The Legend of the Lost Cellars
With a dream of a new adventure and a plan to build a life for Mariana, Nunzio headed to America from Carini, Sicily aboard a boat destined for New Orleans. Leaving the love of his life was heartbreaking, and with only $15 dollars to his name, he knew the task ahead would be difficult. On Feb 14, 1903, upon arriving in the United States and meeting his good friend Faro, they headed to California. Being an immigrant, he was awarded several acres from the government with the agreement he would continuously farm it. Like any good Sicilian, Nunzio planted grapes and established a couple cellars filling them with wine made with local grapes while his vineyard took hold. After 2 years of hard work, Nunzio traveled back to Sicily to marry Mariana. The following year, returning to America through New York. Nunzio and Mariana headed to California by train only to find their land confiscated and their cellars of wine lost.
Behind the Vines
Lost Cellars (Previously Charlevoix Moon) is located just north of the 45th Parallel, about two miles east of Lake Michigan in the Tip of the Mitt American Viticultural Area (AVA). The company was established in 2007 as a vineyard supplying local wineries with four varietals of grapes and then in 2015 branched out to develop and sell custom boutique wines. These small batch award winning wines represent the best of northern Michigan, with both estate grapes and select local fruit to curate a collection of specialty wines enthusiasts search out.
Purchased by Drs. Jay and Lora Higdon from founder and winemaker Tom Jaenicke, “The Man in the Moon”, this venture fulfills a lifelong dream of the Higdons to bring their own twist of the vino lifestyle to Charlevoix. Dr. Lora Higdon, CEO and president of Autograph | Forbes Global Properties in Traverse City has a successful track record of building customer focused businesses around lifestyle and concierge services. This knowledge will build on the brand and hard work of the Janickes and bring their legacy directly to consumers with the addition of an estate tasting room.
The estate has been rebranded as Lost Cellars but will retain the vineyard brand as the “Moon Vineyard”. This preservation of Charlevoix Moon will help keep the brand loyalty alive while taking the business to the next level. Lost Cellars was incorporated in 2015 and was a result of the Higdons being exposed to several family stories about Jay’s great-great grandfather’s immigration from Sicily to start a winery in California that was eventually lost. Waiting for the right moment to bring their dreams to life, they kept the shell company alive until they found Charlevoix Moon Vineyard.