If you read my "About" section you'll learn that I was introduced to Michigan wine on a college glacial geology expedition along the Lake Michigan shoreline. After this expedition I went on a pursuit of the best wine in Michigan. I graduated college and moved home to Ann Arbor where I discovered many different wines at my local Plum Market. Each week I would sample various wines from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Canada, South Africa, South America, California, Oregon, Washington and of course Michigan. Wines from Michigan are comparable to other regions around the world.
Learning about all kinds of wine is one of my passions. My older brother met a French woman in New York and they got married in a chateau outside of Paris where my appreciation for big bold red wine and rose took root. Spending one week with a full indulgence in the French culture I learned that wine is extremely important and a must at any dinner party. I quickly adopted this mentality as my own. Giving various wines as gifts and aging wine for my guests to enjoy.
My true appreciation for Michigan wine came in the summer of 2016 when my now wife and I were looking at vineyards for our wedding venue. We took a week and traveled to the southwest side of the state and worked our way up to the Leelanau Peninsula, Suttons Bay, Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City and back down through the heart of Michigan. Our trip had us talking with estate owners, the wine and event staff, sharing our love of wine and the state of Michigan and also getting into personal stories about our dogs, bad storms, hot summers and cold snowy winters. By the end of our trip we had hundreds of business cards and hard decisions to make. We couldn't pick just one venue because each vineyard was so unique we wanted certain aspects of each all in one. We compromised on having all Michigan wine and beer at our wedding and saved on cost by hosting it in Howell at the Howell Opera House. Not a vineyard but right next-door to the Main Street Winery.
Michigan's climate supports grape growth for wine production. Fertile soil, the warm to hot summers increase the quality of wines. The hotter, dryer and sunnier summers produce quality red wine grapes and dryer white wine grapes. An early frost, freeze or hailstorms can damage a crop. There are different harvesting times for each grape. If you want a sweeter wine you wait later to create a late harvest, which usually means sweeter wine. If you want an iced wine you will wait until the grapes freeze on the vine and then pick to produce a delicious dessert wine, very sweet almost syrupy in consistency and flavor.
In Michigan your town may have a winery. In Howell they have the Main Street Winery and if you drive along I-94, I-96, I-69, US-23, I-75, US-127 or US-131 you will see signs for various vineyards and wineries within a few miles. The wine industry in Michigan is massive, in addition to tourism Michigan has a booming economy because there is a wine for everyone. The variety in grapes grown in Michigan is huge. Michigan has a relatively short grape growing season compared to other regions but many times that is what really makes our wines so unique. You may not find an iced wine in Sonoma. People travel from all around the world to sample Michigan wine. Wine brings people together and there are great stories shared when sitting down to sample at a tasting room. There's something relaxing about enjoying a nice glass of rose on a porch overlooking the vineyard, lake, or in a wine garden.
In this blog you'll learn about vineyards, wineries, cider mills and fruit farms that grow grapes for wine production. Each week I'll feature a new vineyard along with my top wine pick of the week. Occasionally I'll suggest food pairings for my wine pick. My goal is to give you facts, exclusive interviews, personal encounters, wine list, descriptions and get you to visit in person and/or sample some of their wine.
Join the Michigan Wine Guy for a tour of Michigan wine.