A new wine and hard cider tasting room in Grand Rapids' Cherry Hill business district will soon uncork some of Michigan's fruits of the vine for patrons to sample. Under The Vines
(959 Cherry St. SE) aims to introduce customers to organic fruit wines and hard ciders produced in the Leelanau Peninsula by Good Neighbor Organic Vineyard and Winery
Besides the tasting room, the 1,100-square-foot boutique will carry wine and hard ciders by the bottle, plus a host of wine-friendly gift items, including glassware, wine glass charms, picnic baskets and create-your-own gift basket options. Under The Vines will also offer its own coffee line.
"We will sell food items that pair well with wine," says shop owner Sandra Kidner Otte. "We'll have Awesome Chocolates
, and I'm looking into offering cherry food items from the Traverse City area and a selection of cheeses. We'll offer six or seven different types of wines and hard ciders, including chocolate cherry, apple and mixed berry, plus we'll carry iced dessert wine."
Otte and her husband, artist David Otte
, spent a lot of time over the last two years selecting a site for the store. Sandra Kidner Otte says they'd ride their bicycles from their Wyoming home into Grand Rapids' neighborhood business districts where they'd chat with shoppers and shop owners to get a feel for each area. Once selected, Otte says she quit her job as a special education teacher at Kalamazoo's Paramount Charter Academy
to start Under The Vines.
"I love Grand Rapids and I just love this neighborhood," Otte says. "I believe in Michigan, and I tell people when they say they're leaving 'don't turn the lights out because I'm still here.'"
Otte hopes to have the retail side of the shop open by Nov. 21, and will offer the wines and hard ciders as soon as the state approves the liquor license. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mon. through Sat.
Source: Sandra Kidner Otte, Under The Vines
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor