Brengman Brothers—Our Story
We often get questions from our visitors about our history in the vineyard and winemaking business so we say—It all began with a life of hospitality.
Our family’s background is hospitality. We operated the Captain’s Restaurants located in Detroit and eastside suburbs. The restaurant business brought us very close to the wine beverage industry not only through tasting and planning the many wonderful wines offered on our menus but it provided us with amazing first-hand experiences with some of the best wineries on the planet. Whenever we asked our wine distributors for VIP tours of their wine providers, all we had to do is get ourselves to the wineries and they would deliver. Places like Mondavi, Grgich Hills in California; Cloudy Bay, Grove Mill in New Zealand; Gaja, Valpanera in Italy are just some of the places that offered a first class experience of the wine tasting and production facilities. We thank our distributors dearly for the eye opening and inspirational experiences.
Ed and Robert started looking for a site for a quality vineyard as early as 2002 and it was clear that southeastern Leelanau County was the place to investigate. We both adore Gewürztraminer, Pinots and Riesling but couldn’t find the dry styles that we love so we decided to focus on these varieties. The study of soil maps revealed that the preferred deep free-draining gravels were abundant in this area. Our initial planting session took place in the Spring of 2004 and continued for the next two seasons until we filled 20 acres with vines.
Our marketing approach from the outset was to reach the wine aficionado, a person who requires more from a wine, and seeks the refined taste from soil, organic and biodynamic growing practices and excellent wine making. This is still our target consumer but Brengman Brothers has evolved into a cult for the Fan Club membership and a haven to host weddings and events.
We are glued to our seats for this amazing ride that brought us to this spectacular place and we’re so happy to be sharing this dream with so many others that appreciate the same things that we do—which brings us to the great Kent Nerburn quote
“Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared, and your life will have meaning, and your heart will have peace”
Valpanera—Our Sister Winery Story
It all started over a glass of wine—of course.
Ketil was a sales rep for a sign company based in Denmark. He was visiting the Traverse City area to meet with Robert (who works as a designer) to pitch his firm. But that evening, their dinner conversation revolved around their other shared passion—wine. Robert told Ketil about Brengman Brothers and their fine white wines. But he confided in Ketil that he would love to import a line of outstanding red wines to complement their whites.
And Ketil knew just the guy to help Robert out. His old college roommate, Giovanni Dal Vecchio, was the owner of a winery in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in Italy. Valpanera was making a name for itself with its outstanding Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso. In fact, the winery was dedicated to producing wines from that one ancient vine. But Giovanni still wanted to provide his customers with fine white wines that would complement his reds.
A partnership sprung up, allowing both wineries to provide customers with the best wines from the separate regions by planting the grape types that will do best in the different climate and soils. It’s a partnership that has produced many fine wines we love sharing with others, and we are pleased to be the sole importer of Valpanera in the Midwest.
Benvenuto in Valpanera.