Dec 3, 2018
Michigan wine pioneer Bernie Rink dies at age 92

Leelanau County, Michigan, wine pioneer Bernie Rink, died Nov. 29, 2018, surrounded by family and friends. He was 92.

According to the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, “Leelanau’s wine industry ignited in 1970 when Bernie Rink planted 15 acres of grapevines and opened Boskydel Vineyard, Leelanau’s first tasting room.”

On July 7, 2018, Rink was honored by a Boskydel Tribute, a collaboration between Good  Harbor Vineyards, Mawby Vineyards and Winery and Bel Lago Vineyards, each of whom crafted a tribute wine from Boskydel grapes.

Bernie Rink

According to MyNorth News Service“Rink, who closed Boskydel Vineyard last year at the age of 91, was the first in northern Michigan to grow commercial winegrapes and opened Leelanau Peninsula’s first bonded winery. Rink planted his vineyard in 1964 and opened Boskydel tasting room in 1976.”

In addition to his pioneer work in the wine industry, Rink, with generous help from Gene Power and Will Munnecke, was instrumental in bringing Inuit art to northern Michigan.  In his role as library director at Northwestern Michigan College, a post he held for 30 years, Rink conducted an annual Inuit Art Sale, beginning in 1960. The proceeds from the sale were used to fund purchases of Inuit art for the permanent Inuit art gallery, which exists today at the Dennos Museum on campus.

Rink was born in Avon, Ohio in 1926. He attended John Carroll University and Case Western University, where he obtained a master’s degree in Library Science.

Surviving are his children Jim (Karen) Rink, David (Sandi) Rink, Tom Rink, Chris (Sue) Rink and Andy (Myra-Oliver) Rink; six grandchildren, Beth, Paul, Jake, Matt, Tim and Katie; sister Dorothy Grant, brother Ted (Marita) Rink and many nieces and nephews

He was predeceased by his wife Suzanne and brother Carl Rink, brother-in-law Jim Grant and sister-in-law Rita Rink.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 with the Rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 with the family greeting friends at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church of Lake Leelanau. Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery will be held in the spring.  Father Bryan Medlin will serve as celebrant.

Memorials may be directed to Carmelite Monastery, 3501 Silver Lake Road, Traverse City, MI 49684-8949 and/or St. Mary’s Church, PO Box 340, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653.

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
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