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Michigan Wine

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Sep 1st, 2009, 08:47 AM
  #1
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Michigan Wine

I've heard that Michigan has some good wine. One of the articles that I read about a year ago said that the Leelanau Penninsula will be the next Napa Valley. Has anyone been on a winery trip up there or anywhere else on the Western part of Michigan? I'd love to hear about it.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 08:52 AM
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I've not heard anything about Michigan wine, mostly because I suspect they don't possess the proper climate to use many types of grapes. Recently the Long Island, NC & Virginia wines have continued to improve and garner some national recognition, although all of these areas still have more 'misses' than hits, when it comes to quality wine-making.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Southwestern Michigan has some of the finest wineries around. Check out Tabor Hill in Buchanan or several of the others in the area (Berrien Springs, Paw Paw, etc.). Southwest Michigan is the leading producer of grapes for Welch's. Their climate is ideal with lake Michigan so close.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 08:59 AM
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I've heard more than I have wanted to, to tell you the truth, about Michigan wines. Some are winning awards way beyond the middle of the country.

But I only visit those which are South of the region you designate. We just went to Lemon Creek, Warners, Blackstar, St. Julian, and Round Barn and Peterson's this last month. Great time.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 09:17 AM
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TravelGram- I'm located between Marcellus & Lawton- just South of Paw Paw- we are totally surrounded by vineyards and orchards. Peaches, apples, blueberries and wine!

Lawton is the seat of the big Welch's factory you speak of.

We have been to Tabor Hill and others too, besides the ones I've named before. I believe the climate in SW Michigan is ideal for some kinds of wine, even ice wines are getting awards.
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Sep 1st, 2009, 09:54 AM
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So educate me on the Michigan wine phenomena - I am assuming they are growing Concord, Gewurtz, Reisling, maybe some Chenin Blanc ? The fact that they grow for Welch's would seem a negative rather than a positive too me. I can see ice wines also. I can't imagine they have a long enough growing season to do Cabs or Chards for example.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for asking this question gumbo so I can rave about one of my favorite areas of the US!

I've visited almost all of the wineries in the Leelanau Peninsula area
http://www.lpwines.com/
and the Old Mission Peninsula area,
http://www.wineriesofoldmission.com/
both located close to Traverse City. I visit the area often because my parents retired to this region. Just to give perspective on my opinion, I'm a big fan of wine-focused vacations and have also traveled to wine regions in Italy, Chile, Argentina, Napa, Sonoma, Washington State and Oregon. I'm happy to report that Michigan wine can compete with any of these regions, not just based on the quality of the wine, but also on things like the beauty of the scenery and the design of the tasting rooms (which I think are important too when I'm on a vacation.)

Actually, a few years ago after my first visit to the LP, I was not that impressed. Lots of whites that were too sweet, and the reds were just bad. But each year they get better and better, and this year my visit to five OMP wineries convinced me Michigan wines had arrived.

Yes, based on climate the whites do best. But SAnParis2 they do make very nice Chardonnays. And very good Gewurtz, Reisling, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. The best reds are the Pinot Noirs, red blends, and some are doing 100% Cabernet Franc quite well (we had a fantastic Cab Franc at a newer place called 2 Lads.) You are right though about Cabernet Sauvignon -- none of that.

By the way, LP is on the 45 parallel, just like the Bordeaux region in France, the Piedmont region in Italy and the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

If you like to make wine the focus of your vacation like we do you will really enjoy a trip to this area. You could do 5-6 wineries a day for 3 days if you wanted. Plus of course this area has tons of natural beauty and many other reasons to visit. Traverse City has really evolved over the last few years in terms of restaurants too. Lots of fabulous, high-end places to eat that rival the best in my hometown Chicago.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 01:13 PM
  #8
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And I have to add, although I haven't seen it in awhile- but to me Traverse City itself and that bay inlet area is beautiful. I've always wondered how they could have ever missed this location for the movies.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 05:52 PM
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I've had some pretty decent wine from around Michigan including Fenn Valley in the SW and from 'up north' I've enjoyed bottles from Chateau Chantal and sparkling wines from Mawby - www.lmawby.com/. The views from the top of the hill at Chateau Chantal on the Old Mission peninsula - www.chateauchantal.com/ - are amazing! I would have to say, preferring drier wines, that I have found more to my liking overall from the wineries in northern Michigan than the southern wineries. But that's just me; reislings are probably my least favorite wines overall.

Many growers in Michigan are growing vinus vinifera varietal grapes (as opposed to concord, etc.) that are indeed on par with quality wines from California, Europe, etc. even though there is still a lot of grape juice that is produced in MI. My DH grew up down the road from Tabor Hill and I will tell you that a lot of side of the road grape sampling goes on around there!


As an interesting aside... my parents used to go on fall wine trips in MI and to NY and California and were very disappointed with upstate NY in comparison to either southern or northern MI, especially. They did a lot of research before hand and were truly surprised at how little wine they liked from the finger lakes region of NY. They are by no means wine snobs - but will drink anything they like, be it $5 or $50 a bottle.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 05:56 PM
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SanParis - Lake Michigan insulates the western coast of Michigan. That area is called the fruit belt because, well, because they grow fruit. It is also the snow belt for the same reason.

I grew up in Paw Paw, and the are several great wineries in the area. But the best, fancy wineries are up by Traverse City. The Old Mission Peninsula looks exactly like wine country California. It is just gorgeous up there and many of their wines are winning all sorts of major awards.
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Sep 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
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Oh, and I forgot...The northwest corner of Michigan is rather unique for growing grapes...in addition to being on the 45th parallel as mentioned above (the whole number of hours of sunlight, angles, heating degree days, etc), varities of grapes can be grown there that cannot thrive in southern MI or even Ohio and PA due to the significant snow cover in the winter and the amount of water surrounding the peninsulas regulating the temps, espicially in spring and early fall. It is truly a unique climate area. It's also the reason that cherries grow so well there.
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 04:35 AM
  #12
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Great information! A Big Thanks to all of you. I am definitely not a wine expert. My wife and I started drinking wine after visiting a couple of wineries in New Zealand and went on a 5 winery tour in Barossa Valley in Australia about ten years ago. I love the Austalian reds and the New Zealand whites. But, we will have to get up to the LP and the wineries in SW Michigan soon!
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Definitely visit www.taborhill.com in SW Michigan. Not the store on US12, but the vinery and the wonderful restaurant. Beautiful setting, nice wines, wonderful restaurant.
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:53 AM
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Chef Mario Batali spends his summers on the Leelanau P.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/tr...es/17away.html
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:30 PM
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Does anyone know if anyone distributes outside of MI ?
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Sep 3rd, 2009, 03:00 PM
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Try this

http://www.michiganwines.com/docs/In...stributors.pdf
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