Blessing the Blossoms (and vineyards) in Traverse City

“After a winter like the one we just had, I think we vinters can use all the help we can get.”
~ winemaker Robert Brengman

Asking for help from a higher power is something probably as old as agriculture itself, and something that goes back generations here in Traverse City. While the blossoms are being held up by the new “Endless Winter” plan we are apparently operating under, we hope that things will return to normal soon and offer these upcoming events as a ray of hope.

traverse city cherry blossoms

East Bay Cherry Blossoms by Phil Balyeat (courtesy Don Harrison/UpNorth Memories)

The annual National Cherry Festival got its start around 1910 when Traverse City cherry growers began to hold “blessing of the blossoms” ceremonies each year at blossom time in May.

Businesses jumped on the bandwagon in 1925 for the formalized “Blessing of the Blossoms Festival” which was such a big deal that in 1930 they expanded to 3 days and had President Herbert Hoover at the opening! The next year the Cherry Festival was declared a national affair, but in 1933 they moved it to summer.

As far as we know, there are no current, formalized events to bless the cherry blossoms, but there are a couple that seek to aid the new power crop, wine grapes.

The Feast of St Vincent

The Feast of St Vincent

Brengman Brothers winery will hold their annual Feast of St. Vincent celebration on Saturday, April 26th. St. Vincent of Saragossa is the patron saint of winemakers, and the event features a procession to the vineyard with volunteers carrying banners and statues, stopping to bless each vineyard block. It includes tasting of the wines from past harvests and a hearty brunch at the winery and is free to Brengman Fan Club Members and $25 per person for non-members.

For more information and reservations, call the winery at 231-946-2764.

Blessing the Blossoms (and barrels) at Chateau Chantal

Blessing the Blossoms (and barrels) at Chateau Chantal

The winemakers of Old Mission hold their Blossom Day event to celebrate the renewal of spring as well, opening their cellar doors and invite you to sample their yet-to-be-released wines and meet the winemakers. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event (while supplies last) and the ticket price includes a souvenir glass and special Blossom Day tastes at all eight wineries.

There will also be a non-denominational blessing of the blossoms ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 18th at Chateau Chantal.

While the wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula don’t have a formalized blossom celebration, they do hold a Sip & Savor event in celebration of spring.

Here’s a video from Sharon & Dave that features their blossom time excursions on Old Mission – bring on the spring!!