- August 19, 2007 · 4:34 am
As my experience mounts in the quest for a first bottle of Forty-Five North wine, I feel as if I have obtained another degree, perhaps if you will, a Masters of Naivete’. We received our Michigan Liquor License, allowing us to produce wines up to 20% alcohol content. Either brewing beer or distilling spirits requires a whole new level of certification. Nevertheless, I would like to recount my journey in quest of the holy certificate. It starts with the TTB, or as you may know it, the Alchohol and Tax Bureau, a division of the IRS. I must say that the government officials were extremely helpful getting me through the rather daunting process. The forms come in a ream sized envelope, 5/8 inch thick. The forms must be filled in duplicate, blue ink to insure no copying and the originals all sent. The forms include complete financial statements, fingerprinting, proof of money transfers and routing, legal descriptions of the land and business organization, power of attorneys, environmental concerns with the land, and several others. You may download them from the site, ttb.gov if you have the interest. Once that is done, in my case an eight month job, you are issued a federal Basic Permit for a winery. Then you must jump through the individual state hoops, and in my case, Michigan, the people on the other end were most helpful and even sent me e mails when I had erred. Besides the afore mentioned forms redone under the Michigan heading, the license included three site inspections, one by the local sheriff, Mike Oltersdorf. In Michigan’s defense, I will say they were most complete and don’t want a criminal element starting up shop just any where. But, all said and done, I have in my grasp, a certificate for Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery which allows Shawn to start his craft and magic work. We have 70 tons of fruit under contract for this fall, but our first fermentation will be with Leelanau local fruit, and as you all must know, Leelanau fruit is some of the best in the world, and besides being naive, I’m all also fruit prejudiced.
Let’s start drinking up!