About Us

About Us

Located in the beautiful fields of Leelanau Peninsula, the Gill’s Pier Vineyard and Winery offers award-winning wines in an exquisite atmopshere. From Cabernet Franc to Semi-Dri Riesling, our wines will delight your palate and fill your senses. Founded by Ryan and Kris Sterkenburg in 2002, Gill's Pier embodies the quality of the boutique vineyards of France and California with the approachability of a local winery.

The Grounds

With the foundation of Gill's Pier, it was important to the Sterkenburgs to create an inviting entrance to the winery, cutting straight through the middle of the hay fields it sits in. The potato wagon made in the late 1800s by the Harrison Wagon Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, sets at the entrance. Two large rocks, original to the property, flank the driveway. Rows of newly planted vines give the feel of driving into a Northern "Tara".

The grounds have been a work in progress, starting with the pergola style porch area surrounding the front of the tasting room. Trumpet vines provide shade and a bright red bell provides the "call to guests" to wine taste. Perennials adorn the stone walkway to the viewing pond, while annuals lustfully grow in two colorful wood barrel posts by the door entrance. On the stone patio down by the pond sits inviting furniture for the destination visitor. The viewing pond has become the showcase just off to the west of the tasting room facility.

Tasting Room

The tasting room is a pole barn (and a large one at that), it is located in the middle of the fields. It may not look like a wine tasting room on the outside, but once through the doors flanked by Bacchus faces, you'll know your tasting experience will be a memorable one. The official opening of the tasting room was May of 2004.

The Gill's Pier Name

Gill's Pier was an actual Bohemian settlement that existed in the area where the vineyard and winery tasting facility is located. The pier was erected on the west shore of Leelanau Peninsula, along with a saw and shingle mill. William Gill and his son Wilbur were the owners and operators of the mill. The Gill's Pier was where logs were brought in for the mill. At the height of activity in the late 1800s, the settlement consisted of 12 houses, a general store (now Fischer's Happy Hour Tavern), a post office and St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church.

Kris and Ryan wanted to honor the name Gill's Pier and felt a connection to the early settlers by doing the very same thing just 100 years later. Now the Gill's Pier area is known for Gill's Pier Vineyard and Winery.