Tambourine, Drumkit, Frame Drum, Snare Drum, Vocals, Word Smithery and much more, she is a versatile performer that can wear many hats, and does.

Her vocal style mixes sweet Irish influence with growling soulfelt jazz sensibilities, a unique combo you can only experience for yourself.

Blake Elliott

Blake Elliott hasn’t been in the tasting room in a while, but she’s back on Saturday night!

Blake Elliott’s signature style is as universal as the types of music she creates. Her writing spans a wide range of genres, covering the scope from jazz to folk to soul and ensuring that even the most discriminating of listeners will enjoy watching her perform. With a vibrant personality that matches those bright red lips, Blake has made her mark on the Michigan music scene with a fervor that’s unceasing.

The fun starts at 6PM on Saturday night – as always, there is no cover for our Friday and Saturday shows.

St. Ambrose in the Wild

Our store locator has over 400 places where you can pick up our wine, still, and draft mead. Check it out! And if you want to see it in your area, let your favorite bar, restaurant, or store know that they should stock up – we’re distributed by Imperial Beverage and available across the great state of Michigan! If you aren’t in Michigan, you can always find our products at VinoShipper.

In Traverse City, we’re available at Taproot Ciderhouse – one of the coolest spots in downtown! Here’s the owner, Jenn, with some St. Ambrose goodies:

Taproot has awesome ciders, and in addition, they have a truly awesome food menu. You won’t be disappointed. One of my top spots to eat in TC, easily.

Hagerty Small Business of the Year

Congratulations to Image360, who won the Hagerty Small Business of the Year award! We were a Top 10 finalist, but alas, didn’t take home the gold. Kirk and Doug still had a good time at the award ceremony:

Thanks for reading, and can’t wait to see you all soon!

What’s the Buzz?! Memorial Day Weekend

What’s the Buzz?! Memorial Day Weekend

LulaRoe & Thirsty Thursday & Open Mic

It’s Thursday, and that means one … ok, two … ok, ok, it means THREE things this week! We’ve got LuLaRoe coming in for a pop-up boutique in the tasting room and the lawn, with all their leggings and assorted goodies. This is always a hit!

It’s also Thirsty Thursday – which means we’re giving you 35% off your growlers and howlers. Fill up on our new beer, No Frills IPA, or a classic like John Lemon. The choice is yours! May I recommend Violet Femmes, our lavender mint mead that’s only going to be around for a limited time?

And finally, we’ve got Open Mic with Ma and Pa Curtis. They installed some fancy new speakers in the tasting room yesterday that will make you sound awesome! Join the hottest Open Mic in all the land starting at 6PM.

Chloe & Olivia Kimes

The sister duo Chloe and Olivia Kimes will be joining us on Friday night, starting at 6PM. The duo plays a lot of folk, Americana, country and bluegrass on a mix of guitar, mandolin, washboard and harmonica. These talented women look forward to seeing you!

Here’s a little preview:

Alfredo Improv

Alfredo – always a hit – is back to jam with us on Saturday night. The guys will be firing up at 6PM for a night of white hot jams. You’ve seen them before, and you’ll see them again this weekend.

New Summer Hours

It’s time for summer hours! That means we’ll be open to 6PM on Sundays, and we’ll be open to 9PM Monday thru Wednesday, and until 10PM on our three music nights (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

And also – exciting times – we’ll be open at 11AM every single day! For you folks getting started on a wine tour or a trip to the Traverse City area from the dunes, we’ll be open before you even stop out for lunch.

These hours take effect starting after Memorial Day!!! (May 30th)

End of Michigan Wine Month

Finally, it’s last call for you to get 30% four awesome wines and meads from the tasting room. When May is over, so is this great deal!

What’s the Buzz?! – May 19th Weekend

What’s the Buzz?! – May 19th Weekend

It’s May 17th, and we’re really getting into the swing of summer here at St. Ambrose Cellars. You may have heard some of the big news – we’ve got beer! – and I’m sure you’re excited to come try No Frills IPA, if you haven’t already. This is a limited edition first run – so you’ll want to get out here and grab a glass before it is gone! The men in the back are working hard on adding more delicious beers to our taps, and we’ll have more info on those once they are ready to go.

But there’s other stuff happening too!

Festival Season Has Returned

The return of the sun means the return of the busy festival calendar here in Northern Michigan. As usual, St. Ambrose Cellars will be out and about pouring our favorite beverages at your favorite festivals. We’ve got a couple events lined up in the next two weeks:

Empire Asparagus Festival

One of our favorite events, the Empire Asparagus Festival is this weekend and we’ll be there with XR Cyser and a rotating selection of other meads filling the other three taps. Don’t miss the world famous parade at the Asparagus Festival, it’s a delight. There will also be a pig roast on Friday night, and music from outstanding artists like K. Jones & The Benzie Playboyz throughout the weekend.

Learn more at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EmpireMichigan/

Crystal Mountain Beer n’ Brat Festival

Next weekend – Memorial Day Weekend – we’ll be pouring out at Crystal Mountain for their Beer n’ Brat Festival. Roll your self away to Crystal Mountain, turn the page on spring, and work on your night moves with Lookin’ Back, a Detroit-based Bob Seger Tribute Band and some sweet St. Ambrose mead!

Learn more at their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/440232256367987/

Michigan Wine Month

As we announced last week, it’s Michigan Wine Month and in honor of this grand occasion we’re offering four of wines and meads at a special 30% discount. These Michigan grown, Michigan made wine and meads will make a great addition to your cellar. Grab our Marsanne Viognier, Dancing Bare, Rose Ambrosia, and 2011 Riesling Reserve at this special discounted price now through the end of the month!

Music This Weekend

Benzie’s home for the best jams is going to host three musical blockbusters again this weekend.

The action kicks off on Thursday with the Famous Curtis band and our Open Mic night. It’s also Thirsty Thursday, so you can take home a growler of your favorite mead or our new No Frills IPA beer for 35% off! It’s a great way to try something new, and stick around to watch the show starting at 6PM with Jim & Wanda Curtis.

On Friday, we’ve got hometown favorites The Feral Cats returning to the tasting room stage. The fur will be flying when these cats get scratching. As always, no cover for our musical performances. Enjoy a glass of wine, mead, or beer and a build your own charcuterie board while they slay you with some tunes.

On Saturday, “Michigan’s darkest ukulele band” – SALDAJE – is back in action. These St. Ambrose favorites are sure to pack the house for another night of mystical music and storytelling. We love when Saldaje makes time for the tasting room, and you won’t want to miss this performance.

$7.77 Draft Meads

If you can’t make it to the tasting room, and you can’t find your favorite drafts on store shelves near you with our store locator, don’t forget that we ship to 37 states through our online store. All draft meads are now just $7.77 (plus shipping) through the web! Our line of wines and meads are also available through the store. Check out the full list here.

Beer is Here!

Beer is Here!

Beer? Beer!

We’ve filled out the forms, crossed the T’s, dotted the I’s, got the licenses, went through the rigamarole, and finally, yes finally, there’s a beer on tap here at the St. Ambrose Cellars tasting room.

The first beer? No Frills IPA. We went with a classic IPA to debut. Featuring Galaxy and Simcoe hops for a citrusy, tropical, and slightly piney flavor/aroma, this IPA is an easy drinking beer that will appeal to the hop heads and casual beer drinkers alike.

No Frills IPA is brewed to feature a more malty, some would say sweeter, taste than many of the more dry IPAs on the market. At 7% alcohol by volume, it packs enough of a punch to satisfy but doesn’t overwhelm the drinker like a higher ABV IPA.

The Hops

This beer features Galaxy and Simcoe hops.

Galaxy is often described as having a passion fruity character along with aromas and flavors of clean citrus and peach. It may also carry threads of pineapple and tropical fruit. In short, its characteristics are all fruit with no floral, pine, or spice.

Simcoe is described as being both fruity and earthy. It can carry notes of berry, apricot, passion fruit, and citrus, but also has pronounced aromas of pine and woodsy earth. Flavor and aroma is quite complex and unique.

Beer Stats

Style: India Pale Ale
IBU: 70
ABV: 7%
Hops: Galaxy, Simcoe

Michigan Wine Month Specials

Michigan Wine Month Specials

May is Michigan Wine Month! The return of sunshine and warmth to the Mitten is also the perfect time to celebrate the incredible amount of great wine that is produced here every year.

At St. Ambrose Cellars, we’re celebrating Michigan Wine Month with special deals on four of wines and meads. These four featured products are 30% OFF in the tasting room through the end of the month.

Dancing Bare Ambrosia

Dancing Bare is a blend of white wine grapes and star thistle honey. At 66% honey and 34% honey, this pyment is a perfect gateway for wine drinkers into the world of mead – and vice versa. This crisp, semi-sweet beverage will make a great addition to your collection.

Rose Ambrosia

A pyment produced from local grapes, hand pressed, and fermented with gallberry honey collected by our bees. Semi-sweet with a refreshing combination of cherry and sweet spice flavors, and a bold, complex, bouquet. Rose Ambrosia is an ideal candidate for a wine slushie – for those of you looking to cool off and still get your fix this summer.

Marsanne Viognier 2011

Come out of your comfort zone and try our Rhone Varietal blend white wine that will take you straight to France. Full bodied with a nutty aroma and a honeyed texture. A unique wine sourced from Michigan grapes.

Another great way to take the edge of the heat this summer is a sangria – and our Marsanne is an awesome base for your summer sangria needs.

Riesling Reserve 2011

A true classic from our lineup, and it’s almost running out! This Riesling is made from fruit grown by the Vans Brothers Farm. The 2011 was a warmer season and allowed us to pick fully ripened fruit that exudes great Riesling flavors with just enough acidity to provide structure to this perfectly balanced wine.

What’s the Buzz?! – May 12th Weekend

What’s the Buzz?! – May 12th Weekend

After the excitement of our fundraiser and music last weekend, we’re back again for another weekend of fun here at St. Ambrose. It’s been a chilly start to the week but it seems like the temperature is rising a bit, and this weekend looks like an absolutely gorgeous time to be out on the lawn with a glass of mead and some good friends.

On Tap

Not many changes to the tap list this week. We’re still pouring our spring seasonal “Cool Breeze” lavender and mint mead, as well as the new trio of springtime wines – Secret Beach, Pinot Noir Riesling, and 2016 Pinot Grigio.

The one change to the list is the return of our Orange Vanilla mead for a limited engagement, replacing the dearly departed (for now) Spirit of ‘67 cranberry hibiscus mead.

In the Tasting Room

Escaping Pavement

Escaping Pavement joins us on Friday at 6PM. Here’s a clip from their bio:

From Detroit to Pasadena, to the high seas and then back to Detroit; it’s only when singer/songwriter duo Emily Burns and Aaron Markovitz escaped the neon blitz and car-strewn concrete of the city that they discovered how well their music could bloom when they brought it back to the roots. There is so much life and vitality in the Americana-folk journeys of Escaping Pavement, sprung entirely from an acoustic guitar, a mandolin, and two voices. Fiery passion, wistful reflection, awestruck adventurousness, and heartstring-plucking poignancy, the duo discovers, through song, the range of human emotion and celebrates the purities of what we’ve left behind for the artifices of tech trends, drug stores and cacophonous city centers.

You can learn more here: http://escapingpavement.com/

Here’s a video of them in action:

Jen Sygit

Jen Sygit is a regular here at the tasting room, and we’re super pumped to have her back on Saturday night at 6PM.

A gifted vocalist and masterful songwriter, Jen Sygit has a golden ear and a deft touch on guitar. Her smooth, sultry voice brings just the right timbre to traditional ballads, acoustic blues, torch songs, country music or lighthearted folk tunes. To supplement her solid acoustic guitar playing, Jen often turns to her open back banjo or soprano ukulele performing mountain melodies and timeless jazz tunes further emphasizing her vocal dexterity. A countrified girl with a generous heart, Jen’s songwriting is personal and heartfelt, but always expressed with a universal appeal. Whether writing about the country roads of her childhood or about watching families send their sons and daughters off to war, Jen Sygit represents “the music of front porch America.”

Jen in action:

Bayou in the Barn

Ok, it isn’t this weekend, but the posters and ads started going up this week for Bayou in the Barn – the spiritual successor to the popular Bayou on the Bay festival in Frankfort! This year, we’ll be hosting three amazing zydeco acts in our barn here at St. Ambrose Cellars. In addition, all the amazing food that goes along with the festival and our meads and wines and beers (yes! Beer!) will be available.

This evening fundraiser celebrates the cultural connections that Louisiana and Michigan share through music, food, and community leisure. National and local musicians perform blues and zydeco music, while Louisiana cuisine is made from scratch with Michigan ingredients. Ticket prices include admission to the event and auctions- food, alcohol, beverages and merchandise will be available for purchase (EARLY BIRD PRICES END JULY 5th). Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes. Yard games including bocce ball, cornhole, and disc golf will be available. All funds raised will benefit Grow Benzie’s community center, youth and educational programs (www.GrowBenzie.org).

We’ll have a ton more on this event as the date gets closer! You can buy advance tickets for this great night here:


St. Ambrose Near You

As always, you can check out the 400+ (and growing!) number of stores that carry our products at our store locator.

This week we wanted to feature a great store in the Metro Detroit area – Steve’s Party Store has been carrying our mead for some time now and they do a great job introducing new customers to the wonderful world of mead! If you are in the Detroit region, a stop to Steve’s is a must to check out the huge selection of craft beverages available.

Follow them on Instagram at:

And on Facebook at:

2016 Pinot Grigio

2016 Pinot Grigio

This month marks the return of a Pinot Grigio varietal wine to our shelves. Our 2016 Pinot Grigio comes in a fresh new label with a green St. Ambrose Cellars goddess and some eye-catching foil. Inside, you’ll find the great tasting white wine that you expect from the talented team of winemakers in the back.

What is Pinot Grigio?

First, one of the most common questions – yes, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same thing. Why two names for one thing? Who knows. Mysteries of the universe. Related to the Pinot Noir grape, these are beautiful grapes:

Pinot Grigio grapes produce fruity flavors, typically. These wines tend to run towards the dry end of the scale but some are sweeter – whether by sweetening with other ingredients or (more rare) if they come from the Alsace wine region on the border of France and Germany.

Suffice to say, our 2016 Pinot Grigio doesn’t include old world European grapes. This wine is our most-dry white wine on the menu currently.

Our Pinot Grigio

Our version features flavors of peach, lemon, lime, and a ruby red grapefruit finish. This light and citrus wine is also very food-friendly because of the subtle flavors. It won’t overwhelm the food on the menu.

We recommend trying it with creamy Italian dishes like risotto and mushroom or prosciutto. On the cheese end, you can go with parmesan and mozzarella for a tasty combination.

The Stats

Harvested: October 2016
Brix @ Harvest: 21
pH: 3.0
TA: 6.5 g/L
ABV: 12%
Residual Sugar: 0.0%
Vineyard: Daddy Long Legs, Benzie County, MI
Bottling Date: February 2017
Level of Acidity: Low
Tannin Level: Low
Oak Level: None
Ageability: 2 Years
Body: Light

Odyssey of the Mind Fundraiser

Odyssey of the Mind Fundraiser

This Saturday we’re hosting (you may have heard) a fundraiser for the Crystal Lake Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team. The team is headed to the World Finals for Odyssey of the Mind, and this is your chance to support these great kids in this worthwhile program.

What is Odyssey of the Mind?

OM is a problem-solving competition. You can learn more about Odyssey of the Mind at their official website.

What’s Going On Saturday?

We’re hosting a fundraiser to help the team with their trip to the World Finals. We will be accepting donations at the door, along with a pop-can drive. Donating to the cause will get you a wristband, which is good for 5% off your bill at the tasting room for the rest of the day and evening.

In addition, we’ll be hosting a Silent Auction. Some of the items available are:

Accidentals signed ukulele!

Apache Trout Gift Card!

Brys Estate wine!

Cherry Republic basket!

Dried Cherries from Northern Organics!

Dinner and a Pie from GT Pie and the State Theater!

Soap from Mother Gypsy Soap!

VIP Tasting at Chateu Chantal!

Musical Performances

Brett Mitchell and Cheryl Wolfram will be playing in the afternoon – Cheryl will start around 2:30 PM, and Brett Mitchell will take the stage around 4PM. Afterwards, Barefoot will be playing in the St. Ambrose Cellars tasting room. Wear your wristband and get 5% off through all these peformances!

In addition, you’ll get to see two performances by the talented Odyssey of the Mind team.


Along with the build-your-own charcuterie boards in the tasting room, you can try the world famous Taco ‘Bout It Food Truck! They’ll be on site during the afternoon for all your taco-related needs.

We hope you’re able to join us for this special day and help send the team off with a bang!

What’s The Buzz?! – May 5th Weekend

What’s The Buzz?! – May 5th Weekend


It’s the first week of May, and the busy spring/summer season is just getting rolling here at St. Ambrose. The bees at Sleeping Bear Farms next door have been returning for the past few weeks, and there’s a buzz in the air as the weather (kinda) starts to warm up and we get to see the sun again.

We’ve got a lot going on this weekend, and here’s the rundown:

Odyssey of the Mind Fundraiser

On Saturday, we’re hosting a Silent Auction/Pop-Can Drive/Fundraiser for the Crystal Lake Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team. These talented kids are headed to the world finals for Odyssey of the Mind, and this is a great opportunity to enjoy a Saturday at the Cellars while supporting their hard work.

This event is going to feature two musical performances – Cheryl Wolfram in the early afternoon, and the supremely talented Brett Mitchell in the early evening. Both those performances are free for anyone here.

In addition, there will be a silent auction. Local music sensations The Accidentals have generously provided some items for auction, like a signed ukulele!

Along with that, community sponsors and businesses will be providing other items up for auction, with all proceeds going to the Odyssey of the Mind team.

You’ll also have the opportunity to see two super performances from the OM team during the event.

The fun starts at 2PM and runs til 6PM. Suggested donation is $5, and we’ll also be accepting pop cans for the fundraising drive.

Weekend Music Acts

Along with the two musical performances during the fundraiser, we’ll have our usual Friday and Saturday night music in the tasting room.

Friday, May 5th – Alex Mendenall

Alex Mendenall is a nationally touring songwriter based in Lansing, MI. Drawing from soul, folk, funk, and jazz, Alex’s music features carefully crafted wordplay, rich chord progressions, and dynamic arrangements of foot percussion. His expressive melodies and heartfelt storytelling focus on universal ideas of life, death, love, and what it means to be human.

Performing in venues and festivals across the Midwestern and Eastern United States, Mendenall has worked with acts like Tyler Hilton, Ryan Cabrera, Hayley Kiyoko, Royal Teeth, and Young Rising Sons. He has toured extensively across the the U.S. in addition to dates in Canada.

In his home state, Mendenall has had the opportunity to take his music to events like the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Beaver Island Music Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, Dunesville Music Festival, the East Lansing Summer Concert Series, Roots on the River Concert Series, and many others. He has worked with talented local groups like The Ragbirds, The Accidentals, and The Appleseed Collective along the way.

You can listen to his music here.

Saturday, May 6th – Barefoot

Barefoot returns to the tasting room on Saturday night. Barefoot, features Jenni Rae, Bee Jay Reffitt, Phil Coryell and Nathon Lane. Playing rich, soulful tones and acoustic vibes, raised on Michigan’s shores, this is always a fun night at St. Ambrose.

You can listen to a bit of their music on their Facebook page.

Thirsty Thursday

We hope for a full day of roaring electrical power this week, after last week’s abbreviated Thursday due to the whims of nature. Assuming the lights stay on – and the forecast says that shouldn’t be an issue – we’re back to our normal Thirsty Thursday schedule with 35% off your growler and howler needs.

Might I suggest that you dedicate one of those delicious fills to the new member of our lineup, Cool Breeze? This lavender mint seasonal mead has that light, crisp, and refreshing taste that you crave. Did I mention this was a gold medal winner at the 2017 Mazer Cup? Because I should have mentioned that. Try out Cool Breeze and all your other favorites on Thirsty Thursday.

New Wines

You may have heard, but in case you didn’t, we’ve got three new wines bottled and for sale in the tasting room right now.

Secret Beach

You know Secret Beach. You love Secret Beach. And it’s back!

2016 Pinot Grigio

The sequel to our last run of Pinot Grigio, this wine features a cool new foil label with a green tint, and the great taste you expect from our white wine lineup. This is a light, citrus-y, food-friendly wine with a subtle flavor that fits right in on the dinner table.

2016 Pinot Noir Riesling

A new variety for us, this Pinot Noir ( (66%) and Riesling (34%) blend has a seductive blush color and a bouquet of flavors including watermelon, strawberry, and cherry. This unique wine just might end up on your list of favorites!

St. Ambrose Cellars Near You

Can’t make it to the tasting room? Our store locator helps you find our meads and wines in a place near you. No store near you? Tell your favorite shop to give Imperial Beverage a call and stock up!

One of our newest additions to the list this week is the hottest spot in Grayling – Paddle Hard Brewing. Featuring several of our meads and wines – along with an awesome lineup of Sleeping Bear Farms honey products – Paddle Hard is the place to be if you’re looking for St. Ambrose mead and wine in Grayling or the surrounding area. They’ve got a great setup and have truly set a new standard for craft beverages in their neck of the woods. We can’t recommend them enough!

Visit their website here.

Buy Online

And if you can’t find it near you – or just want the convenience of St. Ambrose beverages coming direct to your door – remember that we ship to 37 states through our partnership with VinoShipper. You can view all of our products available for purchase in our store here or in one big list at VinoShipper.

Secret Beach is Back!

Secret Beach is Back!

Every good Northern Michigan resident has their favorite secret beach – a spot they can go to relax and enjoy some peace around the big water that surrounds us.

We strongly believe everyone needs a secret beach to call their own, to escape from the day to day grind, and that’s why we bottled one for you. We give you … 2016 Secret Beach – our table white wine blend that has finally returned to the tasting room and a store shelf near you.

One of our most popular wines, Secret Beach is a tropical delight of flavors. This year our blend is 65% Vignoles, 31% Riesling, and 4% Muscat Ottonel. You’re probably familiar with vignoles and riesling, and also (if you’re anything like me) shaking your head at muscat ottonel.

What is Muscat Ottonel?

Let’s head to the ever-helpful Wikipedia:

Muscat Ottonel is a white wine grape variety that is a member of the Muscat family of Vitis vinifera. It is most notable for its use in dessert wines from Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Serbia as well as dry wines from Alsace and Hungary. In Alsace, the varietal designation Muscat d’Alsace is allowed for the varieties Muscat Ottonel, Muscat blanc à petit grains and Muscat rose à petit grains blended in any combination -or not- (but not for other members of the Muscat family), and blends between these are not allowed for most Alsace Grands Crus.

First cultivated in Alsace by the Loire grower Moreau-Robert in 1852, Muscat Ottonel is believed to be a cross of Chasselas with Muscat de Saumur(which was originally given as “Muscat d’Eisenstadt”).

That clears it up, right?

The Flavor of Secret Beach

Secret Beach is a jubilee of tropical fruit flavors. You’ll notice hints of peach, pear, passion fruit, and pineapple in your glass. You can also pick up just a hint of coconut. It’s a light body wine, with bright acidity, and 10% alcohol by volume.

The Stats

Harvest Date: October 2016
Brix @ Harvest: 20.8*
pH: 2.9
Blend: 65% Vignoles, 31% Riesling, 4% Muscat Ottonel
ABV: 10%
Residual Sugar: 3.6%
TA: 10.6 g/L
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Level of Acidity: High
Tannin Level: Low
Oak Level: None
Ageability: Short-Medium (2 years)
Bottling Date: 3-1-2017
Vineyard: Daddy Long Legs, Benzie Co.
Winemaker: Michael Altesleben

Food Pairings

We recommend a tropical flair to go with Secret Beach. Some ideas include coconut shrimp, a jerk-seasoning (perhaps on some chicken), or a dessert with tropical fruits. For cheese, go with vlaskaas or cow milk gouda.

Find Your Secret Beach

You can get Secret Beach in our tasting room, in our web store, or request it at your favorite local wine shop.

Where in the World is St. Ambrose? January 2017

Where in the World is St. Ambrose? January 2017

It’s been another big month here at St. Ambrose Cellars, and we’re going to take a look at all the far flung places that our meads and wines have made it to this month.

First order of business – our store locator is up to date as of the end of January, and our distribution continues to grow across the country. Take a gander with the locator here and check to see if we’re available near you. We have 400 total locations listed as of today, with the bulk of those in Michigan but also a growing number of stores in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. If you live in Michigan – and want St. Ambrose at your local store – you can urge your good shopkeeps to make a call to Imperial Distributors and see what can be done.

Some of the new locations include Tavern on Main in Clawson, MI, Jojo’s Natural Markets in Gaylord, and Coach Liquor Shop in Waterford, MI.

As always, you can order our mead and wine to 37 states from our store here on the website. You’ll go through our good friends at VinoShipper to make your order.


We love checking out our profile on Untappd. It’s so fun to see all the cool places people drink their St. Ambrose, and what they think about it.

Let’s take a look at some statistics – first, we’ve got our most popular check-ins for the month:

What we see here is that Black Madonna is a huge hit with the Untappd crowd. With 46 check-ins, this was our most popular beverage in January. That’s followed a bit behind by XR Cyser and Evil Twins, two long-standing popular meads in our arsenal. Is your favorite a bit behind? Download the app and get ratin’.

Now, we take a look at who drinks more St. Ambrose – men or women:

The dudes take this one, but maybe it’s just because more dudes use Untappd. We’re not dealing with a scientific sample here, folks. This isn’t your University stats class.

Finally, let’s see what states were most checked in:

It might be surprising, but Michigan only narrowly carries the day here. Our great friends at Savannah Bee in South Carolina and Georgia represent pretty well! You can see some of those VinoShipper customers as well, with check-ins from places like Florida and Virginia, where we don’t even have retail stores. Those are the diehards. We love you for it.

Overall, here’s some numbers:

We had 164 check-ins

Our average rating (of 5) was 3.89

And my favorite comments:

Best investment in South Carolina!

  • Evil Twins, South Carolina

Very sweet! Holy cow its sweet!

  • XR Cyser, South Carolina

Yes!! This lemon is turned up to eleven. Boom!! Love this!!

  • John Lemon, Saginaw, MI

We’re always curious about where folks are enjoying the bee goddess – send us cool pics, stories, or what-have-you via the comments here or on our many social media outlets!

Five Questions with Syd Burnham

Five Questions with Syd Burnham

This Saturday night the very talented rising star Syd Burnham joins us again at St. Ambrose! The fun starts at 6PM. Before the show, we got a chance to ask her a few questions about her career and music.

1. Has it been challenging to do so much touring at a young age?

There can be ups and downs of touring and playing all the time but being able to share and make music with other people overcomes all the small bad details.

2. What are some of your biggest inspirations, musically?

I am a true sucker for lady rockers so of course I look up to Grace Potter, Janis Joplin, Tori Kelly and Stevie nicks. Though I have grown up around lots of other music including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Stevie Wonder, The Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and other like those and they have all really shaped who I am as a person and musically.

3. What other performers have you been listening to lately?

This is kinda a difficult question for me because I am always listening to new music so to choose just a couple is difficult. I have recently joined a band called “Red Herring” and all the dudes in the band are super into Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, and The Who so I’ve been listening to those artists and artists like them. I also try to listen to local talent like The Sweet Water Warblers, Jill Jack, Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers.

4. This will be your second time at St. Ambrose – what’s your favorite part, so far, about playing here?

St. Ambrose is really so beautiful! I love that it is nearly in the middle of nowhere but as soon as your there its so lively. From the church windows to the big barn and great outside space its hard to choose a favorite thing about this place but I think I would definitely have to go with the wonderful people that work there! All the staff and the owner(s) were so inviting and made a wonderful experience for me all together!

5. Do you have any exciting plans for 2017? Anything fans should be on the lookout for?

2017 is going to be a great year for music! We have lots of fun summer festivals planned and hope to maybe release some new music!

Thanks Syd!

And here’s a preview of what to expect on Saturday night from this performer …

Five Questions with Saldaje

Five Questions with Saldaje

1. You’ve got a lot of influences (like the ones listed on your site – Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Suzanne Vega, Nina Simone, Eastern European, Arabic and Celtic musics) that is verrrry diverse, which is cool. But how did that come about? Do you have a family history with any of those regions that drove you to explore specific regions or style? Just an interest?

We do share a strong dose of Eastern European blood. I believe the thread that connects all of our influences is passion, and a sort of dark romanticism. Saldaje is a fusion of all the music our hearts were ever broken to.

2. How challenging has it been over the years to merge all of those diverse interests into your sound?

It happens naturally, it is not generally something we set out to do. The songs just come.

3. What’s your favorite thing about performing at St. Ambrose? You’ve been here a few times recently, so we assume you must enjoy it 🙂

St. Ambrose is a special place that just keeps getting cooler, bees are magical and mead is good!

4. Where’s your favorite place to shop for the awesome band wardrobe? Custom made? Thrift shops?

Ahh, the wardrobe…my favorite part…I design and make much of it. We are also avid thrift store up cyclers. I am a visual artist as well, so how we are painted on stage is important to me. Shaun is just dapper in general.

5. Any awesome new projects in the works?

We are presenting a special, winter-themed show at Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City in February that will involve a bit more theatrics. We are also recording a new CD, probably out next year.



Check out some Saldaje performances in the videos below!

And visit their website here

January at St. Ambrose

January at St. Ambrose

A note from our tasting room manager, Cindy …


The secret of St Ambrose Cellars is starting to spread! I had never heard of this Winery/Meadery and I pride myself on knowing and going to as many of the Tasting Rooms in the region as I can get to. The charm and yet the, I’ll call it … “Kirky-ness” of this place won me over nearly instantly.

I will admit, I did undercover work before I became the Tasting Room Manager. I pulled in the parking lot not sure what to expect and ended up with a great tasting experience, glasses of wine and mead, and a cheese and meat platter. There was a band playing in the barn and even a bake sale!

The entire drive back to Traverse my mom, good friend Becky, and I just could not stop talking about that bake sale, we still talk about it! We had such a wonderful time and even now when I hear Becky talk about where I work she gets this twinkle in her eye, after working here for a few months I see it in nearly every customer when they leave.

The welcoming feeling and just love that everyone has for St Ambrose Cellars is infectious. St Ambrose truly is as sweet as tupelo honey, and I look forward to getting to know the loyal customers and introducing more people to this amazing spot that has been a secret to me until now.

This Month at St. Ambrose



Six Holiday Wines

Six Holiday Wines

You may have heard about the new discount in the tasting room. If you haven’t, get ready: you get 10% off (and a free travel wine key) if you buy six bottles of our wine! Armed with that info, it’s time to prepare for the holiday season. You’ve got parties to attend, gifts to give, and then more parties to attend. You need to bring something, or give something, for all these events. We all know wine is the best gift – and this six pack of wine is going to cover all your bases. Let’s dive in on another #WineWednesday …

Christmas Parties


You’re heading to a Christmas party, and you know someone is making dinner. The menu at these things can be all over the place, and you want to bring a bottle of wine. How to prepare? Take one red, and one white, of our best food-pairing bottles. These two wines will hold their own against all the sumptuous flavors you encounter this holiday season.

Syrah – which we talked about last week – is a bold red that works well with the hearty meals we often eat during the winter months.

Our Vin Gris is one of our most popular white wines, and it’s exceptional for pairing with food. You can’t go wrong with each other choice, and they’ll both be welcome at any table you head to this winter.

Gift Giving


Tell someone you love how special they are with a nice bottle of wine. Simple, classic, and elegant, wine is a great gift idea. Really, it’s great anytime.

The two bottles we’ve selected here are excellent gifting bottles. Our Late Harvest Riesling is a sweet, unique taste of Northern Michigan that will make a stellar addition to anyone’s cellar. On the red side, our classic Cottage Red is a table red wine that is at home in any setting.

Ring in the New Year


You’ll be the life of the party if you show up with our New Year wines. First, we’ve got our 2013 Pinot Noir – a traditional red wine that’ll be great for getting the festivities warmed up. For the later evening, we’ve got our exquisite Royal Reserve. This dessert mead has a rich, sweet flavor that pairs well with a New Year’s cigar, or some delectable chocolates.

Meet Our New Meads

Meet Our New Meads

New Meads


December has been a month of experimentation here at St. Ambrose. Our guys in the meadery have been working hard on coming up with some new beverages for you to enjoy this frosty month – and we’ve got the scoop on all three right here. These are limited edition drafts, available only in the tasting room for now. But who knows what the future holds …

Santa’s Helper

Our first new mead of the season is quite appropriate for this time of year. Our Christmas-themed mead is called “Santa’s Helper”. Mulled wine has been a hot drink lately, and this is our take on a mulled mead.

Featuring black currant, cherry, strawberry, orange peel, and a bouquet of spices – allspice, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. On top of all that, this mead has been steeped in cabernet franc and merlot grape skins to give it another boost of flavor.

You can drink it chilled, or you can take it home and heat it up for another take. It’s been a big seller since we went on tap a few weeks ago so make sure to stop by and grab some before it’s gone!

Rhythm and Blues

This new draft mead is a bit simpler than Santa’s Helper. This rock and roller is a mix of black currant and grains of paradise. The warm flavor of the grains of paradise blends with the fresh and floral taste of black currant and our honey base to make a simple, refreshing mead that you can drink all night.

Sgt. Pepper’s Chipotle Cyser

This mead is definitely hot. And it’s been a hot seller thus far. For this, we took one of our most popular drinks – X.R. Cyser – and gave it a spicy taste. We added chipotle pepper to it and now it’s an apple pie with a definite kick. There’s no better way to warm up on a cold winter’s eve than with this blast of flavor. We have a very limited run available – so you’ll need to get down to the tasting room quickly to try this one out.

Our 2012 Syrah :: Wine Wednesday

Our 2012 Syrah :: Wine Wednesday


Winter is a time for hearty meals. Comfort foods take center stage at family gatherings and keep us nice and cozy on snowy, cold nights. When you’ve got a big and beefy dinner in the oven, which bottle of wine do you reach for? Well, you might consider our 2012 Syrah. A staff favorite, Syrah has a bold taste that’s strong enough to stand up to the heartiest of dinners without overpowering your food. Famously good with lamb, sausages, and other meats, Syrah is a red wine that can fit in with almost any menu you’ll encounter this holiday season.

What is Syrah?

Syrah is a dark, dry red wine – one of the darkest you’ll find – with a big, full-bodied taste. New World Syrah, such as those grown here in the US, have a more fruit-forward taste and spice than their Old World counterparts.

Our Syrah features a bold blackberry taste, with hints of black pepper and eucalyptus characteristics. The excellent acid balance in our 2012 Syrah makes it a great food pairing wine.

Made from Lake Michigan Shore grapes, our Syrah has had a successful run on the competition circuit. That includes a 2014 Silver Medal in the Taster’s Guild competition, a Silver Medal in the 2014 Michigan Wine Competition, and a Silver in the 2015 and 2016 Finger Lakes competition.

Syrah Pairings

Syrah is bold, and it likes bold company. We’ve selected a few recipes here that will keep you warm this winter and go great with a bottle of Syrah:

Beef Bourguignon

Boilermaker Tailgate Chili

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction



We hope you enjoyed this short intro to Syrah. All you need to do is take one look at our Employee Bottle sheet to know that it’s a good one – it heads home with folks every single month. Come down to the tasting room to give it a try in person!

December at St. Ambrose Cellars

December at St. Ambrose Cellars

This Month at St. Ambrose

It’s December! With the snow slowly coming around and the holidays fast approaching, we know that you’re in need of some fun, some relaxation, and some warmth. This month at St. Ambrose Cellars, we’ve got a jam packed schedule of events in the tasting room. Here’s your handy one-stop look at everything that we’ve got coming up in the next few weeks. Stop out after your shopping, or spend a snowy evening with some wine and mead, and come say hi!

Women’s Wellness

Our popular women’s wellness events continue this month, with two special Wednesday night events.

Crafts/Show – Dec. 7th

The Queen Bee herself Sharon Jones brings her beeswax candle-making supplies to the tasting room on Wednesday for a workshop. Reserve your spot before Wednesday! It’s just $25 and all you need to bring is your good attitude and good spirits.

That same night, for free, we’ll be holding an artisan trunk show and LuLa Roe clothing popup shop. The trunk show features three of our very favorite people – the Soul Sisters Intuitive HeART collective of Jenn Ryan, Randi Stoltz, and Christina Ryan-Stoltz. It’s going to be a great time!

Wine Cork Crafts – Dec. 14th

Crystal hosts a workshop where you’ll learn how to make some awesome wine cork crafts. You can see more in the link. For $25, you’ll get materials, instruction, and take home your crafts. Make some ornaments or stocking stuffers for the big day!


We have another awesome lineup of bands this month. Barefoot, featuring some of our Sleeping Bear Farms friends, will rock the house on December 9th. The Feral Cats bring their foot stomping tunes in on Saturday, December 10th. Alfredo – always a great time – returns for Friday the 16th.

That Saturday, the 17th, Jen Sygit will regale you with a magical holiday soiree sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Then, on the 23rd and 24th, DeDe Alder will bring her holiday tunes to the tasting room for some sing-a-longs and general good vibes. Her Friday show will be at the normal 6PM time, but the Christmas Eve show will be a special afternoon start time, with DeDe taking the stage at 2PM.

Barefoot – December 9th

Feral Cats – December 10th

Alfredo – December 16th

Jen Sygit – December 17th

DeDe –  December 23 and December 24th

Gaje Turja – December 30th

Thirsty Thursday/Open Mic

Open Mic is back for the winter! Come join us, sing some tunes, and share some laughs on Thursday nights this winter. This month, we’ll have open mic on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. The open mic starts around 6PM, but Thirsty Thursday runs all day!

New Tasting Room Discounts

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve got new discounts on your wine purchases in the tasting room. As always, you’ll get 20% off when you purchase a case (12) of our products. But now, you’ll also get 10% off when you purchase a half case (6).

Thanksgiving Music at St. Ambrose

Thanksgiving Music at St. Ambrose

Celebrate the weekend with a great lineup of music this week at St. Ambrose Cellars! We’ve got shows on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday this week. Kick off the holiday with the musical stylings of Soul Patch, starting at 6PM – then take a load off after your Black Friday shopping with the always wonderful DeDe Alder, again starting at 6PM! And finally, Maggie McCabe comes out to St. Ambrose for the first time. All these events are – as usual – no cover and you’ll be able to enjoy our mead, wine, and food specials.

dedealder maggiemcabbe soul-patch-november

St. Ambrose Thanksgiving Survival Tips

It’s Thanksgiving season! You know what that means – food, family, and fun. And yeah, plenty of associated travel, stress, and potentially awkward situations. The holidays are stuffed full of the good, the bad, the awkward, and the ugly. We’re going to give you four ways that St. Ambrose Cellars can you help you survive unscathed.

Exercise Your Right


Uncle Joe has some strong opinions on recent events. Your cousins in college have been doing a lot of reading. And there’s always a nosy relative asking everyone questions a bit too personal. What’s the solution?

We, of course, want you to exercise your rights to free speech – but in a crowded space with lots of sharp kitchen utensils, you might want to exercise your right to refreshment instead. While everyone waits for the turkey, plop down a few of our XR Cyser bottles and change the topic of conversation yourself. “Apple Pie in a Bottle” is sure to get people talking about something a little less contentious.

Blend In


Ok, so maybe that didn’t work. Or maybe food is taking a lot longer than anticipated. Need to get away? The Real Tree AP Camo St. Ambrose long-sleeve will buy you the time you need. If the house doesn’t have a forest foliage themed wallpaper scheme, you can always run into the backyard. Nobody will notice, and you’ll get some needed alone time!

Show Your Red, White, and Blue Pride


The key to a peaceful dinner? Having a drink for everyone. We’ve got you covered, and you can show your patriotism.

For the red, we’ve got our 2013 Pinot Noir. Easy drinking Pinot goes great with the wide variety of big flavors you’re going to encounter on the Thanksgiving buffet table.

For the white, you’ve got 2011 Riesling Reserve. This classic from our cellar is running out and you’re going to want some of this before it’s gone! The refreshing taste of Riesling helps you get ready to mow down another turkey leg or six without overpowering the food.

For the blue, how about bringing in the Star Thistle? This traditional mead is unique and will be a new addition to many of your friends palettes. Star Thistle Mead is a semi-dry mead in the traditional style– simply fermented honey and water. It is a perfect entry point to the world of still mead and features a rich honey flavor with a crisp, dry finish.

Sweeten the Deal


Ok, let’s lay off the booze for a minute. How about adding some sweet, sweet, honey to your Thanksgiving meal? You could try this glazed shallot recipe, which features XR Cyser, for something different. Or you could some cinnamon raw honey, or the classic Tupelo, to pretty much anything on the table.

Close Strong


Finish the night strong with one of our dessert wine or dessert mead options. 2011 Forte is a red port-style wine that goes great with your favorite cigar, cheese, chocolate, or other after-dinner refreshment of choice, if you catch my drift. On the other side of the aisle, we’ve got the incomparable Royal Reserve.

Royal Reserve is aged in bourbon barrels for almost two years. As Noel says on the website, it is “The Nectar of the Gods!”.


There you go – a surefire survival guide to your Thanksgiving. And plenty of advertisements.

The Mysterious Black Madonna

The Mysterious Black Madonna

Invoke the Goddess of Divine Blackberry Mead. Make the pilgrimage to the halls of St. Ambrose and experience the wonders of the Black Madonna. This one-of-a-kind sour blackberry mead will tantalize the taste buds and serenade the senses.

Black Madonna sour mead is a “session” mead in a draft style. While still-mead is in the 12% or higher ABV range, this easy drinking draft is 6.9% ABV – like a slightly strong beer.

Sour mead is mead co-fermented with yeast and friendly pro-biotics, creating a very pleasant naturally fruity mead that we make in the draft carbonated version.

It is very similar to the sour beer that is an old tradition in parts of Europe and is becoming more and more popular in the contemporary beer world. Razz and Wild Ginger also feature this unique sour fermentation technique – and there are more on the way.

What is Black Madonna?

Historically, “Black Madonna” refers to statues or paintings (usually of medieval origin) featuring the Virgin Mary with dark or black features. These works are mostly wooden, but some are stone and painted. There are approximately 500 Black Madonna works in Europe, mostly in traditionally Catholic countries.

There is no one explanation for these Black Madonna works. Some appear to be designed to reflect the local population, others have turned black over the years due to the materials used in their creation, and others simply do not fall into either category.

Black Madonna Mixes

Black Madonna is one of our most popular meads to mix. For an especially delightful day, try a 50/50 mix with John Lemon – it’s wild!


Weekend Notes June 17th

Weekend Notes June 17th

FIELD NOTES 6.17-6.20

It’s Father’s Day weekend! It’s also a double-shot music packed weekend at the Cellars, and it’s looking to be beautiful in the Northern Michigan area after lots of rain early in the week. Get out, hit the links, fill a growler, catch a show, do some paddling – it’s the reason we live here.

Alfredo Improvisational Quartet


Alfredo takes the stage twice this weekend at St. Ambrose Cellars. On Friday night, they’ll play their traditional 6PM slot here in the tasting room. On Saturday night, again at 6PM, there are rumors of a barn show! Will this come true? There’s only way to find out. Be here – no cover, lots of drinks, and perhaps some of the food special will still be available!


Weekend Food Special

Crystal has once again cooked up something special for the weekend food special. Let’s let her tell us all about it:

We’re keeping it simple for a warm summer weekend – a honey (star thistle from Sleeping Bear Farms), apricot and almond goat cheese spread, served with grilled toast points  which will be made on our panini grill.

This will pair well with John Lemon – the citrus will contrast and break up the creaminess of the cheese and the sweetness of the apricot. Also good will be Late Harvest Vignoles…the sweetness of the honey and apricot will blend nicely without being so sweet it overpowers the wine. Star Thistle mead will naturally compliment the honey and also the almonds for a nice highlight of flavors. I also think the Wild Ginger, 14 Riesling Reserve, Vin Gris and Pinot Noir would make interesting pairs.

Father’s Day

On Father’s Day, stop by St. Ambrose and try our new Sangria Sunday. Featuring our delicious Marsanne Viognier, this Sangria is available all day Sunday and you can take the recipe home with you as well! Grab a bottle and make your own additions.

LuLaRoe Returns

The ever-popular LuLaRoe show returns to St. Ambrose on Monday evening – you can find more details at the Facebook event.

Field Notes – 6.10-6.12 Edition

Field Notes – 6.10-6.12 Edition

It’s time for another beautiful weekend in Northern Michigan as summer really starts to roll! Schools are wrapping up, the temperature is back on the rise after a bit of a dip, and St. Ambrose Cellars has weekend entertainment for the whole family.


Davey O. Friday Night

Davey O. graces the tasting room on Friday night. His Americana stylings are going to bring a new element to the scene here and we are super excited to have him. You can learn a bit more about him and view some of his clips in a post from earlier this week.

Weekend Food

Food Specials

Crystal is going to bring the deliciousness to the tasting room on Friday night and Saturday with a panini special! Get all the details here. Stop by for lunch and enjoy a sandwich and mead out on the beautiful patio, where you can play with one of the bag toss games made with boxes from our friends at Grow Benzie and Sleeping Bear Farms. If you really like them, take one home from the tasting room – all the proceeds go to help with the Hivemined program you can learn about here.


Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival

Come out and meet n’ greet some of the St. Ambrose team this weekend in Mt. Pleasant! Smiling faces will be waiting to pour you a draft mead from our new shiny setup at the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festivals. More details on this event are available here and we hope to see you there if you are in the area!


free fishing weekend_summer

Free Fishing Weekend

Everyone – residents and nonresidents – can fish Michigan waters this weekend without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Michigan has offered the free fishing weekend annually since 1986 as an easy, affordable way to showcase the state’s vast water resources. Stop in before or after you hit the water!

And Have Fun!

Make sure to have a great time, whatever you end up doing! We’ll be here waiting with our family friendly Michigan meadery and winery to entertain you!


Weekend Paninis

Weekend Paninis

Food specials return this weekend at the tasting room! We’re going to have some delicious panini options for you, courtesy of kitchen wiz Crystal! Let’s let her explain what we’ve got cookin’:

The Panini

The panini will be on Crescent Bakery peasant bread. It’s going to be a grilled vegetable panini with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and a roasted red pepper mayo. The vegetables will be lightly glazed with star thistle honey during the grilling process and will include carrots, zucchini and eggplant.

Red Wine Pairing:

This panini should pair well with a lot of our products. Most reds will pair well with this but I think the Cottage Red would be a really good pair…roasted vegetables tend to compliment the flavors of red wines. I think this combination will bring out more of what the Cottage Red has to offer for flavors and balance on the palate well.

White Wine Pairing:

I would also pair this with the Chardonnay. The crispness of the wine will contrast the earthiness of the vegetables, thus creating a sensation on the palate when all the contrasts his every area of the tongue for a unique ride of flavors.

Mead Pairings:

All the drafts will likely pair well but I feel the Wild Ginger will be an especially good pair….ginger, being a root, is practically family to the vegetables and therefore works together on the palate in a pleasing manner – plus the ginger is a great flavor used in cooking and by drinking the ginger draft, it adds that component without actually putting it in the panini.
The Star Thistle mead would be nice along side this panini, too. It will help to bring out the light glaze of honey on the panini vegetables while keeping it balanced and not letting the honey overpower the other flavors.
There you have it! The sandwiches will be available Friday and Saturday night – and will make a great light dinner to enjoy while watching Davey O. perform in the tasting room from 6-9pm on Friday!
Americana Comes to St. Ambrose

Americana Comes to St. Ambrose

The “pretense-free Americana” of Davey O., a Buffalo, NY native, comes to St. Ambrose Cellars this Friday for an exciting live music event. Davey’s bio tells the story:

“It’s no surprise that Buffalo, NY born and bred songwriter Davey O. has been described by Buffalo News critic Jeff Miers as having “a journalist’s eye for detail and poet’s ear for the well-turned observation”.  Embarking on a decade-plus journey that has resulted in a collection of justly-earned, highly introspective songs, Davey crafts pure Americana that is not of the social and political consciousness, but drawn from the deep well of experience and human emotion – no hackneyed story lines, no insincere polish, just an unflinching poet’s look at life. The characters woven seamlessly into stories of which the song itself becomes the soundtrack for the movie playing inside the listener’s head.

Armed with a steady, rhythmic pulse on his Gibson guitar, a battered straw cowboy hat and a no apologies rust-belt work ethic, Davey puts rubber to asphalt, entertaining attentive, diverse audiences at listening rooms, coffeehouses, nightclubs, festivals, colleges and universities throughout the Northeast, Midwest, Midsouth and Atlantic U.S. – performances that result in engagement and communion between performer and audience through story and song.”

Davey O. has appeared all over the country and we’re super excited to bring him to the tasting room. Below you’ll find some samples of his work:


Visit Davey’s official website to learn more about this exciting artist.

Tupelo at Speakeasy

Tupelo at Speakeasy

Tupelo was a shy man. But he felt the burning need to express what lay inside his bottle. To spill his golden notes across the room and fill every cup with his love. He anxiously awaited his turn at the microphone. After his wife left him, he had been needing to let loose with his art a bit. Just needed someone to listen. Listen without judging. Jenni called him to the front – he ambled across the room. Being a bottle it was difficult. But he made it.

"Buttery smooth honey floating tunes
 Through the skies bees zoom
 pollen! oh pollen!
 all abounds
 to tanks and bottles and bears
 and me
 to the big steel tanks in great ranks
 marching to mead
 mead to be
 a need to mead
 mead needs
 i mead to need to be
 a mead i be
 the tupelo

The crowd clapped politely. Tupelo exhaled. He felt better. It was time for the next act, and he had survived.

Join us for Open Mic tomorrow night – sign up at 5pm! We’ll be here with Jenni ’til 8pm! Will Tupelo Mead make his return? We shall see.

Food Plates at St. Ambrose

Food Plates at St. Ambrose


Next time you’re at St. Ambrose, we encourage you to try one of our three food plates. We offer a small, a medium, and a large option to fill your stomach up while you’re enjoying our meads.

A Little Something


Includes Sleeping Bear Farms honey mustard, homemade jerky dip, pretzels, and gluten-free crackers for dipping.

A Little Something More


Includes two types of local meats and cheese, along with marinated asparagus, garlic stuffed olives, dilled beets, and gluten-free crackers.

A Whole Lotta Something


Includes a variety of local meats and cheeses, marinated asparagus, garlic stuffed olives, homemade jerky dip, dilled beets, brie wedges drizzled with a homemade blackberry honey topping, dilled sweet relishes, and gluten-free crackers.


As you may now, we’ve been having specials on Friday nights as well. The specials will be returning next week – with some new surprises for you all! Stay tuned all summer for some exciting food developments.


Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights


Have you been to Speakeasy, the Open Mic night series hosted by Jenni Rae? If not … what are you waiting for? Here’s a sample of some of the entertainment that you can expect:

With local music scene all-stars like Jenni, Al, our own Nathon Lane and Kirk Jones, and who knows who else stopping by, you can’t afford to miss it! It’s a no-pressure way to enjoy some mead and wine, grab a food plate, and jam with some truly talented folks. The more the merrier!

We start every Tuesday at 5PM. Clear your schedule and come out next week to join the fun.

Ultimate Frisbee Fridays

Ultimate Frisbee Fridays



Starting this Friday, June 3rd, St. Ambrose Cellars will host – in addition to our weekly music series – games of Ultimate Frisbee on the lawn. One of our brilliant beverage makers, Scott, will be hosting the fun out front. This is a great way to spend a summer evening and get a bit of exercise. All are welcome to join. Curious about ultimate frisbee? Here’s a rundown on the rules:

The Field

Ultimate is played on a rectangular field, with endzones at each end – similar to a football field. Regulation fields are 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, with a 25 yard deep endzone.


A point beings with each team lining up on the front of their end zone line. The defense throws the disc to the offense (like a kickoff). Each team should have 7 players.


Each time the offense completes a pass into the other team’s endzone, the offense gets a point


The disc can be thrown in any direction to a teammate. PLayers cannot run with the disc. The person with the disc has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower is responsible for counting to 10.

Change of Possession

When a pass is not completed (out of bounds, dropped, blocked, interception) the defense takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.


Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score or during an injury time out.


No physical contact, picks, or screens are allowed. When contact occurs, a foul is called.


When a player initiates contact, a foul occurs. If a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the call, the play is redone.


Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls.

Spirit of the Game

Ultimate is about sportsmanship and fair play. Be competitive, but never at the expense of respect, the rules, and basic joy of play.


There you have it. Basically – be cool. And if you’re confused, don’t worry! We’ll help you out. See you Friday!

Field Notes – Memorial Day Weekend

Field Notes – Memorial Day Weekend

FIELD NOTESMEMORIAL DAYMemorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it, the unofficial beginning of summer. We’ve got plenty going on for the extended weekend, so let’s cut to the chase!


Memorial Day Hours

First order of business – we’re going to be rocking some extended hours over the weekend. As seen above, we’ll be open late and on Memorial Day to serve all your meads.


New Frisbees!

If you like flying discs, we have got a treat for you! These beauties are available now in the tasting room. We have a Pulsar disc (ideal for Ultimate Frisbee) and an Innova Roc disc to add to your disc golf collection. These come in a crazy variety of colors and we only have a limited supply for this first run – so you better come down and grab one quick.


Alfredo Improvisational Quartet Returns

The prodigal sons return for another Friday night special in the tasting room. Fresh off their roaring set at the John Lemon release party and the release of their new CD, Alfredo will be in the tasting room from 6-9 PM once again. Refresh yourself on the history of the band with our post from last month!


Crystal Mountain Beer n’ Brat Festival

St. Ambrose returns to the always enjoyable Crystal Mountain Beer n’ Brat event on Saturday. Enjoy a beautiful day and chow down with some of your favorite brewers. We will be there all day to serve your beautiful faces. More information available here.


Non-Alcoholic “Sasparilla”

Did you know we have a non-alcoholic option on our taps? For all your DD’s and people who just plain love root beer, we’ve got this tasty option available every day.


New Shirts

The tasting room mavens have cooked up some great new merch designs lately. Time to refresh your St. Ambrose gear with one of the fashionable shirts seen above. We’ve got plenty, stop by the tasting room this weekend and try some out.



St. Ambrose In Your ‘Hood

St. Ambrose In Your ‘Hood

We’re in a period of exciting growth here at St. Ambrose Cellars. It seems like every day we see a new location with our mead pop up on Untappd or leave a comment somewhere on the web. It really makes our head spin to think about how far our humble beverages have spread.

Around the Grand Traverse Bay area we have recently added some new locations to the lineup. We wanted to take just a few moments to let you know about these great places!

The Coho


320 Main St, Frankfort, MI 49635

Located in the heart of downtown Frankfort, The Coho Cafe is back just in time for summer and offering up the St. Ambrose juice along with their own classics. Check out their website for a sampling of the deliciousness that awaits you.

Villa Marine Bar


228 Main St, Frankfort, MI 49635

Right down the street in Frankfort, we’ve got the Villa Marine Bar which has added a selection of our draft meads to their roster. If you’re looking for a relaxing spot to have a drink or three in Frankfort, Villa Marine has got your back. We’re happy to add them to the lineup and they’d love to see your smiling faces.


What about meeeee?

If you’re looking for St. Ambrose and you don’t happen to be in Frankfort, you are still in luck. We’ve got a handy store locator right here that features over 200 Michigan locations that carry our products. You can sort it by which of our lines they carry. This list includes both party stores and restaurants/bars. And if you can’t find something close to you, just ask your local establishments! We work with a statewide distributor that your local store owners can work with to get our products. If you aren’t in Michigan, we also list all of our products for sale via the web in our store.

Happy hunting!


Meet the President

Meet the President

Our own Bill Ward was recently elected the president of our neighboring village, Honor, Michigan. We’re pretty proud of our team here at St Ambrose and Sleeping Bear Farms. We have so many passionate, intelligent & community minded folks on our roster. We’ve got high school sports coaches, community theater actresses, volunteers, festival organizers, after school specialists, teachers, advance degree holders, musicians, master gardeners, and of course bee whisperers. But Bill is our first president.

Bill moved here two years ago from St Clair Shores, Michigan, after retiring from special education, specifically, working with autistic individuals. He joined our ranks and that determination to make an impact keeps shining out from him. We see you Bill! In his ‘spare time’ he tries to “garden & fish as much as possible”.


The village of Honor elected him in a nearly unanimous victory, after a shake up with the previous leadership. Ever humble and ready to get his boots dirty, Bill is looking forward to moving forward to helping restore the village legacy that is small but mighty. Around here Bill is known for helping where he’s needed. Sometimes that means he’s on the road making deliveries and other times it means he’s helping out in production. Wherever we find him, his positive attitude and gracious smile brighten up our days. So thank you Mr. President, and congratulations. If your reputation here is any indication, you are sure to be an inimitable asset to your village and the greater community.

Field Notes  –  5.19-5.22 Edition

Field Notes – 5.19-5.22 Edition

THIS WEEKENDBetsie Bay Furniture

Thursday – 5.19

You’ll find our wine at Betsie Bay Furniture’s 3rd Thursday Benefit Night. This benefit for Benzie Beds for Kids & DUNE GRASS SOCIETY helps our local Benzie County children with beds, bedding & more! It will also feature an act we’ve had here at the tasting room twice this winter – Saldaje. It’ll be a great time!

Empire Asparagus Festival

Friday and Saturday 5.20 & 5.21

Summer in the north means festivals, and festival season kicks off this weekend with a perennial favorite – the Empire Asparagus Festival. Featuring the world famous Asparagus Parade, a beverage tent, amazing food, and the music of K. Jones and The Benzie Playboys, this is sure to be a fantastic time. Of course, St. Ambrose Cellars will be pouring the mead you crave at the tent on both Friday and Saturday night. You can check the full schedule of events here.

Deadlight Holiday & Friday Night Flights

Friday 5.20

Deadlight Holiday returns to the tasting room on Friday night. You can learn more about the band in our post from earlier this week.

In addition to the music, we’ll continue our Friday Night Flight series. It’ll be so much easier to let Crystal, our kitchen magician in charge of this delight, to explain what we’ll be offering this week:

“We will have a half an Italian panini (cut into two smaller triangles – so that two people can share if desired) with some root vegetable chips. The half panini will be on crescent bakery bread with the same pepperoni sausage that goes on our usual food plates, along with ham, salami and provolone cheese and just a little Italian dressing.”

Sounds amazing, eh? For the flight special, we’ll be pairing with Secret Beach, ’13 Riesling Reserve, Clockwork Orange and XR Cyser.

Why these four? Let’s go back to Crystal:

“The fruitiness and sweetness of the Secret Beach will make a complimenting contrast to the slight spiciness of the panini. The flavors will balance on the palate without either one overtaking the other. You can pick up some of the different fruit flavors as they mingle with the contrasting flavors of the meats. Very nice pairing.

’13 Riesling Reserve because a Riesling is a great pair with foods like this. As with the Secret Beach, the sweetness creates an blend on the tongue that is just plain nice. Neither the food or the wine takes the lead here…they dance on the tongue in an equal balance.

The tiny mellow flavored bubbles of the Clockwork Orange break up the heaviness of the bread and allow the panini flavors to come forward but yet they don’t get lost either…you can still taste the light flavors of the mead. These balance well, but in a different way than the wines…it’s not something easy to explain but enjoyable to taste.

XR Cyser … as if we needed another reason to love it?!? The apple actually really meshes with the Italian flavors. I didn’t really expect it and just tried it on a whim but this pair has a lot going for it. The tiny bubbles really do add a new dimension to the palate…kind of like how a lot of people just love a soda or beer with pizza…the carbonation just pairs well on tongue with the other textures. It’s also amazing that you can pick up the cinnamon and apple but still get all the spice of the meats…and they all work. The sweetness, as with the other pairs, works well with the panini flavors in an opposites attract kind of way.”

Well thank you Crystal!

LuLaRoe at St. Ambrose Cellars

Sunday 5.22


This Sunday in the tasting room and out on the porch, St Ambrose will be hosting our second Lula Roe party for our cherished customers!

Lula Roe, a pop up boutique of women & girl’s clothing, was quite a hit back in March for our Women’s Wellness Wednesday series. The consultants TOOK OVER the tasting room with their extensive stock of fashionable apparel. The great thing about Lula Roe is that you take home your order as you shop!

Each party features new designs of dresses, skirts, shirts and have you heard about their leggings? The softest material we’ve ever worn, with solid colors across the rainbow as well as fun & funky designs.

For May’s Lula Roe you’ll be able to shop for the upcoming summer weather, that IS COMING, we can feel it here on the property! The birds and blossoms are primed for a fun day of shopping and of course our delicious wines, meads and food pairings. 

We will also have available some brunch offerings to sustain you as you shop til you drop! Chef Crystal will prepare small plates of beautiful fresh fruit salad, bagel chips and a creamy honey and cheese “schmear”. And how about Mimosas made with our tantalizing Secret Beach and white sangria made from our Marsanne Viogner?

Sunday sounds like a great Girls Day, so grab your sisters and your sistas and join us from 12-3 Sunday May 22 at St Ambrose Cellars, 841 S Pioneer Road in Beatific Beulah Michigan!

More information on this event is available here.



Alright Then

Wheeeeeeeeeew. Busy weekend. It’s looking like sun, 70s, and early summer beauty will be abundant. We also recommend stopping out during the day so that you can catch the bees hard at work on the tree blossoms in front of the tasting room!


Get to Know Deadlight Holiday

Get to Know Deadlight Holiday


Deadlight Holiday returns to St. Ambrose Cellars this Friday – as a trio – for their second show in the tasting room. Departing from their usual routine a bit, they will play some new songs in the more intimate environment and you’ll have a chance to get to know the band a bit.

Here’s what they have to say about their history and philosophy, in their own words:

The five of us were friends before we were a band, and some of the people knew each other since childhood. Like most bands, ours began in a basement. At the time it was it was just me, my jaguar, and a pedal board with a plethora of sound. I was writing new material of my own that was very different than what I had previously been writing in the years before. Shane, the lead singer of my other band overheard some of the songs I was playing, and wanted to be apart of it. Fast forward a month, we found ourselves recording more and more material. We knew we wanted female vocals over the song, but we didn’t know any vocalist in the area. However, we had a friend named Kallie, who we knew sang, but she never considered herself a ‘singer’. We invited her over to record a song called “Watching the Sun” and right from the get-go it clicked. We were laughing, having fun, and in the midst of it recording our first song as band. 

Initially we didn’t have a drummer and were using an iPad 2 as a Drum Machine at our Live shows. Our friend Christian came back to Michigan shortly after our first couple of shows, and on the same day of his return, he played his first show with us at the Sawmill in Big Rapids. He had probably an hour of preparation before the show, and I don’t think he missed a beat. Having his drum style added to the band, our sound changed: Shane’s bass lines had more of a groove, my guitar playing got heavier, and Kallie got louder. This evolution added to our shoe-gazing style in a way that none of us could have imagined. We became more confident, solid, and legitimized into a band. 

From the beginning, we are all geeks, who love star wars, dungeons and dragons, video games, and movies. We all listen to everything from Enya to Slayer, and we hope that our music reflects that. We bring what we can on stage, whether its R2D2, Yoda, laser guns, space gear, neon paint, glow in the dark gear, or even just odd shirts. To us, people come out to be entertained. If we can entertain the audience both audibly and visually, we can leave the venue smiling. 

We began on New Years Eve of 2014, and in just a very short span of time, we have played at the Ritz, Diesel Concert Lounge, the Intersection, Pyramid Scheme, and Sawmill. Our fan base has grown so quickly, and we keep seeing more and more people show up with our T-shirts at our shows. We can’t express how thankful we are for everyone who supports us. 

Currently we are in the process of independently recording our Debut Album, and getting our supporting Fall Tour together across the Great Lake States (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin).

The All Music Guide to Electronica defines dream pop as “an atmospheric subgenre of alternative rock that relies on sonic textures as much as melody”. Common characteristics are breathy vocals and use of guitar effects, often producing a “wall of noise”.The term is often used, particularly in the United States, to describe bands who were part of the ‘shoegazing’ scene, and shoegazing is sometimes seen as a part of dream pop. The term is thought to relate to the “immersion” in the music experienced by the listener. In the view of Reynolds, dream pop “celebrates rapturous and transcendent experiences, often using druggy and mystical imagery”. Dream pop tends to focus on textures and moods rather than propulsive rock riffs. 

Vocals are generally breathy or sung in a near-whisper, and lyrics are often introspective or existential in nature. Reynolds is generally credited as being the first critic to use the term “dream pop” to describe a genre of music, describing the sound as neo-psychedelic and noting the influence of ethereal bands such as Cocteau Twins.  

PopMatters also noted an evolutionary line from gothic rock to dream pop, while AllMusic stated that the ambient pop subgenre was “essentially an extension of the dream pop that emerged in the wake of the shoegazer movement”. In 1970, George Harrisonreleased All Things Must Pass; the album’s Wall of Sound and fluid arrangements led music journalist John Bergstrom to credit it as an influence on dream pop. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)

Tonight at St Ambrose Cellars, we’ll excited to host a local dream pop band for your musical exploration. Dead Light Holiday, comes to us from Traverse City and boasts an interplay musical textures layered in to create a feeling of youth and the possibilities associated with being young. “None of our songs are preaching or trying to force an opinion on you, we leave it in the abstract. I think the Dream pop genre as a whole allows the listener to speculate and come to their own conclusions more so than most other genres.”, says guitarist Kyle Panek.

While they like to keep the compositions “pretty basic so it’s listenable to the viewer”, each of them “add a wall of sound to the mixture.” Kyle will write something and have a song going, then Shane will add a contrasting bass line to it, then Kallie, lead singer, will write something completely different over that. Jordan, tends to add rhythmic elements to the songs that add suspense. Christian, drummer, has a good ear for timing and he will alternate from being a drummer to being a percussionist at times depending on the mood. They believe they never really hit a dull point due to each adding to the overall vision.

Stop in for a glass and stay for the show! Tonight 6-9pm. And don’t forget about Friday Night Flights! This weeks chefs choice was inspired by the boss man’s hankering for an authentic Italian panini. Nosh on half an Italian panini (cut into two smaller triangles so you can share if you’re feeling generous!) served on Frankfort’s own Crescent Bakery bread with pepperoni, ham, salami and provolone cheese & just a little Italian dressing, alongside some savory root vegetable chips. The flight tonight will feature our delicious Secret Beach, ’13 Riesling Reserve, Clockwork Orange and XR Cyser, each bringing out a unique aspect of the flavors of this delectable little sammy. Bon Apetit!




I am a strong bird

I am a strong bird

I am a strong bird.


It has been cold. The wind rattles our nest. This meadery seems to be busy. People come and go and gawk. The egg is cold. The twigs are fragile. The people come. The night is cold.

But I am a strong bird.

In hindsight, I may have picked a more protected area. Above a porch that does not have so much traffic or in a place where the wind was less harsh. I may have built my home in that barn I see sometimes or in the trees behind this building. Hindsight, however, is behind me. I must focus on the future. And I am a strong bird.


I wonder if my egg will be strong. I hope that it will be. It will soar among the those trees and pick worms from the dusty lot near its birthplace and perhaps it will build a nest someday, perhaps in the barn that looks so warm compared to here. I hope it will be a strong bird.

It is open mic night, and the people are arriving. They will point their odd little black boxes at me and snap the lights in my eyes and I will stare, braced against the coming cold of the evening, and warm my egg. Because I am a strong bird.

Who would like a glass of mead.

A Lemon A Day

A Lemon A Day

It was a steamy morning in the Indus Valley, and the humble farmer surveyed his new tree while whiping sweat from his brow. It had borne him a yellow fruit, similar to the citron he knew, but it was just a bit different. He bit the new fruit. And he regretted it. The lemon had entered this world, and begun a journey of many millenia.

Fast-forward to 2016, and St. Ambrose Cellars. The lemon has reached perfection. There can be none more lemon. John Lemon, a mix of fermented honey and lemon flavor, has arrived to taps for the summer season.

The Lemon

Our creation story of the lemon may not be 100% accurate, but the history of the lemon is thought to have begun somewhere in the general area many thousands of years ago. Thought to be a derivative of the bitter orange and the citron, lemons have spread across the globe thanks to their versatility and many uses. The lemon has been used a source of citric acid for cleaning supplies, to marinade fish, to help prevent scurvy, and to launch a million small-business owners into their entrepreneurial careers.

In addition to being absolutely delicious, the lemon has health benefits – making John Lemon a healthy addition to any diet. As alluded to, lemons have been used to help treat scurvy because of their high Vitamin C content. They also contain high amounts of citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.

The porch at St. Ambrose Meadery

The porch at St. Ambrose Meadery

We aren’t doctors. And this isn’t medical advice. But it sure seems like a John Lemon a day might help you keep the doctor at bay. You’ll enjoy the process either way.

Pick up your John Lemon at stores that carry our draft meads (locator here), in the tasting room, or online. It’s only around for the summer, so be quick!

John Lemon is Back

John Lemon is Back

Here comes the sun…

The bees are buzzin in our fields and you can be too, this Friday, as our old friend John Lemon returns to our taps this weekend.
As draft meads go in the tasting room, this one seems to have a cult-like following, not unlike it’s namesake. We have been awaiting its return for many moons and couldn’t be happier to re-release it on the same day our “house band”, Alfredo, hopes to have its cd release party, as part of our Friday Night Music Series. While its up to the goddess of fed ex to deliver their goods on time, our Mazers promise to have loads of our lavish lemon flowing all day long.
Join us starting at noon for an all day happy hour, where glasses of all our draft meads will be half off to celebrate the return of the “prodigal sun”…. Just in time for Beltane, the halfway mark between vernal equinox and summer solstice! And join us for the cream on top, Alfredo Improvisational Quartet, from 6-9, with those happy hour specials continuing on into the evening.
As always, drink responsibly, soak it all up with one of our delicious food pairings and bring your DD– we’ve got Sassy Sarsaparilla– a non-alcoholic Honey and Chaga beverage, on tap, for them, too!
Alfredo Improv: An Oral History

Alfredo Improv: An Oral History

When this adventure into writing began, I decided to interview our musicians with burning questions I always have for anyone with the guts to hop on stage and be vulnerable, inspired and talented simultaneously. Honestly, I worried I might have bit off more than I could chew. What do I know about music? Sometimes it gives me goosebumps, and other times it makes me wanna shake around inside my boots. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the company of true music lovers and incredible music makers, and all I know is they fascinate me. I wanted to tell their stories. I shouldn’t have worried too much about how to sound like I know what I’m writing about. These cats, every one of them, have such rich material within, that all I have to do is sit back and wait for them to tell it.

As I suspected, the guys that became our “house band” this year, Alfredo Improvisational Quartet, tell their story better than I ever could. Their playful anecdotes riff on each other like buddies together over a campfire. Yet there is also a compelling seeker’s journey happening for each of them. Their music allows us to bear witness to this journey. Their music sparks an awareness and energy which conjures the explorations of a beatnik stirred into the same pot as a shaman, John Muir on an expedition, and your Appalachian uncle brother!

It’s easy to listen to their music and feel the good time they’re having, because it is right there in your face. But good music, like theirs, does more; it takes you somewhere else. Even if you’ve heard them before, I challenge you to catch them this Friday night and see if you don’t catch their vibe.

Where did the name come from?

Fred: Al and I (Fred) were once kitchen slaves in the tourist kingdom. There was a lot of rap and other computer generated music blaring in that kitchen but whenever Al or I got a hold of the radio it was Phish and The Grateful Dead. That’s how the friendship began: maybe it was the music and maybe it was just the ponytails and Volvos we also had in common.


One day while making alfredo sauce, Al said to me, “Hey if we start a band we should call it ‘Al-Fred-O.’” Long story short, as they say. Al’s version of events is a bit different: “you know Fred…..the night we made love you said if we could have a child we would call him/her Alfredo.”

How do you make a living?

In this economy, it’s hard to call it a living. But, we are 3 highly skilled carpenters and a criminal defense attorney. Look at the haircuts and try to match the ‘do to ‘what they do!’

What are the ages you each discovered your talent, what was that moment like & how did you cultivate your talent?

Chris: Chris says he doesn’t remember when or how he started. He’s been playing since his teens. Long before he was old enough to drink. Which means he got laid way before the rest of us. Name any Jimi Hendrix tune and Chris can play the bass line. (It’s quite incredible).

Bill: Bill’s mom took him to see Buddy Rich when he was 7. His mom took him because she felt he had good rhythm. He got his first drum set shortly thereafter. He played in the school band from that point on. He wouldn’t join the marching band because he was also on the football team. He moved to St. Louis after graduating from High School and played in cover bands in that area. He moved back home and played locally before moving to Florida and gigging with bands in that area. Bill has been playing drums in bands since. In 1999-2000 he started singing as well. In late 2010 he began playing guitar. In 2011 Sub-Prime Blues Band—in which Bill sang and played drums—played in the International Blues Competition in Memphis, TN.

Al: Nuns used to smack my knuckles with a ruler when I would pound out sick rhythms on my desk in first grade. Drum circles at Dead shows and other groovy events throughout my life have contributed to my inspiration. Like, once in the Virgin Islands…a friend and I stumbled upon some folks, including a drum teacher and a couple of Rastas from Jamaica, in an old sugar mill playing drums on a full moon! A spiritual journey in a sweat lodge in my 20s, then 10 years later….I hung out with a bunch of dudes in the Mountains of WV. They played bluegrass on the front porch but were challenged in the timing department. I showed up with my djembe drum, and thus began my journey into playing hand drum with strings musicians. A short tour around WV bars with an incredible guitar player named Ken Kruger gave me a chance to express myself backing him with percussion.


Fred: I was high on acid at a Widespread Panic concert and I heard Jimmy Herring play a note that reached inside of me and held a piece of something inside so gently and yet so cosmically hopeful and fun that I decided “I want to be able to do that to people.” I wanted the notes I play—channeled from who knows where in the ether of it all—to give people that feeling. Anyone who has ever been to a Phish or Grateful Dead show knows the power of the guitar to take you on a journey. I have not been able to do it yet—probably never will—but that’s what I am aiming for.

I think we’d all agree that—with the exception of Bill’s soulful voice—it is not about talent. It is about loving good music, listening to good music, and trying to make something that comes close.

What attracts you to the type of music you perform?

Fred: The exploration and vitality of our improvisation combined with the joy of executing carefully composed difficult sections of music as a team.

Al: I love music! All kinds! But when I heard the Dead, and then jazz, and Phish, I fell in love with the sound of freedom….the improvised jams that no 3 min. song could match.

What is the most exciting thing you’ve gone through as a band?

Recently, we recorded our first album. That was a great experience. It is such a pleasure to hear each other in high quality and it offers an opportunity to appreciate one another’s playing in a way that’s impossible when playing live, because you are focused on listening to each other and not (expletive) up your own part. To just sit back and appreciate the chops of your band mates is fantastic.

The most exciting news thus far is that Bill’s original song “Boxcar of Gold” which deals with the shipwreck full of gold off the coast of Frankfort has been passed on to a crew that is diving and filming a pilot episode for the History Channel or A&E or something. Apparently the crew liked it and it is being passed up the ranks. It is a great validation of Bill’s incredible songwriting and singing.

Al: Being in our infancy….the thrill of fostering a musical child and watching it grow into something beautiful and amazing! Because we all love our children no matter how awesome or f—– up they are!

How do you keep things fresh musically, for yourselves?

Fred: It comes in waves. Most importantly for me is staying healthy emotionally and physically and paying attention to everything around me. Of course listening to good music. But you can’t compose music if you are too self-centered.



Al: We are right out of the ground. Can’t get much fresher…as of now anyways

Do you play for yourselves/each other or for the audience?

Fred: We play for the sake of the music. Everything and everyone falls into place after that. We play because it is fun and we love it. We have no expectations other than to enjoy ourselves. The fact that people are willing to listen—and even enjoy doing so—is just awesome. When we play live we do our best not to let them down and hope that they have fun and come back.

Bill: To paraphrase our friend Paul May: We play for free, but you gotta pay us to travel, set-up and break down.

Al: It’s a combination….I can get lost in my trip or get on the bus with the band…and back and forth. People getting off on our tunes is like throwing fire works on the camp fire!

What is it about an audience that helps you find your groove?

Fred: Having our sound dialed in from the get-go is probably the number one factor in determining how quickly we find our groove. If the sound is off everything is off. If the sound is solid, off we go.

As for audiences, we love them all and if they dance, then F— Yeah!

Al: They get drunk and will dance to anything!


But seriously….dancers always inspire. If I look up and see one guy tapping his foot it’s an inspiration!


What is the worst heckling you’ve ever had?

Fred: People have been pretty kind to us so far. Sometimes it’s the things people don’t say that hurts. (And of course if they did say something nice, you always wonder whether or not it was a load of s— and they just said it because it was the polite thing to say.) Politeness accounts for a lot of bad music in bars all over…

Al: None….everyone is way to polite around here….at least to our faces! If we lived in the city I would be in jail!

What makes you want to be a performer?

Fred, Bill, Chris: None of us want to be performers, we just want to play good music. It is all about the sound!

Al: Hot chicks!

Are you artists in other forms?

Al’s got all the skills. He is very creative and artful. Fred used to write short stories and boatloads of poetry but the guitar took over.

What is your favorite St. Ambrose beverage?

Al: Granny Smith

Fred: Granny Smith

Chris: Evil Twin


Speakeasy Open Mic

Speakeasy Open Mic

If you’ve always wanted to test out your singing chops in front of an audience, but you haven’t yet found the nerve, you’re in luck!

Beginning Tuesday May 3, St Ambrose Tasting Room will be hosting an open mic from 5-8pm each Tuesday evening. If you’re a seasoned performer (or band), we welcome you, too. Singers, comedians, poets, mimes and jugglers also welcome; variety is the spice of life. We’ll provide an amp and a mic, all our love and support and of course a little liquid courage if you should need it. You should have a basic understanding of how to use the equipment, as we won’t have a sound tech on hand.

Starting at 4pm each Tuesday, performers are welcome to sign up on the clipboard available at the tasting counter, in person only please.


Our tasting room is a great space for performers; each Friday night, all year through, we showcase many talents from around the region. These musicians tell us again & again how much they appreciate our small but charming atmosphere & audience and all the good vibes buzzing around this space. Off the beaten path, we are a great stop on your way home from work, after a day at the beach, or as your main destination for the day.

We’ve got gourmet bites that pair perfectly with our ample assortment of estate meads and wines, and when the weather allows, we have bean bag toss games, Adirondack chairs, and fireflies to set the stage for relaxation. Feel free to kick off your shoes and do some cartwheels in our ample lawn, and listen to a little night music as the sun sets behind the big red barn.

In the tradition of an old fashioned Speakeasy combined with a little bit of Hee Haw, our Open Mic Series here at St Ambrose might just be the best thing to happen to Tuesdays in awhile. In addition to spotlighting up and coming performance artists, we’ll also pass the hat for a community supported donation to local organizations that serve our neighbors in need.

Each week, the tasting room staff will select a worthy cause and share their mission and pass the hat around to all you fine folks. And then we’ll send out a donation with everyone’s name on it. And it will be just as great, if not better, than the rush you get from belting out your tunes, or laughing at your sister’s husband’s stand-up routine.

Come check us out on Tuesdays from 5-8pm starting May 3.

Jake Frysinger Tackles St. Ambrose Cellars

Jake Frysinger Tackles St. Ambrose Cellars

One of the great benefits of our little corner of paradise – beyond the sprawling lake shore, dune forests, fertile farmland, and stunning beauty – is that the elements attract seekers and makers. Our talented artisans and performers draw inspiration from the seasons, and from a life that is not spent waiting in traffic or thwarted by concrete and steel. This allows for an easy connection to the grounding energy from land and lakes, and for some, a way to make a living expressing their creativity.

Everyone who feels the pull to migrate here from other lives has a story of how they found their ZIP code in our beloved Benzie, and each is rich with what sustains them in their artistry. Ask around and you too will find interesting facts about these creative souls.

Our Friday night performer, Jake Frysinger, grew up summering here and then as an adult, made the choice to build a life here with his wife and son. Here’s his story:

On becoming a performer:

“My dad taught me to play the guitar when I was pretty young. I think I was probably around 8 when I started. He said if I practiced everyday for 15 minutes before school for like 6 months or something he would buy me my own guitar. So I stuck with it, and he bought me an electric guitar and a little amp at a pawn shop. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

On making a living:


“I’ve had quite a few different jobs over the years. I spent 5 years at the University of Michigan getting a teaching degree, but I’ve mainly worked in bars and restaurants since 2002. Although I did work at a landscaping job for a year and as a librarian at the Interlochen Center for the Arts for several years also. I’m currently the Sous Chef at the Manitou Restaurant on M-22 between Frankfort and Empire.”

On discovering music:


“I played at a school talent show when I was in 5th grade. A buddy of mine named Jeremy Shive played the drums, so we got together and played some old blues song I can’t even remember the name of. But I remember everybody in the audience going nuts when we got done playing. Maybe I’ve exaggerated the audiences’ reaction 25 years later, but that’s how I like to remember it! From that point on I knew I really enjoyed performing.”

What attracts you to the type of music you perform?


“I listen to a lot of different types of music. My dad had all kinds of records in the house growing up. I enjoyed everything from Johnny Cash to Thelonius Monk. The kind of music I enjoy playing has also changed quite a bit over the years. When I first started it was all blues music. Then I went through a Led Zepplin 1970s rock phase, which transitioned into a heavy metal head banging phase. Then it was reggae, and now I mostly do singer-songwriter type of stuff. I’ve written quite a few songs and recorded an album with a band called Big Pretty and the Red Rockets when I lived in North Carolina. That was a pretty eclectic collection of songs. But now when I play, it’s mostly at bars and restaurants so I do quite a few covers also.”



Most exciting thing you’ve gone through as a musician:


“When I played with Big Pretty and the Red Rockets in North Carolina, we won a battle of the bands at a venue in Raleigh called Kings. The prize for winning was that we got to open for The Drive-By Truckers and Dave Matthews at a show in Raleigh. It was really exciting, but the group split up shortly after that.”

On keeping music fresh:


“Sometimes that can be a bit challenging. But when you play 2 to 3 hour shows, you can’t avoid overlap and playing some of the same songs you play at other shows. Each show has a different group of people in attendance though, so I tell myself that it’s new to them. I’m also fortunate to have a great group of supportive friends and family that come to many of my shows, and that always makes it fun for me.”

Do you play for yourself or the audience – and what about an audience helps you find your groove?


“Both really. It definitely varies from show to show though. Sometimes if I’m in a certain mood, I might just play whatever I feel like. But most of the time I try and play whatever fits the mood or feeling of the venue and the people there. If it’s a rowdy crowd I try and play more up beat stuff. If the crowd feels a little more chill, I try and tone it down to fit that mood. I’m definitely comfortable in both situations though.”

What’s the worst heckling you’ve ever had?


“I can honestly say I don’t remember anything too terrible. I may have just blocked those things out of my mind though.”

What makes you want to be a performer?


“I just really enjoy it. It’s kind of a form of escapism for me, and maybe a little meditative.”

Are you an artist in other forms?


“Definitely not! I wish I was though! My wife is an amazing visual artist in terms of drawing, painting, etc. Some of the stuff she does looks so effortless when she’s doing it, but she produces some incredibly beautiful work. My 5 year old son has already surpassed my drawing skills!”

What’s your favorite St. Ambrose beverage and/or Sleeping Bear Farms product?


“I love all of the draft meads! And the Royal Reserve still mead is amazing! And we’ve always got a jar of Sleeping Bear raw honey around the house.”

So come on in to our tasting room this Friday, April 22, from 6-9 pm and listen to the songs and stories of a treasured local singer/songwriter and bask in the glow of one of the many talented musicians our little piece of heaven boasts as a resident. His voice is both powerful and gentle and his humor and humility are quite disarming for a former Wolverine lineman!


2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition

St. Ambrose Cellars participated in the 2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. This year’s event featured almost 4,000 wines from 916 wineries, located in all 50 states, 26 countries, and 6 Canadian provinces. 73 judges from 20 countries evaluated the wines that were entered. We’re proud to say our wines held their own in this tough field, scoring four silver and two bronze medals.

Silver Medalists

Cabernet Franc 2013, Crescendo 2013, Merlot 2013, and Syrah 2012 brought back silver medals. These exceptional reds are all available in the tasting room and online right now.


Bronze Medalists

Our new Riesling 2014 and the Cabernet Sauvigon 2013 took bronze at the competition. These two are only going to get better with age!

Check out the full results of the 2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition here.


Friday Night Flights – April 15

Friday Night Flights – April 15

For National Wine Month we thought we’d help you sample some of ours by offering Friday Night Flights – A curated selection of four of our wines, paired perfectly with a tasty palate-pleaser.

This week we’ve got a copious peach, raw honey and 2014 Riesling compote, served over moist and delicious pound cake from Crescent Bakery in Frankfort.

Our stainless steel aged Chardonnay, Late Harvest Vignoles, Pinot Grigio and Royal Reserve Mead will be paired with this dessert. The compote will highlight flavor, complexities and balance of the wines. Food will be prepared in-house, and available Friday night during music from 6-9pm, and throughout the weekend as supplies last.

If you purchase 2 or more bottles of one of these featured in the flight, you can get a 10% discount off the purchase price.

We will also the wonderful music of Blair Miller to accompany this event!

Blair Miller Rolls Into Town

Blair Miller Rolls Into Town

On Friday April 15, accountants all over the land will begin a celebration hailing the end of tax season. The same day, here in the tasting room we’ll be toasting our glasses to special musical guest Blair Miller.

This is our second date with Mr. Miller. To say we’re giddy would be an understatement. This writer recently had the good fortune to catch up with him for a pre-party interview, as the self-proclaimed luddite found a real-life interview more appealing, which only endears him more to us.

His smooth, yet crackly, voice goes down like our own Pepper Honey Mustard (which he loves)— there’s a story in that voice that you know is a little sweet and a little savory, and the way he speaks about the blues? Nicey spicey.

Intriguing with a hint of humility and mystery, Miller is relatively new to the music scene as a performance artist. After retiring as a medical social worker, he started using the new freedom in his schedule to begin a journey as a musician. He picked up a guitar at the age of 13, rocking out to British and American blues covers, finding his groove with the likes of Charlie Patton & Robert Johnson. He then discovered a voice to sing with by the time he was in his 20’s and he found he was moved by something inside himself that lived inside the blues as well.

His musicologist-like passion for the nuances of the Mississippi blues  – vs. the more “restrictive” urban and modern 12 bar structure – resonates as he strives to explain the magic that he witnesses as the energy in the music connects with the energy of an audience. His delta spirit music plays out like a deep reservoir of story, history, and reverence for (and supple mastery) of an old-school style of blues. A style of blues that allows for creativity and freedom, steeped in a sound with a direct link to the African poly-rhythms that modern blues have left behind.

It was apparent from our interview that he walks his talk. We have an eclectic array of musical acts for our Friday Night Music series, but Blair Miller, in voice and ardor, is the blues. Join us as we revel in the ambiance of a concert-like venue the skill of this talented solo act commands, Friday April 15 from 6-9 pm. We think you’ll be glad you did.


Friday Night Flights Part II

Friday Night Flights Part II

April is Wine Month, and what better way to say “Yes, Please” to more wine than by trying out four of our own with our Friday Night Flights? Each weekend this month, we are featuring a flight of four carefully selected vintages and then pairing them with a different palate pleasing specialty food offering every Friday night, and throughout the weekend (while supplies last!).
Should you decide to purchase a bottle of each of these together, you will be rewarded at the point of sale with 10% off (offer available only on all four)!


I should buy some wine
This week boasts a rich and creamy Herbed Brie Soup with ciabatta croutons made with lovely loaves from Crescent Bakery in Frankfort. Can you say yum? The flight of two white wines and two reds, including our house specialties Secret Beach (white) and Cottage Red, rounded out with 2011 Riesling Reserve and the Cabernet Franc are sure to titillate your taste buds as a sip of each will bring out complex varietal finishes and subtle nuances to compliment the smooth but powerful brie cheese.
The soup, made by our in house gourmet guru, Crystal, has been brought to full flavor with fresh basil, thyme and a generous splash of the 2011 Riesling Reserve. This Riesling is the driest of all our Rieslings and balances out the richness of the vegetable stock and cream based soup with just a hint of tang from its acidity.
Soup’s On at 6 pm just as the music from Acoustic Dynamite begins to flow. Friday Night Flights for this week will be $14, which include four 2+ ounce pours of our well-crafted & award winning wines and a hearty serving of Herbed Brie Soup and Ciabatta Croutons. Bon Apetit!



Acoustic Dynamite Blows Up St. Ambrose Cellars

Acoustic Dynamite Blows Up St. Ambrose Cellars

Growing up in suburban Detroit and  influenced by the dynamic music scene of the city and the ’60s/’70s in general, Bob Downes and Jim Moore of Acoustic Dynamite, started playing in their teens and developed a playful, soulful style that embraces everything from Latin to reggae to Sinatra.  They’ve done acoustic versions of the MC5 and the Rolling Stones, mixed in with the pure Americana of Bob Dylan and Hank Williams and then mixing it up with teen angst ballads, cowboy tunes and “whatever” from the ’50s. Together, they’ve enjoyed the dozen or so tribute to Dylan shows they’ve performed as Dylan is their go-to songwriter and they’ve done as many as 25 of his songs at these tribute shows.  About a year ago they performed the entire “Blood on the Tracks” album live.

To keep the music fresh and alive, they say they often challenge themselves with new songs, with the more difficult ones being the most fun to play.  And of course, they write original songs too. When asked how their audience helps them get–and stay– in the groove, they agreed that it’s always great when people get up and dance and they’ll also often call  members of the audience up onstage to sing a few, such as the chorus in Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Acoustic Dynamite

[Occasionally, percussionist Mike Cantrell, manager of Radiology at Munson Medical Center, joins them on stage, upping the ante on the energy of their sometimes standing-room-only audiences]

Bob, who is the former co-publisher and editor of Northern Express, considers himself more of a songwriter/singer because he loves words. Since retiring in 2013, he has written 3 books and hopes to have a novel about the Ojibwe Indians picked up by a mainstream publisher this year. As a performer he shares that there is no greater rush than nailing a song and feeling the love from the audience.

Jim on the other hand, says he enjoys making music –because  it’s a form of communication that feels natural for him as he is not a man of many words, but hand him a guitar and he can play for hours. As a musical performer,  he loves the sense that anything can happen–every audience is different– “Because music is a shared experience, when the audience joins in with the music it gets bigger in a sense.”.  He likes that they never over-rehearse a song so it is always open to be added to as they are playing, “When you play together with someone for a number of years you become very tuned in to where the other person is going with the song, so you may wind up in a different place that what you practiced anyway”.

It is this improvisational and creative freedom that makes for a show that truly echoes their band name– acoustic dynamite, ignited by a shared openness for the adventure of a performance, with the carefully cultivated craftsmanship of artists who’ve clearly honed their skills.

We’re thrilled to bring Acoustic Dynamite into our tasting room as part of our Friday Night Music Series. They’ll be here on April 8 from 6-9pm. With our cozy and intimate performance space, you’re likely in for an opportunity to sing along, or at least be up close and personal with these incredibly fun and talented musical collaborators.

Friday Night Flights

Friday Night Flights

This Friday at St Ambrose will feature two hot dishes~ one is our returning musical guests, Saldaje, the “darkest ukulele band in Northern Michigan”. Saldaje is comprised of two talented artisans, Melonie Steffes & Shaun Anchak, whose self described style is “New Old World, Apocalyptic Folk, Cabaret”, and what we like to call too good to miss! With influences like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Suzanne Vega and Nina Simone, this duo call us out from the cobwebs of winter and thrust us into this vernal season with their contradictory dualities; dark and ethereal, sinewy yet robust.


We’ve also recently released our 2014 Late Harvest Riesling, and on Friday, April 1st, we will be pouring it alongside its cousins; a treasure trove of our Riesling Reserves, for our Friday Night Flights of Fancy. Paired with a delicious oblation of goat cheese and an impressive balsamic, strawberry & riesling relish for $12, the flight features this Late Harvest from 2014 as well as the 2011, 2012 & 2013 Riesling Reserves. Our newest vintage combines a stunning floral, fruit forward crispness with finishing notes of citrus for a beautiful late harvest wine we think you’ll want to savor as much as we do.

Plus, if you come in for music on Friday you’ll get to elect the next president! (April Fools)… But we do guarantee you a place of refuge from endless political commercials. You can say that twice and mean it!

Women’s Wellness April

Women’s Wellness April


Spring has sprung our hearts and hives wide open here in the tasting room. The birdsong and the warmish breezes have replaced the high winds whistling through the barn that were sending us slanted falling snow, causing little whirlwinds as the door blew open for those long frigid months. The queens and their dedicated crew of worker bees are trickling back in by the semi load to their summer homeland. The promise of renewal that spring offers us is palpable as the buds on limbs of forsythia and lilac begin to plump and spring from their conservation mode of winter’s deep sleep.

We had so much fun with you all for our Women’s Winter Wellness Series that we decided to continue into the season ahead, with goodness and simple wisdom from the planet’s most perfect food source; honey. We’ll be sharing recipes and suggestions for utilizing the Nectar of the God’s in your home, your belly, and for your largest organ; your skin.

For April, and in honor of spring, we will focus on honey as a great addition to your “internal” spring cleaning~ honey for detox and nutrition. We’ll also have nourishing snacks available for purchase and of course, our medicinal quality meads for you to sip as you learn.

Join us Wednesday, April 6 from 6-8 pm for what is sure to bring sweetness into your spring. Women’s Wellness Wednesdays are always free of charge and will include take home recipes and samples from our demonstrations. Bee there!

Mead Madness – The Elite Eight

Mead Madness – The Elite Eight

After two weeks of heavy competition, we’re entering the home stretch of Mead Madness. The regions are boiling down to their finals – with the winners ready to move on to the Final Four and championship.

Red Wine Region


2013 Crescendo, after a tough battle with the 2012 Crescendo in the first round, has moved on into the regional final against perennial favorite Pinot Noir. Can the best of the best red wine blend take down this traditional grape? Both have scored similar vote totals on their way to this matchup. Crescendo prevailed against the 2012 version and handled Syrah in the second round. That was a big win – Syrah was a pre-tournament favorite to make a run. Pinot Noir has had perhaps an easier run, taking on Cab Franc in the opening round and downing our Cottage Red table wine in the second round.

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White Wine Region


In this region we’ve seen multiple close contests, with a majority of the matchups coming down to just 1 or 2 votes. Vin Gris has made it here by defeating Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Secret Beach continues something of a Cinderella run. After defeating Late Harvest Riesling by just one vote in the first round, Secret Beach scored a close victory over the 2013 Riesling (which is now sold out in the tasting room!). Who will move on to battle the Red Wine champ?

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Still Mead Region


In the traditional still mead bracket, we’ve seen some upsets. While Tupelo Ambrosia and Star Thistle had a first round duel, they were both popular picks to make the finals. But neither is here today – Razzmatazz (riding the momentum of its Gold Medal at the Mazer Cup) is lining up against the powerhouse Royal Reserve for the regional title. Can the fruity flavor of the original St. Ambrose mead overtake the two-years-aged dessert deliciousness of Royal Reserve? You decide!

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Draft Mead Region


Our popular draft meads all have loyal followings, but only two remain. After a tough battle with John Lemon, the apple pie in a bottle X.R. Cyser has advanced to face the ever-popular Black Madonna in what is certain to be a titanic fight for the regional championship. Sour blackberry or apple cinnamon? These two bountiful bouqets of flavor will both leave you satisfied, but only one can emerge the winner.

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Cinnamon & Raw Honey Is Here

Cinnamon & Raw Honey Is Here

We are always excited to share goodness from the hive with our faithful customers as well as our new ones. Our newest product from Sleeping Bear Farms is sure to utterly wow your taste buds, but we’re just as excited about the health benefits of this collaboration between our own raw honey and organic cinnamon bark!

This flavor combo is truly divine. We’ve been trying it on pretty much everything we can think of, inspired by the guy in the Bee Barn who encouraged this idea come to fruition, Mr. Lane.

Nathon, our humble production manager at Sleeping Bear Farms, says that he and his daughters starting making their own version of this delectation at home and spreading it on toast, stirring it into oatmeal, adding loving spoonfuls to their hot water for a tasty treat before bedtime or to soothe and tame a tempestuous tummy.

He says he and his wife even like to make a little moonshine with this blended perfection. After discovering the vast array of health benefits to this palate pleaser, he knew he had an idea worth sharing with all of us.

Thus began the road to developing our first “flavored” honey, made with the star of the show at SBF and St Ambrose Cellars; Star Thistle Honey. Star thistle is an abundant wild flower that our worker bees seek out in while summering here in Benzie County and the outlying areas. Star Thistle, or Centaurea solstitialis, is an incredible source of pollen, thus nectar for our revered pollinators. A plant with a tap root system, it has a crucial role in restoring the soil by bringing up vital micronutrients. While agriculturists may consider this an invasive species, or “weed”, we know the valuable role it plays in our production of ‘the nectar of the gods”—honey. We think star thistle is the bee’s knees!

Raw Honey Benefits

Raw Honey has numerous health benefits, from allergy reduction and wound healing to stabilizing blood pressure and balancing sugar levels. It is considered the most perfect food, as it contains all essential nutrients to sustain life. And did you know that honey NEVER spoils? An archaeological dig unearthed honey in a hive from over 5,000 years ago and it was still good!

Cinnamon Health Benefits

And cinnamon? Well cinnamon is known since ancient times as a gift fit for kings! Evidence based health benefits of the cassia bark suggest that cinnamon is:

  • Loaded with Antioxidants
  • Loaded with Anti-inflammatory properties
  • May cut the risk of Heart Disease
  • Can improve Insulin Sensitivity
  • Beneficial for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Reduces growth of Cancer cells
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal

Combining these two powerhouses together is not simply delicious, it is also potent medicine; good for your senses, your soul, and your well-being.
You’ll find the 1.5 pound jar of cinnamon honey stocked here in our tasting room. It is also available at Oryana Food Co-op, Family Fare, Olsen’s and more in Traverse City and online at sleepingbearfarms.com.

Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy

In honor of the sweetness of spring, we have a nectarous treat now available here in the tasting room. It pairs so nicely with our range of Rieslings that you can get this deliciousness alongside a flight of all four for $12.

As our menu expands, it was time to add a little sweet to all our savory options. This feature includes decadent chocolate glazed pretzels served alongside a rich and creamy spreadable coconut and rosewater aperitif, sprinkled with pistachios, dried cherries & sunflower seeds.

Our flight of Rieslings include our 2011, ’12 & ‘13 Riesling Reserve(s) and our Late Harvest Riesling from 2013. We are especially proud of these noble wines because the grapes were all grown for us right here in our beloved Benzie County.

Our 2011 & 2012 Riesling Reserve & Our 2013 Late Harvest Riesling were produced from Evans Bros Block II Vineyards and our 2013 Riesling Reserve grapes come from the Schutzki Family at Daddy Long Legs Vineyards.

Evan’s Bros, out in Joyfield Township, come from a long line of farmers in our county’s most well-known farming district. Five generations of their family have tended to their land and fruit crops and have helped us produce a world class wine.

Daddy Long Legs Vineyard is the result of hard work, focus and deep pride. The Schutzki family all tend devotedly to their horticultural crops just down the road from St Ambrose.

It is a privilege to partner with these two family farms to produce these delicious wines, which vary greatly in taste despite being the same grape. We love the subtle nuances that a grape can pick up from different season and harvesting times. That’s why we make wine.

You’ll notice the 2011 Riesling Reserve is quite dry but packs a punch with notes of citrus and traditional Riesling flavors. The growing season in 2012 was quite warm, and thus allowed us to extend the growing season and pick fully ripened fruit, so our 2012 Riesling Reserve is much sweeter, but with just enough acidity to provide structure to this perfectly balanced wine.

Our 2013 Riesling Reserve was fermented in Hungarian Oak barrels, which added complexity and structure to the cluster pressed fruit, and the 2013 Late Harvest Riesling takes its rich sweet flavor from allowing the grapes to mature on the vine, concentrating the flavors.

Come see for yourself how the chocolate with coconut cream just melt in your mouth, paired with these beautiful wine selections.

Atholl Brose Recipe

Atholl Brose Recipe

Our kitchen is frequently buzzing with our explorations in honey. Always looking for fun and tasty ways to stir the nectar of the gods into the fold, we whip up small batches of honey love, almost everyday. This weekend we discovered an old Scottish Highland recipe for Atholl Brose.

This drink is named after the First Earl of Atholl, who, according to legend, quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the rebel leader’s well with the mixture, making him easily captured. They call it the Nectar of the Scots, and guarantee it ‘shall put a bloom on the cheek & a weakness in the knee’.

Atholl Brose Recipe

Atholl Brose

{Makes 1 pint}

1 cup raw raw honey

2 cups whiskey

*(if you use Irish Whiskey, you’ll have to call it Athole Bruce)

Sweet whipped cream

Mix the honey & whiskey in a heat proof pan to warm ever so slightly.

Pour into mugs and top with cream and a dash of cinnamon.


And if you try it, post a picture to our Facebook page!

Ain’t No Party Like a Leap Year Party!

Ain’t No Party Like a Leap Year Party!

Hi, search engine visitor! We’re glad you’ve stumbled upon this post, but it’s really old – so mosey on over to our events page and see what we’ve got planned for February 2020!

Here at St Ambrose, we are missing the buzz of the bees as they retreat & reboot down on the farm in the Florida Panhandle with the boss man and Mrs. Jones. Winter being what it is here in the northlands, the honey bees become snowbirds and travel by the semi loads, tucked safely into their bee boxes, while visions of sunny honey combs dance in their heads. The team down there help restore the worker bee population and tend to the queens. Boss man gets to return to his roots, working directly with his beloved bees, while the idea factory that is his visionary mind, keeps churning out ways to grow and keep the buzz alive.

We love & miss him! But while the cat’s away…. these mice decided to throw a party!

Leap Year Jig

It is Leap Year, after all! You’re probably asking yourself what exactly does one celebrates on Leap Year, right? So we did a little research, digging around to discover just what the big deal is, and we were pretty fascinated by the origins of this day that only comes every four years! It’s really a mathematical equation that seeks balance, something winemakers strive towards also. So we’ve got that in common. But it’s a whole lot more of a smarty pants concept than this blogger can spell out, so I’m letting Wikipedia break it down for you, dear reader!

leap year (also known as an intercalary year or a bissextile year) is a year containing one additional day (or, in the case of lunisolar calendars, a month) added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting (also called intercalating) an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.

For example, in the Gregorian calendar, each leap year has 366 days instead of the usual 365, by extending February to 29 days rather than the common 28. Similarly, in the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, Adar Aleph, a 13th lunar month is added seven times every 19 years to the twelve lunar months in its common years to keep its calendar year from drifting through the seasons.

The name “leap year” comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in a leap year will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the extra day added at the end of February (thus “leaping over” one of the days in the week). For example, Christmas fell on Tuesday in 2001, Wednesday in 2002, and Thursday in 2003 but then “leapt” over Friday to fall on a Saturday in 2004.

In the Gregorian calendar, the current standard calendar in most of the worldmost years that are multiples of 4 are leap years. In each leap year, the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a period of 365 days is shorter than a tropical year by almost 6 hours. This calendar was first used in 1582.

Some exceptions to this basic rule are required since the duration of a tropical year is slightly less than 365.25 days. Over a period of 4 centuries, the accumulated error of adding a leap day every 4 years amounts to about 3 extra days. The Gregorian calendar therefore removes three leap days every 400 years, which is the length of its leap cycle. This is done by removing February 29 in the three century years (multiples of 100) that cannot be exactly divided by 400. The years 2000 and 2400 are leap years, while 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are common years. By this rule, the average number of days per year is 365 + 14 − 1100 + 1400 = 365.2425. The rule can be applied to years before the Gregorian reform (the proleptic Gregorian calendar), if astronomical year numbering is used.

(Thank you, Wiki!)

Pretty great reason to let us pour you a glass of your favorite fermented beverage, don’t you agree?  On Friday night, February 26, we’ll do just that while leaping. Seriously, come see for yourself! Because on Friday, Alfredo Improvisational Quartet will be jamming into the night with their hot licks!

Alfredo brings the thirsty to the well like the Pied Piper. St Ambrose is always hoppin’ when these boys assemble. We’re pretty sure the mead tastes better during & after they’ve been here, from all the vibration of the music and good vibes passed around. Happy to help us celebrate the leap in the time and space continuum, they’re staying a bonus hour, in honor of the bonus day. We’ll get this party started at 6PM and the mead and the music will flow until 10PM.

Make sure you bring your appetite, because we’re here to whet it. We’re rolling three deep with our palate pleasing pairings for the party! (Say that 3 times quickly. Go ahead. We’ll wait…)


Check us out!

A Little Something: small plate featuring Sleeping Bear Farms hypnotic honey mustard, a fresh and funky jerky pate, pretzel twists galore and oven-baked, multi-grain, gluten free crackers for $4.

A Little Something More: Tasty, local, cured meats, fancy cheeses, & a collection of fermented and pickled veggies served with those oven baked, multi-grain, gluten free crackers for $8.

A Whole Lotta Something: We like to raise a loving cup to this moveable feast fit for a Mead Weilding Viking. It includes a piquant array of cured meats, aged cheese, pickled veggies, jerky pate`, brie wedges with a blackberry honey drizzle, relishes and crackers for $14.

And, as if you needed any more reasons to sparkle on over here Friday night, we’ve got the Dancing Bare Ambrosia on tap! That’s right–we’ve added bubbles to an already perfect blend of fermented honey & grapes! There’s also a brand new draft mead waiting for you that we like to call Smoove, because it is! Supple and sweet as honey, this gingery peach carbonated melomel is reminiscent of our Royal Reserve (which was aged in bourbon barrels for the ultimate in smoothness.) Smoove puts a little fire in your belly, coming in at around 10% ABV, reminding you to savor the flavor and always drink responsibly.

Which brings us to our final newsworthy paragraph: The waning moon on Friday will be 86.53% full. If you should find yourself near enough to ski or snowshoe your way, over the river, through the woods, under La Bella Luna, to the party, we’ll not only give you a high five, we’ll also give you 10% off— AND…. if you were born on February 29 in 1994 or earlier we’ve got a goody bag with your name on it, so show us your I.D. and collect on the goodness that awaits you, Leap Year Baby.

Dancing Bare Ambrosia – A Perfect Pyment

Dancing Bare Ambrosia – A Perfect Pyment

DANCINGBAREAMBROSIAThe Tasting Room here at St Ambrose is a great place to try out all of the innovative flavors and old favorites our wine and mead makers have been working so hard on for your enjoyment. Whether you’re new to our meadery, you’ve been here a time or two, or, you’re a seasoned pro to bellying up with us again, you’ll find the girls waiting to serve you a complimentary tasting selection of any six of our tasty libations. If you’re new to mead, come on in, and be sure to try a sample of our delicious Dancing Bare Ambrosia. Dancing Bare is a great “cross-over” to the mead side for white wine enthusiasts. A copious blend of white wine grapes and honey, fermented together, Dancing Bare Ambrosia is also known as a pyment.

What’s a Pyment?

A pyment refers to all the constituents of mead blended and then fermented with grapes or grape juice. A pyment can also be produced from sweetening a wine with honey or by mixing wine and mead after fermentation of each has been completed.

The goal of a pyment is to have a wine flavor with the soft honey finish of a mead, melding complexities for balance in sweetness, acidity and tannin. Any variety of grapes will work to produce a pyment, but we use wine grapes (as opposed to table grapes).

Each year, a grape variety will take on different aromas and flavors, depending upon the growing conditions during the growing season. Factors such as rainfall and temperature have the most significant impact. So, although you can find any number of descriptions of a grapes personal variety, the final qualities of each harvest will not always take on all of the descriptors. The flavor will tell you the story of the season with subtle nuances of flavor, aroma, texture.

The Dancing Bare Difference

Pyment can be made with just one type of grape or can include a blend of grapes or grape juice, depending on the desired characteristics. Our Dancing Bare Ambrosia utilizes the Cayuga and Seyval Blanc grapes, selected for the balance of acidity and sweetness inherent to these varietals. Using our own Star Thistle Honey from our Sleeping Bear Farms very busy bees, the final product is semi sweet with fruity notes, floral undertones, and a crisp finish.

Dancing Bare is at its peak of enjoyment on the porch swing in August or after a full moon skinny dip all summer long. We encourage you to open a bottle in June after you’ve picked up a pound of asparagus from the Harris Farm out on Indian Hill Road and fire up the grill for the ten-pound lake trout you caught the night before. By all means, it also pairs nicely with comfort food and a cozy fire in the midst of winter.

Look for the Bee Goddess label on the beautiful cobalt blue bottle on our shelves or at your favorite wine store. Let the nectar of the hive and the celebrated noble wines of Michigan make you a believer in “All You Mead Is Love”.

Barefoot & Potent – Music at St. Ambrose Cellars

Barefoot & Potent – Music at St. Ambrose Cellars

Barefoot & Potent

With temperatures expected to rise to downright balmy this coming weekend, our Friday night musicians are right on time for a little cabin fever reliever. Barefoot, a new quartet comprised of some of our favorite homegrown talent, will debut right here at St Ambrose, starting at 6pm. With soulful renditions of songs that connect us to memory and each other, Barefoot artfully blends familiar emotional ballads and funky tunes with an upbeat, crowd pleasing, original sound that delivers musically as well as lyrically.

The Band

Chanteuse Jenni Rae captures your heart with her stunning presence and impeccable vocals. Jenni is a classically trained pianist who discovered her voice and knack for music the tender age of 4 & has cultivated a depth to her work that evokes continual goosebumps and demands your attention, anticipating her next verse and begging for an encore.

Supporting Jenni are a cast of characters that all discovered a love for music as young men. On harmonica, Phil Coryell plays intuitively from the deep roots of his musical upbringing, where his father noted a penchant for keeping rhythm watching him toe tap to The Mitch Miller Show as a child. Phil brings a wealth of knowledge and a teacher’s heart to this collaboration; his humor and nurturing ways have infused his harmonizing. Bee Jay Reffitt is a true free spirit, an apiarist at our headquarters, Sleeping Bear Farms, and is all about the upright bass. He says he comes from a long line of barefoot hillbillies and is a lover of organic musical relationships. Native son,

Nathon Lane, rounds out this awesome foursome. Mr Lane, who oversees production of our beautiful honey at Sleeping Bear Farms, is also the brains and brawn behind Barefoot, a football coach and a daddy to two lovely girls. The sensitivity and intention required of him in his daily life plays out in his masterly riffs on guitar and a zen like performance charisma.

This Friday

St Ambrose is thrilled to host the launch of our dear friends who also happen to really bring it. Join us in the tasting room from 6­9pm on Friday, February 19!

Oh, and Barefoot pairs nicely with a glass of our Dancing Bare Ambrosia or Secret Beach and a charcuterie platter, just sayin.



Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Let the good times roll, the mission of Mardi Gras, the big party down in the big easy. The tradition of fun and indulgence is well known in much of the world. For some the festival is a rite of passage and for others, a yearly reconnection to a piece of themselves and to history. Parades, food & music representing “joie di vivre”, joy of life, in a cultural hub, where celebrating artful expression is a way of life.


Historically, its origins of revelry have roots to the Roman Empire all the way back in the 4th century. When Christianity became the official religion of the Empire, the leaders chose to embrace local rituals & traditions associated with spring & fertility. These became a last hurrah before the holiday of Lent, where Christians refrained from pleasures, prayed and repented their sins for the 40 days before Easter Sunday, which is where we get Fat Tuesday, the last day to indulge before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. As the Roman influence expanded all over Europe, Christianity and Mardi Gras went with them.

Our Fearless Leader, and owner here at St. Ambrose, Kirk Jones, exudes the vibrant energy of New Orleans as a musician in K Jones & The Benzie Playboyz, a Cajun & Zydeco ensemble beloved around the state of Michigan. Kirk & Sharon take some time each winter to return to their own origins, working with our bees down on the farm, on the banks of the Chocktahatchee Creek, swamp country near the Apalachicola River, in the Panhandle of Florida. We miss his smile & his passion while he’s gone, we are jonesin’ for Jonesy! So we decided to have our own little Mardi Gras, a Paczki Party, here in the tasting room. Come celebrate Fat Tuesday with us!


All day, from 12-7, enjoy a free paczki with the purchase of any draft mead on tap. We’ll have apple, Bavarian crème, lemon, raspberry, cherry & orange crème paczki’s, which we’ll help you pair perfectly with a tasty, bubbly beverage. Tomorrow also starts our Two-For Tuesday Happy Hour, where from 5-6pm you can enjoy a glass of draft mead for just $2 (that’s half off!). We’ve got a few games here, too if you’re feeling competitive and thirsty…We’ll have K Jones tunes on too, so stop on by and get Fat with us!

On Tap This Weekend

On Tap This Weekend

Thank Goodness it’s Friday! It’s a snow globe kind of day here in the tasting room! The big red barn looks like a postcard and the light is positively radiant~. Tonight we’ve got Giniker playing jazz tunes from 6-9 with the sweet melodious voice of Carie Fowler brought to fullness with the accompaniment of true talents, Steve Stargardt on keyboard & Mike Davis on the big brass sax. If you’re feeling swanky, come on in for a pour from tonights tapster’s, Dawn & Abby.

With Puxatawney Phil forecasting an early spring, February is off to a good start here in the northlands. We at St Ambrose are feeling the fever rising and have our boots on for you to come in from the cold and put a little fire in your belly.

  • Giniker Jazz tonight 6-9pm
  • Spend your Big Game Pre-Party with us from 12-5 and enjoy 10% off our 16.9 ounce bottles of draft mead (to go only) and enter to win a T-shirt (Enter all weekend, winner selected Sunday, you don’t have to be present to win but you must enter in person!)
  • Fat Tuesday (February 9): FREE Pazcki with the purchase of any draft mead, $2 drafts, AND game night! We’re staying open an extra hour (12-7) and we’ve got Apples to Apples & Cards Against Humanity.
  • Women’s Wellness Wednesday on February 10 from 6-8 pm a night full of chocolate and self- love, good eats & drink features
  • EVERY “Thirsty” Thursday~ refills on Growlers & Howlers for 35% off
  • Next Friday SALDAJE eclectic ukulele music 6-9pm
  • Saturday 2/13 you’ll find Team St Ambrose hanging out at TC Microbrew Fest from 3-10pm

The Cabin Fever Artist Talk #2 at Oliver Arts Center in Frankfort tonight from 5:30-7 featuring hometown hero Peter Payette would be a great way to start your weekend before heading over here for music.  http://oliverartcenterfrankfort.org/. And our friends at Crystal Mountain entice us all with their locals only spa specials on Mondays & Tuesdays through March http://www.crystalmountain.com/specials/locals-only-spa-specials.  

So, Bee kind, enjoy all the goodness, drink responsibly & strap on your snow shoes and live out the question we all hear “What is there to do here in the winter?”.

Mead & Wine News – February 4th 2016

Mead & Wine News – February 4th 2016

The big news? Pardon us, but we want to make sure that everyone knows we have our mead available in convenient 16.9oz bottles for all to enjoy. You can find them online, at stores throughout Michigan, and right here in our tasting room.

Our Drafts

We’ve got five of our honey & pleasure packed draft meads available in 16.9 ounce bottles. A shout out to our new bottling system and our production guys for getting these out of the tanks and into your hands! You’ll find our most loved and innovative flavors have been bottled and are available here in the tasting room, regionally at your favorite shop, and online. Our customers wanted a way to ship or fly with our drafts and we found it! The bottling process allows for all the bubbly fun that makes our pours so unique to cross state lines and time zones because it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

This shareable size can be a great introduction to trying out yet another flavor to love of our carbonated honey wine or a great way to mix and match your favorites! Our draft meads are a hit in the tasting room and beyond and we are so excited about this newest way to spread the love!
Here in the tasting room you will find these select five flavors bottled, on our shelves & good to go!

XR Cyser

Like true love and hot yoga class, this one really gets your heart pumpin’ with notes of cinnamon, apple, maple syrup and of course honey.

Evil Twin

That moment when sweet cherry meets spicy ginger and nothing is ever the same…

Black Madonna

Our signature Sour Mead using lacto-yeast fermentation and good vibes –where bold blackberry gets funky and invites you to Bee One With The Universe.


Also using some of those friendly probiotics, Razz is slightly sour with just a hint of that luscious raspberry sweetness. Our newest take on raspberry draft mead is sassy enough to make you blush and sweet enough to make you say more, please.

Wild Ginger 

A love song to the peppery ginger root, perfectly accompanied by orange zest, this slightly sour mead is not for the faint of heart!
Coming soon (think spring!) we will add everyone’s favorite, John Lemon, to the bottled varieties available. We’re so excited about it we plan to have a release party! So stay tuned, and until then, stop in, belly up & cheers with us for 5 more ways to enjoy the nectar of the gods…

Cider in Traverse City

Our friends at Taproot Ciders have opened up in Downtown Traverse City! If you’re in town, give them a look sometime.

Winter Beverage Expo

Wuerfel Park in Traverse City’s Chum’s Village will host the 2016 Winter Craft Beverage Expo on Friday, Feb. 5 – featuring St. Ambrose meads and wines and many other Northern Michigan beverages!


Women’s Wellness Wednesday!

Women’s Wellness Wednesday!

On Wednesday January 27, St Ambrose hosted our first Women’s Wellness Wednesday. We had a hearty house-made mushroom soup using smoked paprika served with crusty sourdough bread from Stone House Ovens as well as other delectables, paired with our divine meads and fine wines.

We demonstrated two different recipes for well-being featuring our own Sleeping Bear Farms raw honey. Rosehips & Honey Elixir, a syrup loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, shown to reduce inflammation, boost immunity & help combat the winter blues, and Oatmeal Cookie Body Scrub, using honey, oats, vitamin E & coconut oil, sea salt, sugar & Ancient Healer essential oil from Creation Pharm for stimulating, nourishing & exfoliating dry winter skin.

The women left with warm bellies, big smiles, samples of the demos and goody bags.

Our next Women’s Wellness Wednesday will be held on February 10 from 6-8 pm. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we here at St Ambrose will be spreading the gospel of self-love.

We are ironing out the final details, but look for this event to be loaded with inspiration and decadence with a focus on Y-O-U! Gather your girlfriends & sisters and join us for sweet and savory flavor combinations of food, wine/mead, and oh, yes, there will be chocolate!

Wink Solo Patch – Live Music

Wink Solo Patch – Live Music

Bringing a message of positivity and light, Wink combines his percussive rhythm guitar and soulful voice to bring you to a new space in time. Dabbling in almost every musical genre, your sure to hear something you’ve loved for years, a well written and thought out original or a new cover song by a band you’ve never heard of, in an evening with Wink. Fronting the Traverse City based jam band, Soul Patch for the last 12 years, and counting, as well as playing solo, Wink is seasoned and poised to bring you on a little ride through his reality! All you have to do is show up and enjoy!

As usual, the show will kick off about 6 PM at the tasting room. No cover! Just show up, enjoy the beverages, and revel in some beautiful music.

Ice Wines – #WineWednesday

Ice Wines – #WineWednesday

The weather outside is frightful, and that’s quite delightful for some .. including ice wine connoisseurs.

Ice wine? The heck is that?

You might be thinking about a glass of red that some barbarian dropped an ice cube into it, but we assure you, that’s incorrect.

Ice wine is a specialty wine that’s made from grapes which have frozen a bit while still on the vine. Normally you want to harvest your grapes (or anything, really) well before the frosts and ice start, but this is an exception.

The sugars of these grapes are not frozen, but the water in the grape is, which makes for a concentrated grape must to be extracted during the pressing process. The resulting wine ends up being heavily concentrated, almost “thick”, and very sweet.

The history of ice wine may trace all the way back to the Roman Empire, where it was written that some grape varieties were not harvested until the first frost. We don’t have any exact confirmation on the how and why – at least until we get a time machine – so we have to settle and say the first documented ice wine was likely created in Germany in the 1700s. The first extensively documented harvest of ice wine was in 1830, also in Germany. From these humble beginnings, the art of ice wine emerged.


Throughout its history, ice wine harvests have been relatively rare and difficult. To produce ice wine, one must be ready to harvest grapes at the first opportunity and get to work – requiring prep and planning for an event that may not happen. While lucky folks like us in Northern Michigan and our Canadian friends can count on winter coming at some point, the perfect conditions for ice wine (and the grapes required) don’t always lineup, even here.

To count as an ice wine by regulations, the grapes need to go through a “hard freeze”, while on the vine, after they are ripe. Freezing after harvest, light frosts, and such do not count. For a good ice wine crop, one needs the freeze to arrive before the grapes have rotted too much, and the freeze must be hard, but not so severe that it is impossible to extract the juices. It’s a slippery business. While waiting for these “just-right” conditions, one must also protect the grapes from wild animals and other forces of nature.

So, the freeze happens, everything is great, now what?

The grapes need to be harvested practically immediately. Then they need to pressed, while still frozen. This means a long day and night for the workers, between harvesting and then working to press the precious ice grapes in an environment where they stay frozen. Sound cozy?

After pressing, patience takes over. Ice wine does not ferment as quickly as other wines. The erratic nature of the harvest, difficulties of the harvest, and long fermentation add up to a wine that tends to hit you in the wallet a bit harder than some other varieties.

Our foray into the ice wine world is Frost Song. This dry ice wine brings together some interesting flavors – peach pie, pears, and raisins, for instance – for a unique tasting experience. We recommend that you pair it with a hard cheese.

Our Late Harvest wines are similar to ice wine, but not quite the same. Late Harvest wines do not have the same exacting specifications as a true ice wine, but are similar in their profile. It’s a story for a different time…

Razz – #MeadMonday

Razz – #MeadMonday

The humble raspberry. A staple of the fresh fruit section of your local produce aisle, a common added-flavor for juices, candies, gum, and more the world over. Packed with antioxidants, brimming with flavor, bursting with beautiful color. We’ve all enjoyed them in one form or another. With Razz!, you can enjoy them in a bottle. With honey. And alcohol.


St. Ambrose Cellars has a long history with the raspberry. Our first batch of mead – Razzmatazz – was developed when a batch of our delicious raspberry honey creme didn’t quite turn out right. Instead of tossing it, we decided to make some mead. It was delicious, and the meadery was born.


Razzmatazz remains a favorite in our lineup today, but today we’re talking about it’s close relative – Razz!. Razz! is a lightly carbonated mead, and a member of our new bottled draft mead lineup.


Razz is a form of melomel. Melomels are meads that also have fruit. Razz is a simple combination – we take our honey, we take our raspberry, and we mix it all together for one great bottle of mead.


For Razz, we add a bit of carbonation and produce the 6% ABV draft mead. For Razzmatazz, we skip the carbonation and produce a still mead – one that turns out more in the 12% ABV range and sits along with Dancing Bare Ambrosia and Tupelo Ambrosia on the shelves.


Both of our raspberry meads are great performers with our customers – garnering over 3.7 star ratings on Untappd and regularly shipping out of the tasting room home with someone. We’re excited to bring you Razz! in bottled form now, and please look for it in your local stores as well!


Mead & Wine in the News : January 14, 2016

Mead & Wine in the News : January 14, 2016

Your (occasionally) weekly look at some of the news in the mead, wine, and craft beverage industry – distilled down to the good stuff by the folks at St. Ambrose Cellars.

What Percentage Are You Actually Drinking?

We’ve all woken up with a headache and found something other than ourselves to blame. What if I told you … you might have been right?

It might not be off by much, but your wine bottle might be off just a bit on the ABV of the product. According to a study published in the