In the wine industry, the Garagiste refers to a European concept of making wine out of a garage. Garagistes produce limited production wines called “Vin de Garage” or “Garage Wines.”
The term initially had a negative connotation used to refer to small-lot rogue wineries that refused to follow the rules. Today this is a full-blown movement, making award-winning wine.
For the Burgdorfs, it all started 30-some years ago as home winemakers, in the Haslett, Michigan countryside east of Lansing, with a bumper crop of wild black raspberries.
In 2005, they decided to turn their hobby into a business. Today, Deb is the vintner and handles the accounting, while Dave does the marketing and public relations.
The Burgdorf’s initially offered people the opportunity to come and participate in making and labeling their own wines. The juice came from wine kits.
Dave trademarked the “Truly Michigan™,” which businesses can use if their product is 100 percent grown and produced in Michigan.
Michigan State University Horticultural Farm grows some teaching and research grapes nearby. MSU approached the Burgdorf’s early on about purchasing these grapes.
Each month they have two wines of the month. When I visited, they served a Pinot Gris and Golden Temptation. “Everyone knows what Pinot Gris is,” mentioned the server.