It’s no secret that I LOVE Michigan wine…and while I’m partial to sweeter Rieslings, I have a growing fondness for Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. I think one of the reasons I’m so drawn to the local wines is that in most instances, I know the winemakers personally.
It’s been about 15 year since my introduction to Michigan wines…back in 1997…when I first started working in the tourism industry. At the time, there were about 25 wineries in the state. Today…that number is pushing 100.
Over the years, I’ve attended countless Michigan wine tastings, dinners, seminars and tours. In March 2007, I even had the chance to try my hand at pruning vines – thanks to Spencer Stegenga at Bowers Harbor Vineyards (read more: www.promotemichigan.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html). In June 2009, I took part in a unique experience called “Dining on the Fly” (also with Bowers Harbor Vineyard), where a group and I took a fly fishing lesson and were then treated to a wine dinner along the riverbanks (read more: www.promotemichigan.blogspot.com/2009_06_01_archive.html). I’ve also written countless articles about Michigan wine for various publications – including being a regular contributor to Michigan Wine Country Magazine. These articles are archived here on my website (click on “Dianna’s Articles” above).
If you haven’t heard…April is Michigan Wine Month. For those of you who haven’t tried Michigan wine (or haven’t tried it in recent years), consider this my challenge to you! For those of you who are like me…avid consumers…be sure to check out the new releases from the 2011 harvest. There are countless events going on throughout the month of April which will allow all of the opportunity to experience these award-winning wines (and wineries). For a list of events, visit MichiganWines.com.
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Governor Snyder Declares April “Michigan Wine Month”
Wineries to release new wines from exceptional 2011 harvest
Governor Rick Snyder has declared April as “Michigan Wine Month” to honor Michigan’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy.
The Michigan wine industry continues to grow at a steady pace. The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has added 11 new wineries to its roster over the last year — for a total of 92. The council promotes those wineries that support Michigan agriculture by using predominantly Michigan grapes and other fruit for their wines. Along with newly opened wineries, expansion of several existing wineries has allowed for increased production to help meet the rising demand for quality wines made locally.
“We continue to see growth of Michigan wine sales — a win for wineries, vineyards, and other small businesses statewide,” said Greg O’Niel, council member and president of O.K. Distributors of St. Joseph, Mich. “As wine races toward the top spot in popularity among American consumers, Michigan-made wines are really kicking into gear. I attribute this growth in market share to the increased quality and availability of Michigan wines and to consumer interest in ‘buying local’ in these tough economic times.”
Michigan wineries will begin to release new white wines from the 2011 vintage in April, as part of their Michigan Wine Month promotion. Winemakers report the quality of the 2011 wines is exceptional. Warm weather late in the season was of great benefit to wine grapes – especially red grapes, which need a longer, warmer season to ripen fully. Most of the red wines from 2011 won’t be released for a year or two, but some reds from the equally outstanding 2010 vintage will be released this spring.
April will also see the release of the 2012 Michigan Wine Country magazine, an indispensable guide to the wines and wineries of Michigan. The magazine contains maps and touring information, as well as a popular section on “what’s new at the wineries.” To request a free copy of Michigan Wine Country, visit www.michiganwines.com or contact the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council at (517) 241-1207. The magazine is also available at all Michigan wineries and Travel Michigan Welcome Centers.