History of Hickory Creek Winery
Hickory Creek Winery was founded by three partners in August 2006, with a red barn built to house the tasting room and winery. It’s inspiration for design was a nearby barn admired by many in the area. The tasting room features a hand hewn hickory wood tasting bar and large window through which guests can view the production facility. The winery grounds have a lovely heirloom apple tree with a tire swing, and picnic tables with straw bales and blankets, for visitors’ enjoyment. Hickory Creek, which flows into Lake Michigan after it’s journey up to St. Joseph, borders the property to the south.
In early 2012, the Wagners took ownership and continue the tradition of hand-crafting old world European style wines from our local Lake Michigan Shore AVA (American Viticultural Area). In 2014, they introduced a lively line of wines called “Laughing Labs” – inspired by the owners’ labrador retriever Kia, and other pups rescued from Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue (MLRR). A large portion of the profits is donated to MLRR to aid in their rescue efforts.
Our Mission. Our Passion. Our Philosophy.
Hickory Creek Winery has a passion for creating wine from grapes that are grown in our AVA’s distinctive terroir. Many don’t realize our area of Michigan, which borders the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, is the largest non-citrus fruit producing area in North America. The combination of soil and climate associated with being near the lake make for ideal grape growing conditions. Our AVA’s grapes contribute to a wonderful depth of fruit in our wines, and we are proud to continue the tradition of Michigan’s fruit industry.
We carefully select grapes from local vineyards – many of which are owned by friends and neighbors. The respect for these grapes is evident in our winemaking, capitalizing on the flavor nuances of each of these vineyards.
We are a small winery and produce limited quantities of high quality wine. Because we are small, we are able to hand-craft and produce our wines – from picking the grapes to labeling, corking and capsuling every bottle of wine. Our intent is to deliver the passion we have for Hickory Creek wine in every glass that is poured.
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Eric has been a practicing companion animal veterinarian on Chicago’s north shore, and continues to practice part time. He studied microbiology as an undergraduate at University of Illinois – which is where he developed his passion for winemaking – as well as business at Kellogg School of Management.
Jayne is a native Michigander who was born in the Detroit area, but grew up in suburban Chicago. As a child, her family would often visit a friend’s farm in southwest Michigan and roam their orchards picking cherries and peaches. She loved the beauty of the area and made weekend visits throughout the years as respite from her hectic job in advertising media.
In 2004, Jayne and Eric decided to purchase a 33 acre farm in Baroda Township to develop their weekend hobbies that included winemaking and growing vinifera. They were surprised to meet so many locals who shared the same passions, and came to know about Hickory Creek Winery through a friend and neighbor, renowned chef Jean Joho. When they learned the winery was seeking a new owner, it seemed like a natural progression to further pursue their passion for the area’s grapes and the winery’s fine quality wines.
A winery wouldn’t be complete without dogs, and at any given time, visitors will be greeted by one of those belonging to Jayne & Eric. Kia is a 14 year old yellow lab. She’s a sweetheart, but is unable to contain her enthusiasm at times, and her tail has been known to wipe out entire rows of wine bottles. We’ve created a line of lively wines names “Laughing Labs” in her honor, and donate part of the proceeds to Midwest Lab Rescue – from whom she was adopted 12 years ago. Pongo (foreground) is our youngster corgi and is known to be a scamp and stealer of corks. He’s most often found in the tasting room begging for crackers. We’ve had to provide low calorie treats for customers to offer him as no one can resist those pleading brown eyes!
Sadly, old boy Toddy passed away at the age of 15 on October 5, 2015. He was the most beautiful corgi and truly an angel whom many adored. We miss his sweet presence at Hickory Creek.