Great news about our state’s wine industry via the Michigan Wine & Grape Council. Something we’d add is the huge boost that our wine & food industry got in the national spotlight from a pair of Mario Batali features on northern Michigan’s wine & food in Epicure magazine! Get all the links & latest at absolutemichigan.com/Wine.
Michigan wines and wineries have been in the spotlight throughout the summer; and it’s not just in Michigan, it’s happening across the country. The reason? Michigan wines have been winning a significant number of top awards at regional, national and international wine competitions.
In January, Chateau Grand Traverse won a Best of Class award at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for their 2009 Lot 49 Riesling. This off-dry wine was produced from grapes harvested from a single vineyard — located on a steep, west-facing slope on Old Mission Peninsula, in northern Michigan.
Judges evaluated more than 2,000 wines from around the world at the Pacific Rim Wine Competition, held in San Bernadino, Calif., in April, and declared a tie for Best Gewurztraminer: Tabor Hill Winery, in Buchanan, for their 2009 vintage, and Chateau Fontaine, on Leelanau Peninsula, for their 2010. Chateau Fontaine went on to win Grand Champion honors as Best White Wine of the competition.
Tabor Hill also garnered several top awards at other international competitions, including Best White Wine at the International Eastern Wine Competition, held in Corning, N.Y., for their 2010 Traminette, a hybrid variety similar to Gewurztraminer. Fenn Valley Vineyards, in Fennville, won Best of Class Riesling at the same competition, which accepted more than 1,400 entries in 2011.
Pinot Blanc is a relatively new varietal for Michigan vintners. Left Foot Charley, in Traverse City, is doing an outstanding job of producing wine from this sister grape of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The winery received a “Sweepstakes” award of Best White Wine at the Long Beach Grand Cru Wine Competition for their 2010 Pinot Blanc, Island View Vineyard. The Long Beach judging is one of the top international wine competitions in the United States.
With more than 3,000 entries from 15 countries, the Indy International Wine Competition, held in Indianapolis in August, is the largest independent wine competition in the nation. The 2011 judging was a gold mine for three Michigan wineries — from three different regions of the state. Best Vidal was awarded to Sandhill Crane Vineyards, in Jackson; Lemon Creek Winery in Berrien Springs won Best Chancellor; and Leelanau Cellars on Leelanau Peninsula won Best Flavored Port for their Raspberry version of this dessert-style wine.
Michigan’s wine industry continues to enjoy steady growth, with sales of Michigan wine outpacing sales of all wines in Michigan for eight consecutive years. Five new wineries opened in 2011, bringing the total number to 86 wineries using predominantly Michigan-grown grapes and other fruit. To learn more about the wineries and vineyards of Michigan, visit www.michiganwines.com to request Michigan Wine Country magazine, with maps and information about the wineries of Michigan.