We were going up to the loft at The Royce and it we were going to do a wine tasting with Mike Laing who I had thought was the winemaker at Mawby Wine, as I knew that he and his brother were making wines in a side building off of the parking lot at Mawby with their own label bigLITTLE. I was kind of right and kind of wrong, as you will note later. I went back in the archives and the first of multiple articles about Mawby was back in 23 October 2012 “October Birthdays and a Dinner” and I had only begun writing my blog in May 2012, but I had been drinking wine for decades before then. I was even surprised that they were making the house bubbly for The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Years back, there was a group of us bloggers that would get a theme and we would all write about that theme, and it would take us out of our comfort zone, and the theme was “Once Upon a Time’ and I used the story of Lawrence Mawby and his almost fairy tale story of really being the impetus for the Leelanau Peninsula, and yes, there were one or two before him, but not with his drive and moxie.
In 1973, Larry Mawby planted a parcel of land in Leelanau County, and in 1984 he produces his first sparkling wine and decides that the region and climate is best suited for making this type of wine. L. Mawby Vineyards by the mid 1990’s is only making sparkling wine either by Methode Champenoise and the M. Lawrence label is for the Charmant Method. In 2004, he started marketing a fruity and fun line under the M. Lawrence label with the names like Sex, Detroit and Us. The Laing Family partners with Larry Mawby in 2009. In 2019 L. Mawby and M. Lawrence are rebranded as MAWBY Sparkling Wines. Michael and Peter Laing, who have a combined twenty years of experience are now currently in charge of the company, with able support from Stu and Sharon Laing and Larry Mawby.
I first wrote about bigLITTLE wines on 27 December 2013 and their Tire Swing Brut NV and there were only one-hundred-eighty-six cases made of it. Stu and Sharon Laing planted two acres of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir vines on an old cherry orchard in the Leelanau Peninsula in 2003 and now there was two-thousand vines. Eventually the magnetism and charm of the wine industry won over the two sons and Michael and Peter Laing were on-board by 2010, living and working the dream. As they say “Big and Little brother, making Big wines from this Little Peninsula.” By 2012, they were producing other wines like Treehouse White Pinot Noir, Mixtape blended white and C-3 Pinot Sparkling Brut, as well as Dune Climb and Open Road. The names of their wines are culled from childhood memories of fun endeavors. They have also continued to buy acreage to expand their vineyards as well as having contract crops as well.