Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a vineyard in Detroit in 1702, one of the very first in North America.
He delighted in the grapes he found here, and described them as "raisins de vigne avec peau mince et très bon jus qui fera un vin excellent.” At Detroit Vineyards, we use classic French vintner practices in unison with modern day winemaking techniques to produce wine unfiltered and unfined, combining the best of what both the Old and New World have to offer.
Detroit Vineyards was born of a mutual love of vineyards, wine culture and the idea of growing grapes in Detroit. Blake and Claes met in 2011 while Claes was working with the Michigan Grape and Wine Council. They began discussing the potential of vineyards and a winery in Detroit, and ended up founding Detroit Vineyards in 2014.
We are uniquely proud to grow, process and bottle high-quality wines in what is truly America's Renaissance City.
Dr. Claes Fornell
Detroit Vineyards Co-Founder
Dr. Claes Fornell, the University of Michigan Distinguished Donald C. Cook Professor of Business (emeritus) is one of the world's leading experts on customer satisfaction measurement and customer asset management. In 2009, he was appointed to the Michigan Grape and Wine Council, on which he served until 2014. He is the founder and Chairman of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) - a national indicator of the US economy. He is also the chairman and founder of CFI Group with offices in Sweden, Italy, China as well as in Ann Arbor, Michigan and of ACSI Funds in Ann Arbor and New York.
Detroit Vineyards Co-Founder, Winemaker & Vineyard Manager
Blake Kownacki has worked as an organic farm manager, winemaker, and vineyard manager in Paso Robles, California. He trained under the world-renowned winemaker Phillip Shaw and managed a 90 hectare vineyard in Orange, New South Wales, Australia. Blake was also the winemaker and vineyard manager at Cherry Creek Cellars, located in the Irish Hills of Michigan, from 2010 to 2015. He's received numerous medals for his work and his 2012 Lynn Aleksandr Dry Michigan Riesling won a Double Gold Medal at the prestigious 2015 San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.