Chateau Chantal partners with Olive Vinegar to open Rochester tasting room

Great news for Michigan wine fans: another Old Mission Peninsula winery has opened up a tasting room downstate – Chateau Chantal.
In recent years we have seen a few Michigan wine-themed bottle shops and tasting rooms open throughout greater metro Detroit. Michigan By The Bottle, with locations in Royal Oak and Shelby Township, carries wines from producers like 2 Lads Winery, Chateau de Leelanau, and Gill's Pier. In Ann Arbor, VinBar features the wines and spirits of Black Star Farms, Lawrence Mawby, and Good Harbor Vineyards. Now Chateau Chantal, open since 1993 and one of the oldest estate wineries in northern Michigan, is getting in the game with a partnership with the Rochester retailer Olive Vinegar, a purveyor of fine extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars from around the world.
"When we look at our customer base, over half of our customers come from the southeast corner of Michigan," says Chateau Chantal CEO Marie Chantal-Dalese. "This is definitely a target market for us."
When they first began looking downstate, their focus was on Oakland County. "There was a correlation between data on the wine drinking population and our own mailing list, and those two circles intersected in Oakland County."
Chantal-Dalese explains that, over the years, the winery has experimented with remote tasting rooms in areas like Elk Rapids and Traverse City – close to the winery itself so that they could still manage it. In order to open a tasting room downstate, they needed to find the right partners. They found them in Michael and Nicole Loffredo, owners of Olive Vinegar in downtown Rochester.
"We had the idea to open in an existing store that carried products complementary to wine," says Chantal-Dalese. "When we visited Olive Vinegar we found somewhere that correlated a lot with wine drinking [and our own customer base]. We could also be up and running almost immediately and didn't have to build out anything. [Michael and Nicole] were also looking to add something to their lineup and they're very excited about it. We couldn’t be more pleased to work with people who are so thrilled!"
Olive Vinegar currently carries six Chateau Chantal wines and a couple of special releases. The available wines are a mix of bestsellers and some things you can't find through distribution in other wine stores, including winery-only reserve labels. Customers are able to sample the wines before purchasing.
Currently available are:
-Pinot Grigio
-Pinot Blanc
-Celebrate Sparkling Wine
-The best-selling Late Harvest Riesling
-Naughty Red
-Reserve Pinot Noir
-Limited amounts of ice wine and Cerise Noir, a dessert wine made with cherries
The space is not large enough to accommodate all 27 of Chateau Chantal's products, but customer demand will dictate what is sold there in the future.
While this is the first off-site tasting room Chateau Chantal has opened downstate, it might not be the last. The popular winery and northern Michigan destination, complete with an 11-room bed and breakfast situated on a 65-acre estate in the rolling hills of Old Mission Peninsula overlooking East Bay, has reached capacity at its on-site tasting room and needs to expand in other ways.
Which just goes to show to the rest of the wine-drinking world: Michigan wines have arrived in a major way.