Lorri Hathaway and Sharon Kegerreis are award-winning authors & wine writers who are passionate for Michigan’s wines. Now they’ve released a new book titled The History of Michigan Wines: 150 Years of Winemaking along the Great Lakes. They write:
The History of Michigan Wines takes you on a comprehensive journey from early winemaking pioneers to how today’s industry is playing a vital role in positioning Michigan as a top agritourism region. This exciting history book â€“ the first book ever written on Michigan’s wine history — is available yeah, and we wrote it, so we’re happy to personalize your 200 copies!
Learn all about Lorri & Sharon and their work at www.michiganvine.com and stay tuned to Absolute Michigan for excerpts from their new book!
Wine Comes to Michigan
Michigan has a vivid and lively wine history, which is first launched in the 1800s by savvy businessmen residing in the Monroe region along the Lake Erie shoreline. Wild grapes are first used to make wine before massive plantings of widely available varietals, such as Concord, Delaware and Norton’s Virginia, are undertaken. Quickly, Michigan garners notoriety as a maker of fine wine and is among the top in the nation for wine production.
Railroads and ships carry wine to New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, while Michiganders consume wine in tasting rooms tucked in Michigan’s first established communities. The good life of the 19th century vintner continues until the temperance movement heats up and the founding vintners eventually pass away by the start of the 20th century. Grape rot seeps into the vineyards causing the final disrepair.
Meanwhile, grape growers in Michigan’s southwestern counties expand vineyards to supply to the Welch’s grape juice processing plant in the Lawton region. So, when Prohibition kicks in early for Michigan, these vineyards persevere.
Surprisingly, during Prohibition, alcohol was a booming business along the Detroit River becoming a $215 million industry, second only to the auto industry. After 13 years of discord, Michigan is the first state to repeal Prohibition.
Michigan is positioned well. The demand for wine is high, and the surplus of grapes in southwest Michigan are at an all-time low. New wineries are inspired to open, and two wineries established in nearby Windsor easily relocate across the river. Michigan is quickly ranked third in the nation for wine production and is a leader for decades. Eventually, though, most of the wineries cease operations when the demand for the styles of wine changes and state regulations are a hindrance.
Stay tuned for more of Michigan’s wine history and click here to order The History of Michigan Wines.