It all begins in the vineyard.
Our story started in 1992 when Tom & Abigail Fricke purchased an 80-acre tart cherry farm in Berrien County, Michigan. Tom was nearing retirement and wanted to spend more time on his hobbies, growing grapes & making wine. From his travels & research, Tom was convinced that our area in Berrien County was similar to that of the Northern Rhone of France. He believed we could successfully grow and produce Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne & Roussanne, so he began to rip out the cherry trees and plant wine grapes a few acres at a time.
Realizing a Dream
As Tom & Abigail were planting their dream vineyard their daughter and son-in-law, Katie & Wally Maurer, lived in the suburbs of Chicago, working in corporate America, but visiting on the weekends to escape city life & help on the farm. Wally & Tom had been creating small batches of wine in the basement for years, and as the harvests grew larger than their hobby could rise, they began selling grapes to other wineries in the area.
Wally & Katie had always dreamed of owning their own business. In 2001 they took the big leap and decided to turn the hobby they loved into a business by opening Domaine Berrien Cellars, a small boutique winery specializing in estate-grown wines.
A New Generation
After operating Domaine Berrien Cellar for over 20 years. Wally and Katie began to look towards their retirement and the future of Domaine Berrien Cellars. In 2022 they passed the reigns to long-time employees Amy Birk and Jacob Nivison.
Jake has a degree in Enology and Viticulture from California Polytechnic State University and a 10-year career working in vineyards and wineries in Germany, California, and Michigan.
Amy has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Marquette University and was a professor for Lake Michigan College's Wine & Viticulture program.
Using the knowledge gained from years of schooling and working under Wally and Katie, Amy and Jake hope to carry on the legacy of Domaine Berrien Cellars.