Bernard C. Rink

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Bernard C. Rink

November 29, 2018

Bernard C. Rink Leelanau County wine pioneer Bernie Rink died Nov. 29, 2018 while 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. 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 wine grapes and 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; 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 springtime. 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.
Condolences may be shared with the Rink family at
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Leelanau.
Published on December 1, 2018
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7 posts

Tom Hinsberg and Connie Soma
Dec 08, 2018
We remember Bernie fondly and gratefully. We lived in Leelanau County from 1992 to 2004. During that time we were very active in the revitalization the County Democratic Party. Bernie was a loyal Democrat as clippings and other adornments on the way of his winery testified. He could always be counted on to donate a case of his delicious wine to our fundraisers. In spite of his gruff exterior he was a kind and noble gentleman. He will be well remembered and missed by those of us who came to love him.
Chuck and Diane Beavers, Toledo, OH
Dec 06, 2018
We are so glad that we were able to meet Bernie when we visited Boskydel one year we visited the area. He was very kind and we enjoyed listening to the stories of when he started the winery. From then on we would try to stop and visit and get some wine. Sorry the winery has closed, but what fond memories we have. Our sincere sympathy to Bernie's family. He was a good man.
Monica and Rick Collett
Dec 05, 2018
We extend our sincere condolences to Bernie Rink's family. Since the 1980s, when we first became acquainted with Boskydel Winery, we made it a point to stop in when were we were up north to buy a case of of the dry Vignoles, my favorite wine in the area. We appreciated and respected Bernie's role in laying the foundation for the now-booming wine industry in northwestern Michigan. There was nothing flashy about the Boskydel winery, and that made it special to us. Bernie focused on French hybrids suited to the climate, and that made his products special to us, too. It saddens me that we can no longer buy a case of his vignoles, but we'll have our memories of Bernie and his wines for years t...o come.Read more
Gregg and Sarah McChesney
Dec 04, 2018
We are very sorry for your loss.

We will cherish our memories of visiting Bernie at the Winery and his home.

He made the best wine!!
Jeanette Basch
Dec 03, 2018
Always loved stopping by at Boskydel & chatting a bit with Bernie before buying a case of his oh so good wine. He was such a good soul!
larry cummings (TCHS 61') and NMC
Dec 02, 2018
I remember Mr Rink and how helpful he was at the NMC library when I attended. RIP
Chris Gallagher
Dec 01, 2018
We miss Boskydel and Bernie on our annual trip to visit the Leelanau wineries. We have fond memories of entering the winery to find Bernie nodding out by the woodburner, but he would rally and serve us wine. One time, before Boskydel moved to the electronic age and accepted credit cards, I had left my checkbook at home in Ohio, and was wanting to purchase a few cases of wine. Bernie told me to just mail him a check. What a gentleman and character he was. Please accept our condolences on your loss.