Michigan Wine Month is Officially Upon Us!

Governor Granholm has declared April Michigan Wine Month, and the opportunities to take part in wine related activities during the next few weeks are endless.

If you have the opportunity to do so, start your Michigan Wine Month off with a visit to any one of the 71 wineries – 7 more to be added by the end of the year – located throughout the state. If you aren’t able to make it to one of the wineries, there are still plenty of wine related activities to partake in around the Metro Detroit area.

Visit Michigan Wineries

Many of the wineries kicked off their season the first weekend in April and are beginning to offer tastings of their 2009 releases.  Visit the Pure Michigan site for a full list of all the wineries and a list of Michigan wine trails. I visit the wineries around the Traverse City area on a yearly basis – a relaxing weekend of wine tasting, beautiful views, and great food is a great way to welcome in Spring and say goodbye to Winter.

Wine Expo

This weekend, the Michigan Wine Expo kicks off. For wine novices who want to sip their way into the world of wine tasting, check out the Wine Tasting 101 seminar, while winos can skip the seminars and focus on the 300+ different wines being poured. I’ll be stopping by the Wine Expo on Friday, so be sure to say hi if you’re there!

Detroit Restaurant Week

On top of it being Michigan Wine Month, Detroit is holding its second Detroit Restaurant Week during the week of April 16-25, 2010 – for a fixed price of $27, diners can enjoy a three course meal at any one of the 17 DRW restaurants. Participating restaurants including The Whitney, Andiamo, Atlas Global Bistro, and Coach Insignia proudly serve a variety of Michigan wines; if you stop by one of the restaurants that hasn’t yet included Michigan wines as part of their offerings, you can always encourage them to do so in the future with a “Meal was fine” card.

Michigan Wine Flights

If you can’t make it up to one of the many wineries in Michigan during April, you can always try a Michigan Wine Flight at restaurants like Vinotecca in Royal Oak (they are currently featuring ‘Sex’ by Mawby, Shady Lane Cab Franc, and Bowers Harbor UnWooded Chardonnay).

If you’re looking to enjoy your Michigan wine in the comfort of your own home, you can purchase a few bottles at local stores and restaurants such as Joe’s Produce and Holiday Market. I always have a bottle of L. Mawby Fizz on hand, and you can’t go wrong with one of the many Michigan Cherry wines. Why not pick up a few bottles of Cherry Wine from each of the wineries that produce it, creating your own Michigan Cherry Wine flight, and plan a night in honing your wine tasting skills.

You can also join the online crowd in discussing Michigan wines by following the Wineries on Twitter list or participating in one of the Tweet & Taste Michigan (#TTMI on Twitter) wine tastings on Facebook and Twitter – Michigan wine lovers all around the world pick up a flight of the featured Michigan wine being tasted that session and compare tasting notes on Twitter.

Michigan Wine Council and Michigan Wine Country Magazine

On top of all the events planned around Michigan Wine Month, the Michigan Wine Council is also distributing the 2010 Michigan Wine Country magazine during the first few weeks of April. Anyone interested in receiving the latest issue can request a free copy.

Happy Sipping

I’ve only included a small sample of the Michigan Wine Month events occurring. For a full list of events, visit Michigan Wines. Know of an event that should be listed or were you one of the first visitors to one of the Michigan Wineries this month? Let us know below in the comments!

Rachel Kuptz writes about cocktails, wine, and dining experiences at Girly-Drinks.com. She can regularly be found online on twitter (@girlydrinks), scoping out the newest restaurants around the Metro Detroit area, and at wine and cocktail events throughout the state.

Motown Winter Blast

Motown Winter BlastThe 6th annual Motown Winter Blast kicks off this afternoon, and this is an event you don’t want to miss.  All weekend long, people gather in Campus Martius Park to celebrate and enjoy winter.  This year, the Winter Blast is also celebrating the Motown Museum’s 25th anniversary with even more special events and activities for you to enjoy.

No matter what your age, you’ll find something to love about the Winter Blast:

For the kids

  • Children can enjoy the Meijer Kid Zone, which includes puppet shows, magic shows, and more. 

For the grown ups

  • The annual wine tasting is back, and will be held at Enoteca Campo Marzio.  You can also take part in Bar Blast – a pub crawl through the city that takes place Saturday night.

Spirit of Detroit Ice Sculpture

For everyone

While you’re downtown, you might want to check out some of these other great attractions and restaurants:

Dining

Gaming

Museums

2010 North American International Auto Show

Earlier this week, Pure Michigan’s own Maria Wygnal and George Zimmermann got a sneak peek inside the 2010 North American International Auto Show. They joined thousands of journalists from around the world as they gathered in Detroit for a first look at concepts and production models, as well as the latest automotive industry announcements. While George has visited the show many times, this was Maria’s first auto show experience.

The show floor is bright, the displays are amazing, the cars are shiny and clean (colors are fantastic!), the interiors sparkle, and you can’t help but notice the workers who are constantly dusting and wiping the vehicles. There’s definitely some glitz and glamour, but the focus of this year’s show is centered on green technology and hybrid vehicles. Electric battery technology is all the buzz, and there’s no shortage of new ideas on display.

This was my first time attending the auto show in Detroit. When it comes to specifics about different models and new features, all I can say is thank goodness the displays are staffed with friendly people who are happy to answer your questions. It was fun to learn about the different vehicles, talk to people about the show and what other plans they had while visiting Detroit, and take photos (lots of photos!).

Here are some quick tips about this year’s show:

  1. If this will be your first visit to the auto show, or you’re not familiar with downtown Detroit, take a few moments before your trip to check out the different parking options available near Cobo Center. It took me a couple wrong turns before I found the parking lot I was looking for.
  2. I recommend spending some time at the Ford display for two reasons. First, in case you haven’t heard, Ford won the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Also, the exhibit includes my favorite car of the entire show, a Pure Michigan blue Mustang!!
  3. Check out the Volkswagen display – It’s so white it’s almost blinding, honestly. Plus there is a cool hands-on exhibit behind the cars that lets you interact with a tabletop display screen.
  4. Stop by the CT&T United display for a look at some very tiny (and very cute) electric cars.
  5. Don’t miss the MEDC EcoXperience, located in the lower level of Cobo Center. It’s your opportunity to experience electric vehicles on a 1/4 mile indoor test track. Get a close-up look at a variety of green vehicles and find out for yourself what it’s like to ride inside! You can also browse the alternative energy showcase located nearby.

There are a lot of other things to do in Detroit while you’re here for the show. There are some amazing restaurants that you should make time to check out, many just a short walk or People Mover ride away. If you’re looking for great Mexican food, check out Xochimilco in Mexicantown, just minutes away. Detroit’s Greektown is home to more great restaurants than we can name, like Pegasus and Niki’s Pizza, which was ranked in GQ magazine’s 25 Best Pizzas in America. If you’re looking for something more high-end, visit Seldom Blues in the Renaissance Center, the Wolfgang Puck Grille, or Iridescence. Detroit also has some great bars and pubs, like the Detroit Beer Company, just across the street from Comerica Park.

Detroit is also home to three casinos, where you can try your luck at the slots, blackjack or craps tables.  If you feel like taking a gamble, you have your choice of the MGM Grand Casino, the Motor City Casino, or the Greektown Casino.

Detroit’s museum district is also just a short drive down Woodward.  If you are bringing the kids (or still a kid at heart), check out the Detroit Science Center, which has several hands-on exhibits, an Imax theater, and a planetarium.  The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is right next door and is the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.  The Detroit Institute of Arts – the 5th largest fine arts museum in the world – is just a short walk from there.  The Detroit Historical museum is also nearby.  This museum is dedicated preserving the history of southeastern Michigan, and includes the favorite and newly renovated Streets of Old Detroit, recreating Detroit street scenes from the 1840′s, 1870′s and early 1900′s.

My visit to the auto show was a great experience. If you have the opportunity, check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

  • Where: Cobo Center, Detroit
  • When: Public show starts Saturday, Jan. 16, and ends Sunday, Jan. 24
  • Price: Adult admission is $12; seniors (65 and older) and ages 7-12 are $6; kids six years and under are free with a parent or guardian; any day pass, group tickets are $8 with a purchase of 25 tickets or more. For more information, go to www.naias.com or call 248.643.0250.

Here are some the pictures George and I took while we toured the show – check out all of these amazing cars! George also had the chance to ride in the Tango – one of the electric cars located in the MEDC EcoXperience (located in Michigan Hall). He got some great video during his ride that you can see. The EcoXperience is not to be missed – it gives you a chance to ride in some the most innovative electric vehicles out there. Learn more about the EcoXperience, and what the MEDC is doing with green technology on the Upper Hand Blog.

Maria Wygnal is a travel marketing specialist with Travel Michigan/Michigan Economic Development Corp. She grew up in the greater Lansing area and currently resides in East Lansing. Her interests include travel, social media, graphic design and photography.