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Filipo Marc Winery Makes You the Winemaker

By Pamela Sosnowski

Filipo Marc Winery of Clinton Township is just like many other wineries in that it makes a wide selection of wine varieties and hosts tastings and other special events. But what makes it stand out from the usual wineries is that it also gives visitors the chance to make their own wine, complete with its own custom label. According to owner Gerard Giacona, the winery is proving that great wine can be found right in the Midwestern U.S.

"Getting the wine experience doesn't mean that you have to drive five hours to Traverse City, or jump in a plane and go to Napa Valley or Europe to get a great experience right here in our area," he said. "Many times when people visit and enjoy what we have to offer it inspires them to possibly travel and get a broader idea of just how vast this world of wine is and live all the various styles of wineries elsewhere."

Giacona and his wife, Tressa, purchased the winery in 2004. The original owners had been inspired by the make-your-own-wine concept after visiting a similar winery in Canada. When the Giaconas acquired the business the winery only made eight wines; today it produces over 70 that range from dry to sweet and fruit blends as well as more traditional wines such as cabernet, merlot, and chardonnay. Some of the more unique fruit wines are made with kiwis, melon, limes, and coconut.

When customers make their own wine under staff supervision, they're doing so with the same equipment the winery uses, but on a smaller scale. That means authentic Italian stainless steel tanks, not plastic buckets. The wines are created under staff supervision and a digital printer is on-hand to create a custom label that can incorporate a photograph, clip art, and more, making the bottle suitable as an anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion gift.

Open wine tastings are held every Thursday through Saturday and include cheese, crackers, and sausages along with a sampling of wine for $15 per person. As Giacona explains, the event is not just a social gathering, but a chance to learn more about wine.

"We conduct educational wine tasting classes to help the novice and the seasoned wine enthusiast get the best wine experience," he said. "Wine flights (are available) for an abbreviated wine experience as well. We have painting classes and visits from a psychic medium."

The winery will be participating in the third annual Taste Festival to be held at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal in May. Giacona regularly engages with the local community by offering samples at charity events and has been invited to local colleges to speak about the history of wine to culinary students. The winery is open Monday through Saturday and the staff is happy to let visitors sample any wine before they buy it.

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About The Author

Pamela Sosnowski is a freelance writer, social media manager, contributor for REBEAT...

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