The wine tasting scene in Michigan is exploding, garnering national attention for its Rieslings, Pinot Grigios, Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Francs and more. Although Michigan is producing award-winning wines that are sure to please your palate, it’s the engaging experiences with down-to-earth, casual winemakers that keep people headed back for more.
Most of Michigan’s tasting rooms are located in small, boutique wineries that produce small batches of wines. Quite often, it’s the winemakers themselves behind the tasting bars pouring samples of their newest vintages into your glass. Laid-back and eager to share details of how the wines are grown and produced from vine to bottle, these winemakers are enthusiastic for connoisseurs and novices alike.
Along with tasting at the wineries, large tasting events throughout the summer offer opportunities to sample from a wide selection of regional wines along with added excitement. One of the most engaging events, the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival in June, offers a selection of almost 200 wines from 30 northern Michigan wineries, fresh fare from local chefs, live musical entertainment from seven bands, an art garden full of fine art, a fun educational tent, a paint-and-sip experience and more.
Southeast Michigan’s Big Grape Bus Tour in October takes you to the wineries along the Pioneer Wine Trail followed by dinner and dancing and overnight accommodations. Some other large events are the Leland Wine & Food Festival, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, Michigan Wine & Beer Fest and Taste of Traverse City.
Likewise, slower-paced tastings are popping up all over the state. Intimate experiences offer a more leisurely way to get to know the wines. Leelanau Peninsula’s Small Plates in August is a progressive dinner featuring a small plate and glass of wine in fabulous locations in the vineyards or wineries. Cooking classes at Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula features wine and food pairing tips while learning to cook a delicious, gourmet dish. And, many trails offer wine touring by bike. A list of the state’s wine events can be found at www.michiganwines.com.
Whatever you choose, whether it’s a one-day exploration or an event, a weekend getaway or a longer stay, you’re sure to enjoy great wines, great winemakers and memorable experiences discovering the flavors of Michigan.