Chateau Grand Traverse donates $10,000 to DNR for tree planting

'The Wines of the Great Outdoors' series supports state parks, trails and waterways.
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DNR Statewide News

April 28, 2016

Contact: Maia Turek (DNR), 989-225-8573 or Elizabeth Smith (Chateau Grand Traverse), 231-223-7355

Chateau Grand Traverse donates $10,000 to DNR as part of 'The Wines of the Great Outdoors' series

This first year of program funding will support tree planting in Michigan state parks

Chateau Grand Traverse check presentationToday, Chateau Grand Traverse Winery made a $10,000 donation to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to replace diseased trees in Michigan state parks. The donation, the first in a three-year partnership between the winery and the DNR, was given during a special check presentation held at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon. Officials with the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and other industry-related organizations also were on hand today.

In May 2015, Chateau Grand Traverse (CGT) introduced the "The Wines of the Great Outdoors" series in partnership with the DNR, with a portion of all proceeds committed to support Michigan’s parks, trails and waterways. The partnership brings together the best of two of Michigan’s natural resources  agricultural and recreation – with the goal of generating financial support for the state’s parks. CGT has been selling three wines in the outdoors series across Michigan and is sharing with the DNR approximately 50 percent of the net profits from sales.

In order to best serve the specific interests of outdoor enthusiasts in the state, the public was asked to vote on how the donated funds would be allocated. More than 1,300 Michigan residents went online to cast their votes among three projects: improving wayfinding trail signage, improving accessibility or replacing trees. After one year of c
ollecting votes, an overwhelming majority were in favor of replacing trees lost to disease.

Today, one day ahead of Arbor Day, CGT President Eddie O’Keefe presented the DNR with a $10,000 check.

“As wine grape growers, we are committed to being stewards of the land," O'Keefe said at the presentation. "To be able to support our state parks with a significant tree-planting program, we can enhance the beauty of our natural areas for people to enjoy for many generations to come.”

The $10,000 donation will fund the planting of nearly 200 trees that were felled due to disease. From Belle Isle Park to the Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s forests have been hit with several devastating diseases and infestations, most notably oak wilt and emerald ash borer. Spread by moving firewood into parks, these diseases have forced the DNR to remove thousands of hazardous trees to ensure camper safety. Trees to be planted will specifically be selected to fit the ecoregion and be native species for that area.

Aside from the formal donation, CGT has incurred more than $12,000 in marketing costs in order to produce, develop and market a new brand in support of the DNR. The “Wines of the Great Outdoors” series was the first new brand introduced by the winery in more than nine years and has seen great success so far.

“The positive feedback and support we’ve received from wine distributors, retailers and restaurants alike show the value we all place on maintaining the natural beauty of our state parks,” said O’Keefe.

Chateau Grand Traverse Winery"We are proud to partner with private businesses like Chateau Grand Traverse that show so much support for public lands,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “This relationship will go a long way toward encouraging residents to get out and enjoy Michigan’s woods and water, while helping the DNR share the story about real threats to natural resources and opportunities to improve recreation experiences for everyone.”

Online voting reopens today with new recreation funding options. The public can visit to cast their online votes. The three choices are:

  • Recycling: Improving recycling options in Michigan state parks. Funds will purchase additional recycling bins in parks that currently don't recycle.
  • Natural playgrounds: Creating playgrounds that celebrate play options in nature, and are designed for children of all abilities.
  • Tree replacement: The reigning champion! Continuing to replace trees that have been lost to disease or infestation.

The three wines – appropriately named Woods, Waters and Picnic – can be found in stores throughout Michigan. For more information on the partnership and the wine, visit

/Editors’ note: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Suggested captions follow.

CGTWineHighResolution: The three wines – appropriately named Woods, Waters and Picnic – are part of Chateau Grand Traverse's "The Wines of the Great Outdoors" series and can be found in stores throughout Michigan. A portion of the proceeds has been committed to support Michigan’s state parks, trails and waterways.

CGTCheckPresentation.jpg: Chateau Grand Traverse Winery presented a $10,000 check to the Department of Natural Resources as part of "The Wines of the Great Outdoors" series April 28 at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. This first year of program funding will support tree planting in Michigan state parks. Pictured left to right (back row): Jim Spicer (Great Lakes Wine & Spirits), Tom Zuiderveen (Alliance Beverage) and Justin Givens (DNR). Pictured left to right (front row): Karel Bush (Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council), Eddie O'Keefe (Chateau Grand Traverse Winery), Scott Pratt (DNR), Heidi Frei (DNR) and Pat Whalen (DNR)./

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

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