Bloomingdale couple with winery to open speak-easy in 2022
As Phil and Ann Mahan ended their respective careers, they turned their passion for wine into a brand new one.
After 10 years of experimenting with white wine varietals in their basement studio, the Bloomingdale couple started working to establish Mahan Family Wines in 2015, and they got their license to distribute on Aug. 3 of this year.
Now, they are eyeing a 2022 launch for their Bloomingdale speak-easy at the northwest corner of Bloomingdale Road and Lake Street. Meanwhile, their wine has been popping up around Bloomingdale at multiple events, from Halloween celebrations to the Kris Kringle Market.
The Mahans have a vineyard in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which produces about 10 tons of grapes per year, a net yield of 5,000 bottles of wine. Southwest Michigan, already famous for producing fruit, is now getting a reputation for excellent wines and wine grapes.
The Mahans grow chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Grüner and Viognier grapes -- all white wines.
Bottles can go for $30 or $40 or can be bought in bundles every month or every three months. Prices range from $170 a quarter for six bottles, to $320 for 12.
The couple invested around $750,000 in the speak-easy, which is currently open by reservation only. In 2022, it will open to the general public on a more regular schedule, they say.
Since getting involved in 2015, the Mahans have been learning the wine industry.
"We didn't want to just take the path of most retirements where we start downsizing and play golf," Ann said. "We really wanted to start something that made us stay active that we truly cared about.
"If we want to make this our 'encore career,' we wanted to make sure it was something that we truly cared about."
Phil, 62, a trained agriculturalist, said navigating the wine industry has taken time and even more education. He completed an advanced degree in winemaking at the University of California at Davis, specifically for this purpose.
Ann, 60, said that their love of wine was born on a trip through Europe -- specifically, on a "wine train" ride in Austria where they sampled wines of other countries.
Traveling also gave them the inspiration to start their own winery business right in their hometown, believing as they do that the Midwest has untapped potential as a wine capital.
Currently, Mahan Family Wines ship to Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wyoming, and California ... with more states added each month.
The speak-easy is open 6 to 10 p.m. on select nights. To reserve it, or to just buy wine, visit https://www.mahanfamilywines.com/ for dates and purchases.