Twenty years ago on a majestic hilltop on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Robert and Nadine Begin of Chateau Chantal welcomed guests into their new French-inspired bed and breakfast, vineyard, and winery. The Begins’ earlier careers serving others as a Catholic diocese priest and Felician Sister made their role as hosts a natural endeavor.
Warm hospitality is evident even more today than 20 years ago with the expansion of the B&B from three to 11 rooms, a roomy outdoor patio, and an impressive array of wines, brandies, and culinary classes. Bob Begin still greets B&B guests with a warm smile in the sun-splashed breakfast room. Nadine shares favorite recipes and stories in her published cookbook/memoir. “Celebrate,” one of the winery’s top-selling wines since it was introduced years before as, “Carpe Diem,” is an icon of the Begins’ hospitality: a fun, semi-dry sparkling wine made with Chardonnay and a splash of red wine “for any occasion.”
Other signature libations include Cerise Cherry Port Style Dessert Wine, Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.
Well before the winery’s first bottling, the inn’s namesake, Marie-Chantal Begin-Dalese, fondly recalls playing in the cherry orchard and the planting of the farm’s vineyards in 1986, which coincided with her first Holy Communion. Fast forward to 2013 and Begin-Dalese relishes her role as director of marketing of her family’s business — and is proud to carry forth and direct the company’s vision. “Our first goal remains the same: to preserve agriculture,” she says.
“We plan a steady, slow growth of six percent a year with a focus on maintaining farming contracts and building the brands for both Chateau Chantal and, through our new partnership, Hawthorne Vineyards,” says Begin-Dalese.
Accolades abound for Chateau Chantal wines and experiences. Tasters Guild International named Chateau Chantal its 2012 Winery of the Year. Wine Enthusiast Magazine touted the destination as an “esteemed wine escape” for a bed and breakfast getaway with wine pairing and culinary classes. The Daily Meal featured Chateau Chantal as, “One of the most romantic food vacations.” The B&B was also ranked as one of the top 50 culinary schools and top 10 wine country inns in the U.S.
To celebrate the winery’s 20th year, Chateau Chantal is offering 20 days of discounts June 17 through July 6. Find the featured savings here. On July 6, stop by Chateau Chantal for treats, music and expanded tours. It’s time to celebrate!