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Categories => Monroe History => Topic started by: BigRedDog on May 13, 2012, 10:05:17 AM

Title: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on May 13, 2012, 10:05:17 AM
I don't have any links to post...  just trying to get the topic started in hopes others will have something to contribute. 

We raise grapes and play around with making some wine when we have a good crop (and time).  I have read many articles over the years about the vineyards and grapes in the area.  Remember, the River Raisin is a loose translation for "River of the Grapes" ;) ;) ;)

I have read that Pointe Aux Peaux was a big vineyard at one time.  Also the area along Laplaisance where the outlet mall was built and even on Dog Lady Island.

I still believe the area could compete with the west Michigan wine industry if we would just "get to it"!

Please post any links or photos or just your thoughts :) :) :)
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on July 30, 2013, 08:21:06 AM
Here's a link to read a little on some of the several vineyards and wineries in the pre-prohibition days of Monroe County.

http://monroe.lib.mi.us/eresearch/recommended_sites/history/bygones_monroe/point_winery.htm
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: The Fuzz on July 30, 2013, 05:32:02 PM
I wonder if the wild grapes that the French said were plentiful along the river, and therefore its name, were grapes that wine could have been made from.  Not sure I have ever seen wild grapes.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: sammy on July 30, 2013, 07:05:31 PM
Not positive, but I believe wine can be made from wild grapes.If you traverse the river by Grape, I'm fairly sure you will see wild grapes.If I wasn't retired and so far away, I'd check it out for you!
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Mayonnaise on July 30, 2013, 07:08:57 PM
I wonder if the wild grapes that the French said were plentiful along the river, and therefore its name, were grapes that wine could have been made from.  Not sure I have ever seen wild grapes.

That is how the river got its name. La Rivière aux Raisins. It has been written in several local history books that they were plentiful to the Indians. They could literally go by in their canoes and pick them from the vines.

I've been interested in Snake Island which later was renamed Bruckners Island but haven't been able to locate it. Until today. I thought at first the island was removed like some others but comparing old maps, it may have been "connected" to the main land. I remember reading that it was named Snake Island because it had the shape of a snake. I also remember a story when I was younger about why it was called Snake Island.

The story goes... That there was a variety of different species of snakes on the island and there were quite a few that were very venomous. To get rid of the snakes, fifty hogs were loaded on a boat (or boats) and taken to the island and released for a season. The hogs if bitten by a snake was not effected because of the fat and the poison couldn't get into their blood stream. The hogs would trample and probably eat the snakes. Sometime in the fall, just before winter set in, the hogs were removed from the island and taken someplace where a big hole was dug and the hogs were slaughtered. Snake venom in the fat of hogs was not good to eat. So if this story is true, then there is a mass grave of hogs somewhere around Monroe.
If where I think Bruckners Island (Snake Island) was, then either the grave is somewhere on the north side of the river or, it was dug up during the buildup of factories and went on unnoticed (not reported) or it was buried near the marsh area and has never been touched. That is, if  the story is true.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: The Fuzz on July 30, 2013, 08:06:58 PM
I recall hearing about Snake Island out on Lake Erie.  I think it is even labeled as such on the navigation maps I keep on the boat.
From Wiki

Quote
Lake Erie

Only Monroe County has territory in the westernmost portion of Lake Erie, which has a surface elevation of 571 ft (174 m). The islands in the southern portion of the county are part of the North Maumee Bay Archeological District of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, in which Turtle Island is the only island in the state of Michigan that is shared by another state. This remote and tiny island is cut in half and shared with Ohio. While not distinct named islands in their own right, Sterling State Park and Pointe Mouillee are situated on several islands.


http://monroe.lib.mi.us/eresearch/recommended_sites/history/bygones_monroe/snake_island.htm (http://monroe.lib.mi.us/eresearch/recommended_sites/history/bygones_monroe/snake_island.htm)

Bygones of Monroe:

SNAKE ISLAND A FORMAL CHANGE OF THE NAME

On Saturday, the 26th inst., the Orchard Committee of the State Pomological Society visited Mr. Bruckner.s vineyard on Snake Island, which was entered for a premium. After the committee had completed the examination and the party, including the committee, the Messrs. Ilgenfritz of Monroe Nurseries, Mr. Bruckner and his family and other ladies had assembled at the boat landing to return, Mr. Adams.of Kalamazoo county, asked that the debarkation be delayed a few moments, as he had something of importance to say before the party assembled; and he would move that the name of the island be changed.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Charles Ilgenfritz. The chairman of the Orchard Committee, Mr. Betts, of St. Joseph Co., said: "Ladies and gentlemen, that this island may hereafter possess a more euphonious title . a name more agreeable and pleasing to the imagination and more appropriate withal, it is moved and seconded that a change be made. Are you ready for the question?." The question was put and carried unanimously; whereupon the said Mr. Adams again moved this island be known hereafter and forever by the name and title of "Bruckner's Lotus Island."

This is one of the few places in this county where the Egyptian Lotus is found. It grows about the shores quite plentifully, and in various other parts of Plum Creek Bay and in the bayous near the mouth of the River Raisin.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Mayonnaise on July 30, 2013, 08:32:39 PM
Here is part from the "Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Pomological Society of ..., Volume 4"
1874

http://books.google.com/books?id=bNzhAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=river+aux+raisin+bruckners+island&source=bl&ots=1gAWlGLIBj&sig=gz1zrv6i92eKRIoGQOGeIhD_pJI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UlD4UfnnHdO84AP_4IHIAQ&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=river%20aux%20raisin%20bruckners%20island&f=false

We next visited a vineyard on Snake Island, owned by the same gentleman. This island lies a few rods from the main land, in an arm of the lake. We found a little chaloupe ready to take us across, and made our way through the grass and lilies which grow up quite thickly. The island is only a few feet above the water, and is surrounded by grassy borders. About this island a variety of the lotus grows quite plentifully, which is very rarely found in this country. It is the white flowering.

The island was called Snake Island, from its supposed resemblance in form to the renowned but ugly reptile of that name. It contains ten or twelve acres, of which four acres are in grapes and one acre in pears. The soil is a black loam resting on clay. No lime rock or stone of any kind appears here. The grapes are very sweet. Isabellas are ripe September 26th; Catawbas nearly so. The vines are trained to stakes, and they have made a most vigorous growth. The leaves are enormous in size, and for healthful appearance they are not equaled by any which the committee have seen in their examinations. Some of the Catawbas, received by members of the committee a week later than the date of their visit, were fully ripe, and were equal in color, flavor, and aroma to the Catawbas of Kelly's Island.
________________________________________________________________________________________
When I first looked at the DTE map links that BRD posted, it appeared that an island that resembled a snake is now the Marina on the north side of the river by the battlefield. With what is described above, it resembles an island on the north side of Plum Creek where the Lotus is known to grow. But by the map, it looks like it's connected to the mainland part. But then again, they said they had to go through the grass and lilies so perhaps they were so thick that from the air, it looked like solid ground? It also resembles the shape of a snake.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on July 30, 2013, 10:29:04 PM
I wonder if the wild grapes that the French said were plentiful along the river, and therefore its name, were grapes that wine could have been made from.  Not sure I have ever seen wild grapes.


We have wild grapevines in our woods...  it's actually hard to get rid of them.  But the grapes on them are very small probably a quarter or even a fifth the size of our Concord grapes...   and very sour and bitter.  I don't know if there are different varieties of wild grapes in this immediate area but I wouldn't want wine made from them unless it was mixed with something with a better flavor.


I recall hearing about Snake Island out on Lake Erie.  I think it is even labeled as such on the navigation maps I keep on the boat.
From Wiki

[url]http://monroe.lib.mi.us/eresearch/recommended_sites/history/bygones_monroe/snake_island.htm[/url] ([url]http://monroe.lib.mi.us/eresearch/recommended_sites/history/bygones_monroe/snake_island.htm[/url])

Bygones of Monroe:

SNAKE ISLAND A FORMAL CHANGE OF THE NAME

On Saturday, the 26th inst., the Orchard Committee of the State Pomological Society visited Mr. Bruckner.s vineyard on Snake Island, which was entered for a premium. After the committee had completed the examination and the party, including the committee, the Messrs. Ilgenfritz of Monroe Nurseries, Mr. Bruckner and his family and other ladies had assembled at the boat landing to return, Mr. Adams.of Kalamazoo county, asked that the debarkation be delayed a few moments, as he had something of importance to say before the party assembled; and he would move that the name of the island be changed.

The motion was seconded by Mr. Charles Ilgenfritz. The chairman of the Orchard Committee, Mr. Betts, of St. Joseph Co., said: "Ladies and gentlemen, that this island may hereafter possess a more euphonious title . a name more agreeable and pleasing to the imagination and more appropriate withal, it is moved and seconded that a change be made. Are you ready for the question?." The question was put and carried unanimously; whereupon the said Mr. Adams again moved this island be known hereafter and forever by the name and title of "Bruckner's Lotus Island."

This is one of the few places in this county where the Egyptian Lotus is found. It grows about the shores quite plentifully, and in various other parts of Plum Creek Bay and in the bayous near the mouth of the River Raisin.


I've often wondered if this isn't Dog Lady Island...  I've seen a few articles that mention there being a pig farm on the island at one time.  Depending on how high or low the water is it could be close to the size mentioned.  Everything I've ever read has said it was in Plum Creek Bay...  maybe it's now part of the base of I-75 and we never will see it again ;) ;) ;)
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: The Fuzz on July 31, 2013, 06:19:27 AM
It occurred to me last night that the island I was thinking about on the nav charts was Rattlesnake Island.....out near the Sisters.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Professor H on July 31, 2013, 10:15:12 AM

I still believe the area could compete with the west Michigan wine industry if we would just "get to it"!

We have a vew vines that are probably over a Century - and once I learned how to trim them properly - produce a nice grape.   I even built a grape covered gazebo type opening with them providing a shaded area over a few benches.

What many don't know is that we are between the lattitude of Napa Valley and the French Wine country,  here in Michigan... 

The cool evenings and sunny days and the soil all lend to the development of and taste of the grapes.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on July 31, 2013, 11:22:13 AM
It occurred to me last night that the island I was thinking about on the nav charts was Rattlesnake Island.....out near the Sisters.


(http://caskaorg.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83452410969e20133f231193d970b-800wi)
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: The Fuzz on July 31, 2013, 01:25:32 PM
Yup......I took the boat over there chasing walleye out in deeper waters late on summer and discovered Put In Bay.  It was hard to explain a fishing trip that lasted 3 days.
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on August 01, 2013, 08:40:22 AM
Here's a link to a site with lots of historic info on making wine in America.  The Monroe area is mentioned a couple of times.

http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft967nb63q&chunk.id=0&doc.view=print
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: rwwjr on August 01, 2013, 12:37:38 PM
Yup......I took the boat over there chasing walleye out in deeper waters late on summer and discovered Put In Bay.  It was hard to explain a fishing trip that lasted 3 days.

Lightweight.  Only 3 days?
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: The Fuzz on August 01, 2013, 05:23:51 PM
Lightweight.  Only 3 days?

LOL,,,,,,Mrs. Fuzz used to swing a mean right hook back in those days.  I used to hate it when she would retaliate while I was sound asleep!
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on August 01, 2013, 06:36:21 PM
I'd only worked down here for a few days when one of my bosses asked me if I'd like to "head over to Frosty's for a pizza" one night after work :o :o :o
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on October 05, 2013, 09:40:16 AM
The 'snip' below is from the 1876 online plat map at:  http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/65303/Monroe+City+1/Monroe+County+1876/Michigan/ (http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/65303/Monroe+City+1/Monroe+County+1876/Michigan/)

The red 'arrows' are mine...

I have rotated the map 90 degrees from north (which is now to your right) to make it easier to read the names of the wineries and vineyards.  I did note the Roeder Brewery too since it was sort of a landmark at the time.  It was located just south of where the VFW post on Laplaisance and Jones Ave. is now (note:  Jones did not extend clear through at that time).

The Reisig name appears on other parcels in the area so seems conceivable to me that these could have also been planted to grapes at the time.


(http://i905.photobucket.com/albums/ac260/bigreddog1/ReisigVineyard_zps4b6bc74a.jpg) (http://s905.photobucket.com/user/bigreddog1/media/ReisigVineyard_zps4b6bc74a.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on October 05, 2013, 09:54:03 AM
Below is a snip from:  http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/65307/Monroe+Township++Lake+Erie++Plum+Creek+Bay/Monroe+County+1876/Michigan/ (http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/65307/Monroe+Township++Lake+Erie++Plum+Creek+Bay/Monroe+County+1876/Michigan/)



Two different islands in Plum Creek are showing as vineyards on the 1876 plat map.  The one on the left also shows the name of the island as 'Flo Anna' which is a new name to me!

(http://i905.photobucket.com/albums/ac260/bigreddog1/PlumCreekIslandVineyards1859_zpscd16ff98.jpg) (http://s905.photobucket.com/user/bigreddog1/media/PlumCreekIslandVineyards1859_zpscd16ff98.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Maverick on October 05, 2013, 10:17:25 AM
BRD
There's a period after Flo so it could be an abbreviation of a longer name.
Mav
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on October 05, 2013, 10:22:19 AM
BRD
There's a period after Flo so it could be an abbreviation of a longer name.
Mav

Good eyes Mav...   so what would 'Flo' be an abbreviation for :-\ :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Monique on October 05, 2013, 03:06:26 PM
Florence?
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: Maverick on October 05, 2013, 06:34:25 PM
I have a physical copy of that plat book. I'll pull it down and see if there isn't any kind of ownership index like there is in the more recent plat books
Title: Re: Grape Vineyards and Wineries in Monroe.
Post by: BigRedDog on July 02, 2014, 12:30:05 PM
A great article on The Blade website today...

it mentions some of the history or grapes and wine in Monroe:

http://www.toledoblade.com/Gardening/2014/07/02/Making-wine-in-Monroe-Co-1(copy).html (http://www.toledoblade.com/Gardening/2014/07/02/Making-wine-in-Monroe-Co-1(copy).html)