The Winery at Black Star Farms is widely admired for the award-winning wines produced from its 160-acre vineyards on both the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas. Now, the Black Star Farms is gaining kudos for its fruit-based brandies, too. At the 15th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, held in Grand Rapids on July 28-30, Black Farm’s Spirit of Pear earned first place in the “spirits” division of the competition while its Spirit of Apple took third place.

The winery began its distillery in 1999, the second year after the winery began its first crush.  Black Star Farms says its fruit-based brandies are “known as eau de vie-style spirits, a staple in some European countries. Eau de vie is French for ‘water of life.’ The spirits are clear and represent the pure essence of fermented fruit. The balance of fruit and alcohol reflects both the artisan skill of the distiller and the quality of fruit. At the precise time, the distiller feels it is optimum to showcase the ‘spirit’ of the fruit; the brandy is bottled, often a single barrel at a time. Black Star Farms produces brandies from the best local cherries, pears, plums, raspberries, and grapes and sells exclusively through their tasting room locations in Suttons Bay and Old Mission Peninsula.”

These wines and spirits can be part of a gathering at Black Star Farms. The stunning venues here include the Aquarius Room at The Inn (capacity 150), Pegasus Barn (capacity 150), Arcturos Room (capacity 50), Hearth &Vine Restaurant (capacity 40), Hilltop Vineyard and various patios and courtyards. Both multi-day retreats and single-day meetings can be arranged, with team-building opportunities that include cooking classes, wine and spirits tastings and property tours. Additional activities, like trail hiking, sailing cruises, fishing outings, golf and guided bike rides, can be arranged. For more information, visit Bring Your Meetings to Black Star Farms.

The Townsend Hotel has been stacking up kudos in 2021. Maintaining AAA Four-Diamond status throughout its 34-year history and earning a Forbes Four Star rating for the last eight consecutive years, the 150-room luxury property in the walkable neighborhood of Birmingham and just 20 miles from downtown Detroit, was awarded the Travelers’ Choice Award by Tripadvisor in May, recognition that its positive review and ratings over the past 12 months placed it in top 10 percent worldwide of all hotels.


Instagram alert! It doesn’t get more picturesque than the Mission Point Resort, located on Mackinac Island. And after a $2 million renovation to the charming Promenade Deck Pavilion, the 241-room lakeside retreat is a more scenic spot for gatherings than ever before.


The time is right; the stage is set. Groups are ready to meet face to face again, and the four-star luxury hotel MGM Grand Detroit is ready to welcome you back.

According to MPI’s report “Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook,” three-quarters of meeting professionals predict a face-to-face event this calendar year. And that definitely rings true for Lisa Williams, executive director of sales for the hotel.