Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Grand Opening

Last Saturday we had our Grand Opening Event, and it was everything we hoped for and more. So many good people came out to try our wines. We saw some old friends and met some new ones. It is so gratifying, after spending so long planting and growing grapes, building a winery, and making the wines, to find that people really do like our wines. I mean, WE always knew we knew what we were doing, but validation is GOLD.

I especially want to thank Erika Aylward, Tim Monger, Lauren Utter and Nick Lepeschkin-Noel for helping to make our event special. Erika did the cheese trays for us, with cheeses from her Boulevard market in Tecumseh beautifully arranged. She always has a delicious supply of domestic and imported cheeses, along with cheeses from Four Corners Creamery, made in Tecumseh by her husband John Aylward. Boulevard also has all kinds of unique gourmet foods, wine, and beer. Such a fun place to browse when you want something special. If you need a cheese plate for a special Christmas gathering, I highly recommend Boulevard.

Tim Monger provided some musical ambiance to our event. He is a favorite singer/songwriter of mine, and we hope he will return next spring for some fair weather concerts in the vineyard. If you'd like to hear his songs without the noise of our tasting room, visit his website:
Tim is also a founding member of the music group Great Lakes Myth Society, and will be with them on New Years Day at 11:45 playing Mittenfest at Woodruff's in Ypsilanti.

Nick and Lauren are our Media Team and they came to shoot photos and video of the event. When things got very busy very fast they moved in to help with sales and customer service and I don't know what we would have done without them. They also brought some delicious homemade breads to go with our wine that were very well received by our customers.

We were very excited to set some all time sales records for Flying Otter last Saturday. Considering it was our first day that wasn't too hard, but I'm sure it will be a while before we are able to top it. We are down to only one case of 2010 Northern Lights, so if it was your favorite, you might want to stop by to be sure you have some for Christmas. We will release our 2011 Northern Lights in early 2012.

We are now open for business, but our hours are somewhat flexible. We are open Saturdays and Sundays through December 18th from noon to 6 PM. We can be open by appointment, just call to let us know you are coming and we will make arrangements. If you are in Lenawee County we will deliver an order of 3 bottles or more to you. Just call 877-876-5580 or email for delivery. You can order through our website and mark it "hold for pickup at winery" and we will have it ready, or email for local delivery. If you are farther in MI, we can ship via Fedex. We recommend at least three bottles to get the best deal on shipping. Outside of MI, we regret that we do not yet have licensing to ship outside the state. Each state requires separate licensing and we are currently evaluating the regulations to determine where it will be possible for us to ship.

We want to thank everyone who helped spread the word about our Grand Opening to make it so successful. We thank the Daily Telegram,Michigan Wines, Sue Osgood and Food For Thought Magazine, Michigan By The Bottle, Pure Michigan, Local, and others and so many of our Facebook friends for getting the message out.

We are looking forward to growing our business, with your help, and making our wines at our Lenawee County home in the years to come. Southeast Michigan is becoming a new Michigan Wine area, and we are happy to be a part of a growing wine community.

Thanks to everyone for giving us a fantastic start!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flying Otter Audio Podcast #1 Released!

As part of our ongoing effort to educate and entertain we will periodically, on a somewhat regular basis, be publishing a podcast. The first podcast features Bob and Linda Utter discussing the origins of the Flying Otter Winery. Future podcasts will feature Jeff and Sarah Utter, co-founders of the Flying Otter Winery as well as other distinguished wine and winery related guests from our local area here in Southeast Michigan. We hope you enjoy the podcasts and we welcome your comments and feedback. If there is anything in particular that you would like us to discuss, just let us know.

If you use iTunes to listen to podcasts, just search for "Flying Otter" in your iTunes app.

Or, you can access the .mp3 file directly at this URL:
Podcast #1 Introduction and History

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying Otter Winery Grand Opening!

It has been a very interesting journey, but we are finally nearing a major milestone for our family business.  We hope you will join us for our Grand Opening Event on Nov. 26th, 2011 from noon to 6 p.m.  We will have wine tasting, conversation, musical entertainment featuring Tim Monger (, and additional treats and surprises. 

We are located at 3402 Chase Road, Adrian, MI  49221.
Visit for more details, maps, and more.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Flying Otter on YouTube

We recently enlisted the support of a Media Team to help us show you some of the the things that we are doing at the Flying Otter Vineyard and Winery. We are enjoying the process of seeing ourselves at work, and watching the progress in our evolution from start-up vineyard to wine producers. This video is just a short introduction. Our YouTube channel can be found here: and additional individual videos are here:
Planting Video
Flying Otter History


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food and Wine Pairing 101

Here at the Flying Otter Vineyard and Winery we are all about food and wine pairing. Our mantra is "Wine is sunshine in a bottle, meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, food and music". So let's talk a little about enjoying wine with food.

The vast majority of people who drink wine in the US are new wine drinkers, who prefer sweet, fruity wines. That's OK. I'll admit that boxed white zinfandel in the fridge is how I first started drinking wine with meals. It's a style that's more approachable than the dry, acidic, or tannic wines. However, it's the dry, acidic, and tannic wines that make the best food wines, and this is a style that I would like to see more people learn to appreciate. Just as many people grow-out of drinking Light Beer and Kool-Aid, many wine drinkers start to move toward drier and more bitter-tasting (tannic) wines over time. So, many of those "new" wine drinkers who prefer sweet wines now, may prefer a drier style down the road.

The majority of Americans don't sit down to dinner with a glass of wine (although, I do). Whether it's sitting down to delivery pizza or a meal prepared with some love and effort, for most of us, eating is a time to relax. It's the one time of day where we can be alone with our thoughts, or be joined by friends and family. When we have a good dining experience it tends to be a memorable experience - even if it's simply pizza with friends. For many people, wine is associated with fancy dinners or special occasions (anniversaries, weddings, holidays...). Shouldn't wine be a part of everyday occasions?

For many people, the idea of pairing food with wine is daunting. They think they need special training, or that they aren't that sophisticated. The fact is, most people already have had experience with good food and beverage pairings their whole lives. It doesn't take a sophisticated palate to experience the pleasure of warm cookies with a glass of cold milk, or perhaps the satisfaction of warm, salty pretzels and a cold beer. We all know that something tart and acidic like lemonade tastes awful with cookies, or that something syrupy sweet isn't right alongside a grilled steak. If wine is thought of as more a condiment or seasoning, then it makes wine and food pairing less daunting. Imagine squeezing a lemon, or pouring vinegar over fried fish. Now think of drinking a nice dry, acidic white wine with that same piece of fish. See, easy!

That's not to say that sweet wines don't pair well with food. It's just that it can be more difficult to find a wine with the right kind of sweetness to balance-out the meal. For example, if you're serving something savory (like pork), apple sauce or a baked apple is a traditional accompaniment, i.e. a food pairing. A wine that has the same level of sweetness as the apples could be a good compliment (say, an off-dry St. Pepin, or why not an off-dry apple wine). If, however, you pair something that is much sweeter, the balance is thrown off. You have the wine competing with the food rather than complimenting it. Slightly sweet wines can also help tame the heat in spicy foods (like Thai or Indian dishes), but go too sweet and the wine will overpower the food. However, when serving a sweet wine with dessert, you want the wine to be as sweet or even sweeter than the dessert. For example, dark chocolate with a very sweet raspberry dessert wine, or cheese cake using a cherry dessert wine as the topping.

One of my very favorite food and wine pairings is a creamy Gorgonzola cheese with a nice dry red wine. Spread a little creamy Gorgonzola and a crisp, fresh baguette and try it combined with a French Cote Du Rhone or a Michigan Marquette. They taste great together, better than each tastes separately.

The best way to learn what works with a particular wine is to try a food and wine together, experiment. Remember that a great food and wine pairing makes the the whole greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, cheese cake tastes good, raspberry dessert wine tastes good, but together they taste great!. And another thing, your mother may have taught you to swallow your food before you take a drink. Unfortunately, this is not the optimum way to enjoy a wine and food pairing. Don't be afraid to try a little of both at the same time. Let the food and wine mingle in your mouth. Are they better together than each alone? If so, you have a great wine and food pairing.