Dusty’s Cellar continues to serve Okemos after 31 years


Small and locally owned businesses are rare and often hard to find, but in the heart of Okemos stands Dusty’s Cellar: a wine bar, tap room, bakery, and cellar all in one. For over 37 years Dusty Cellar has been providing delicious baked goods, fine wine, and fresh hand carved meat for the Meridian and Okemos area. “In 1980 my dad, Dusty, founded this establishment which started off as a bakery in Meridian Mall and then in 1981 we moved from the all into this current location and we’ve been here since”. said Matt Rhodes, the current owner. The establishment started off with a bakery, specialty food, gourmet wine and cookware, which eventually got phased out and got turned into the first restaurant and 12 years later a second restaurant was added to the same location.

State may encourage industry by easing limits on breweries

Capital News Service
LANSING — The explosion of craft beer in Michigan has the Legislature hoping the industry could benefit from relaxed regulation. Numerous bills related to the beer and wine industries were passed in the House recently, many of them designed to encourage the industry to expand. The legislation would raise the limit of barrels produced by a microbrewery from 30,000 to 60,000. As of now, a brewer that produces more than 30,000 barrels can no longer be considered a microbrewery. Microbrewers are given some tax breaks and have some flexibility in the rules of the industry, such as the ability to sell growlers, or containers that can be filled to go.

Planning for the Festival of the Sun and Moon begins

By Juliana Moxley
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING — If you want to be part of Old Town’s largest fundraising event then come out to the annual Festivals of the Moon and Sun this summer! There’s a lot that goes into putting on an excellent festival series, but the OTCA’s festival committee members are striving to further improve the fun alternative way to fundraise. The fundraising of the festivals benefits the OTCA’s programming throughout the year. The branding and promotion for events such as Chalk of the Town, Turner Street Outdoor Theater and Dickens Village are examples of what the Festival of the Sun and Moon benefit. A unique festival

The festival name was chosen because of the significant meaning that lies behind them: The festival dates revolve around the Summer Solstice.

A Mason Valentine’s Day filled with food and wine specials

By Graciella Oteto
Mason Times staff writer

As love is in the air, three Mason restaurants prepare for Valentine’s Day with drink specials, candy and special reservations this Friday. The Vault Delicatessen, a family owned independent business, offers special wine orders, candy and gift cards. Along with daily popular items like the Three Cheese Semolina bread, the deli also contains various wines, including several Michigan products. Mason resident and employee Sarah Thompson said the busiest time for business is usually during lunch.This year the deli is also selling new types of wine for the holiday, including one titled 50 Shades of Grey. “We’ve got Mason Blue too.

Made in Michigan proposal could save breweries money

Capital News Service
LANSING — Let the Germans make our beer? Michigan legislators say “no thanks” with a proposal to support the state’s own talented brewers. Rep. Doug Geiss, D-Taylor, introduced a bill in the House recently, nicknamed the “Michigan farm to glass” bill, which could give Michigan brewers, winemakers and mead makers a tax credit for using crops grown or produced in the state. The goal is to usher in a closer association between the farmers who grow the ingredients and the brewers who use them, Geiss said, and to help encourage use of Michigan crops with the surge of beer, wine and mead makers. Other states have proven that promoting the use of their crops increases the use of local hops, mead, wheat and other alcohol-related crops, said Geiss, a home brewer and a member of the House Agricultural Committee.

Will cold kill grapes? Only spring will tell

Capital News Service
LANSING — The polar vortex has Michigan wine producers worried about their crops. Cold weather is nothing new for Michigan but its vineyards are not used to recent record-breaking lows. The polar vortex in December raised concerns but cold temperatures in late-January have Michigan growers worried that their vineyards may be destroyed. Some grapes can survive temperatures as low as the negative 30s but for certain varieties that grow in Southern Michigan, temperatures even as low as 5 degrees can be dangerous. Southern Michigan was hit the hardest with temperatures as low as minus 15.

Climate change’s impact on wine grapes under study

Capital News Service
LANSING –If you sip your favorite wine and it tastes a bit funny, climate change may be the culprit. More extreme weather, like unpredictable springs and long summer droughts, is to blame for changes in grape production, said Erwin Elsner a small fruit educator at Michigan State University. Scientists say extreme weather is one of the consequences of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. What that means to wine production is as yet unclear, and it’s still too early to tell for certain, Elsner said. “If we could tell our growers that they could expect consistent warming trends, it would be beneficial, but at this point all we have is a more unpredictable climate.

Soon you may BYOB to Michigan restaurants

Capital News Service
LANSING – It’s date night. Don’t forget the cologne, your nicest earrings – and your favorite bottle of pinot grigio? Yes, it may soon be okay to “BYOB” (bring your own bottle) to your favorite restaurants. A bill introduced by Rep. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, would allow customers to bring their own bottles of wine to any establishment licensed to serve alcohol and willing to allow it. “I had visited Illinois and a few other places out of state that had these laws, and I thought it was a neat idea,” Stamas said.

Winemakers pressing for new grape varieties

Capital News Service
LANSING — As wine grape growers prepare for what many hope will be another strong season, some members of the industry also hope that this year’s crop will reflect innovation. Experiments with new grape varieties have been underway since 2007 at Michigan State University’s Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Traverse City. This year, some growers expect to see the first production of wines from at least two varieties of red grapes that are new to the state — teroldego and lagrein. They’re among a few dozen tested during the past few years in an effort to diversify the wine produced in Michigan, particularly reds. Michigan reds have been a weak point in the eyes of judges and critics, said Lee Lutes, a winemaker and general manager of Black Star Farm winery in Suttons Bay.