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The Red Wines at Aurora Cellars and The Method That Goes Into Making Them


Wine has been enjoyed by people since the beginning of time. Historians say red wine has long been associated with ancient Egyptians and was enjoyed by the Greek and Romans cultures as well.

At Aurora Cellars, we grow and produce a wide variety of exquisite cool climate red wines. From our Blaufränkisch to our Radiance, there is sure to be something that will satisfy your taste buds. 

Production Method

There are many steps to producing red wine. When it comes to producing our award-winning red wines, Head Winemaker Drew Perry sticks to the fairly traditional – but methodical – approach. 

“We spend as much time as needed to extract color and texture from the skins,” said Perry. “We keep the skins saturated until we press.” Once the saturation process is complete, the wine is then moved to the barrels for aging and will remain in the barrel to soften for as time as needed. The wines will be pulled from the barrel once the palate is developed to our satisfaction. 

While Northern Michigan is a cool climate growing region, Perry explains the techniques to produce red wine are fairly similar, but we do need to be more diligent in our efforts to extract the color and tannin. From a winemaking perspective, producing red wines in a cool climate is very difficult. Perrys says this is because “we have occasional seasons that don’t always fully ripen many red varieties.” When this happens, Perry and his team need to be more creative in how they adjust the chemistry and decision making when it comes to what needs to be extracted.

Red Wine Offerings


Blaufränkisch is an Austrian red wine that has a vein of acidity and big tannins. With age, Blaufränkisch develops a subtle and lush texture and taste. When enjoying this variety, your taste buds will experience hints of blackberry, tart cherry, and elegant citrus-like spice. 

When producing the 2018 vintage of this wine, Head Winemaker Drew Perry fermented the fruit in an open top fermenter for 18 days before it was pressed. After being pressed, it was blended and put into French oak barrels for 24 months. Perry was able to showcase the aromatics of blueberry and cracked black pepper.

If you are looking to pair a glass of this wine with a meal, experts recommend rich, grilled foods due to levels of acid with moderate tannin. It would also go well with a delicious serving of wild game or lamb.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of the parent grapes to Cabernet Sauvignon along with Sauvignon Blanc. Experts say the crossing of the two grapes happened during the middle 1600s in southwestern France. With aging, Cabernet Franc will develop high acidity and crunchy tannins that you will be able to sense right at the front of your mouth.

This award-winning wine is a perfect example of what Cabernet Franc can be. If you like a medium-bodied red wine, Cabernet Franc is the direction you should lean. Consumers love Cabernet Franc for its savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium high acidity and mouthwatering taste.

Medium in body, this red wine will pair well with a wide variety of foods. The higher acidity in the Cabernet Franc pairs well with tomato-based dishes, vinegar-based sauces or rich veggies. The one thing you need to remember when pairing a glass of this long-loved wine is to match it with real herbs in your dish. We recommend pairing our Cabernet Franc with roasted or grilled lamb, beef or veal.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is known to be the world’s most popular light-bodied red wine. Fans of this wine love it for its red fruit, floral, and spice aromas that are highlighted by its long, smooth finish. The vines of Pinot Noir tend to thrive in more intermediate climates that have long, cool growing seasons near protected valleys or large bodies of water – like Northern Michigan. 

Our Pinot Noir is produced from two different vineyard sites and is also a mix of clone 115 and clone 777. Before being bottled, the wine spent 14 months in a mix of new,  second and third use French oak barrels. Head Winemaker Drew Perry let the juice sit on the skins for two weeks to extract color before putting it through two different fermentations. You’ll enjoy the aromas of classic bing cherry with the taste of clove and lovely vanilla on the finish. 

If you’re looking to pair this wine with food, you won’t go wrong with duck, chicken, pork and mushrooms given its higher acidity and lower tannin.

Aurora Cellars also offers two other red wines that are a blend of a few grape varieties. Perry produced our Rosso with a blend of Syrah and Merlot. When drinking this full-bodied red wine, your nose will experience red fruit notes while your palate will experience a long finish with structured tannins. It will pair well with grilled red meat and game. 

Our popular Radiance has a current blend of 75% Blaufränkisch and 25% Merlot. This combination results in a dry, fruity, and smooth wine that can be enjoyed with darker poultry, most types of game, and lean cuts of red meat.

There are several characteristics to a great red wine. According to Perry, a great red wine, first and foremost, is varietally correct in its aromatic and flavor profile. “A great red wine doesn’t need food, but food can benefit from being paired with it,” exclaims Perry. Red wines should have a strong tannin structure to give it longevity and become silkier with time.

Stop into our tasting room to try our line of award-winning cool climate red wines today either in a flight, tasting or a glass of your favorite!