What’s in a Name?

‘Green Bird’ connects winery owners to their time in New Orleans
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Green Bird Cellars in Leelanau County. Photo courtesy of Green Bird Cellars

In Leelanau County, spouses and co-owners of Green Bird Cellars Tim Hearin and Betsy Sedlar pay homage to their former home of New Orleans through their winery’s name.

After teaching for several years in New Orleans post–Hurricane Katrina, Hearin and Sedlar decided to become farmers and in 2018 moved to northern Michigan to have a larger farming canvas. They bought Green Bird Cellars from Court Wengreen and Ben Crow, who had combined their own names to form “Green Bird.”

The couple decided to keep the winery’s name to honor its previous owners and because the name, in fact, strongly connected to their own story.

“‘Green Bird’ actually had an intimate importance to us in our own lives,” Hearin explains. “There is a special bird called a monk parakeet, a parrot that came to New Orleans [in large numbers] after Hurricane Katrina — so it was very much a foreigner, not indigenous — but it’s got this gorgeous green plumage that, since Katrina, the locals have adopted as their own.”

As transplants to northern Michigan, the couple wanted to similarly display their pride in their home and be adopted by the locals.

“[‘Green Bird Cellars’] reminded us of home and also made us think hopefully and optimistically about perhaps being the green birds up here,” Hearin says.

To further embrace the name’s connection to home, Hearin and Sedlar painted their winery as if it were part of New Orleans.

“A lot of the colors you’ll see in New Orleans we’ve painted up here,” Hearin says. “Like the green birds of New Orleans, we wanted to stand out and also have an homage to the city where we met and the city that I still call home.”

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