Celebrate the Holidays with Wines from Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula

The holidays bring a festive atmosphere ready to celebrate with Michigan’s finest wines. The folks at the eight distinctive Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula have put together some suggestions for wine pairings with your favorite holiday dishes to help you celebrate the season!

Today’s holiday table has evolved to offer bolder flavors, so make sure your wine will stand up to your festive meal. 2013 2Lads Cabernet Franc is a great with anything and everything you’d find on a holiday buffet, including cheese plates, herbed stuffing, caramelized Brussels sprouts, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry chutney, and even brown butter bourbon pecan pie…yum!

holiday food

Wine doesn’t have to just be served with the main course. Make sure to sample Black Star Farms’ Sirius Maple Dessert Wine, perfectly paired with classic holiday pies. This unique dessert wine is made from Black Star Farms Hard Apple Cider and Apple Brandy, with Michigan maple syrup. Made in a port style, this wine has the perfect balance of fruit and brandy flavors. Enjoy with holiday desserts, or use it in recipes, including a glaze for turkey or pork tenderloin, waffle or pancake sauces, or baked fruit in a Sirius Maple sauce.

For a crisp, Granny Smith apple flavor that pairs well with holiday spices and finishes with a tinge of sweetness, go for the 2014 Bowers Harbor Vineyards Riesling Medium Dry. This bright wine bounces off the spices, and cuts through the richness of many holiday dishes, allowing the taste of both of the food and wine to come through. The sweeter finish offers a cool down, proving this Riesling to be the perfect complement to hot dishes.

This holiday, reach for a Pinot Noir or Dry Riesling – both are perfect complements to the special meal of the season. Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with roasted vegetables, while their Dry Riesling will complement stuffing with apples and spice. Also, try the Dry Riesling with a rich butternut squash bisque or curried carrot soup. It’s sure to please.

Chateau Chantal_Naughty Nice Reds_Elf Pants (2)

Photo Courtesy of Chataeu Chantal

Chateau Chantal offers their Naughty & Nice Red and White wines during the holidays…perfect as a fun wine gift for the season. Ranging from dry to sweet, there is a selection for everyone at the table among these four wines. The Naughty Red and White are dry, while the Nice Red and White are the sweet versions of the same wine blend.

The bold and inviting Chateau Grand Traverse 2012 Gamay Noir Reserve offers earthy flavors with hints of dark cherry, ripe berries, black pepper and light chocolate. The complex character of this delicious wine makes it a perfect pairing for rich and hearty holiday meals.

Stay warm this December with Hawthorne Vineyards 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir. Dark cherry, strawberry and cinnamon aromas are woven with spring from oak aging and ripe tannins. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels, this Pinot is sturdy enough to serve with a holiday favorite rib roast.


Photo Courtesy of Peninsula Cellars

Peninsula Cellars suggests indulging (and who doesn’t like to indulge during the holidays) after the large holiday meal with a bottle of Mélange, Peninsula Cellar’s port-style cherry dessert wine. This luxurious after dinner spirit complements dark chocolate or cheesecake beautifully with its rich cherry flavor, hints of oak and velvety texture.

Happy Holidays from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula! Don’t forget – besides making your celebratory meals more festive, these wines make wonderful gifts.

Kirsten Borgstrom is a Michigan wine enthusiast and publicist for the eight distinct wineries that comprise the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula (WOMP). For the latest on WOMP news and events follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Thirteen Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine this Summer

Do you love to explore all of the wineries Michigan has to offer? Guest Blogger Dianna Stampfler, president of Promote Michigan shares a handful of wine festivals you don’t want to miss.

Between Michigan Wine Month in April and the fall harvest season, there are countless opportunities to sample award-wining locally-produced wines. There’s no better way to savor these vinos than on the beach, next to the Great Lakes waters or under towering canopies of trees during the peak of summer.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

The Leland Wine & Food Fest, June 13, is one of Michigan’s original wine celebrations and this year marks its 30th anniversary. Over the years, it’s grown to include more than two dozen northern wineries in the historic Fishtown District, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Visitors will also find a handful of eateries serving local fare as well as live entertainment. Hours are 1-8pm, with tickets $15 online in advance and $20 at the gate.

Toast the Coast from Weko Beach in Bridgeman, during the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, June 20. Sample the region’s award-winning wines, paired with local cuisine and live music from 1-10pm, just as the sun sets over the horizon. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate.

The historic park-like grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the setting for the Traverse City Art & Wine Festival, June 20, featuring wineries of both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. Now in its 7th year, this event offers a true taste of northern Michigan with more than 200 local wines, eight restaurants, 40 fine artists and seven musical performances. Hours are 2 – 9 p.m , and tickets are $40 for general admission or $125 for the VIP Lounge area.

Head over to the Lake Huron shoreline for the Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival, July 18 in Harrisville. Local wineries, craft breweries and food artisans gather at the Harrisville Harbor in this annual gathering hosted by the Harrisville Arts Council. Hours are 12 – 6 p.m. 

The 5th Annual Grapes on the River, July 25, is presented by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize local and regional wines and foods. Set along the scenic backdrop of the Manistee River, booths line the Riverwalk and the newly-renovated municipal marina for an afternoon of fun and festivities. Hours are 2-6pm, with tickets priced at $10 which include wine and craft beer sampling, food tastings, art and music.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

End the summer at the Hopps of Fun Beer & Wine Festival, Sept. 11-12, in Mackinaw City. Hosted at the Mackinaw Crossings complex, this unique event features samplings of more than 40 wines from Michigan’s four federally-recognized viticultural regions and dozens of award-winning Michigan craft beers, as well as food and entertainment. Hours are 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, with $5 general admission (and $1 tasting tokens).

Michigan’s largest and longest-running wine festival—The Wine & Harvest Festival—returns to Paw Paw, Sept. 4 – 6 p.m. In addition to all the family-friendly activities, winery tours and tastings are held in tents throughout the festival area—adjacent to St. Julian Winery (the state’s oldest winery).

Other Michigan wine events this summer include:

Art, Beer & Wine Festival
June 6 (12 – 6 p.m.)
Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Waterfront Wine Festival
June 27 (4 – 7 p.m.)
Harbor Springs

Wine on the Waterfront Festival
July 18 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Suttons Bay

City of Riesling
July 26 – 27
Traverse City

Tawas Uncork’d & Untap’d Wine & Food Festival
August 1 (12 – 6:30 p.m.)
Harbor Park, East Tawas

Northport Wine Festival
August 8 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Northport Harbor

For a list of other Michigan wine events, information and a list of more than 115 wineries, visit MichiganWines.com.

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and is a dedicated fan of Michigan wine, especially Riesling!

What is your favorite Michigan wine?

Eight Answers to Your Michigan Wine FAQs

Cheers! April has been named Michigan Wine Month, and we’re ready to raise our glass. Michael Schafer Esq., The Wine Counselor, answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Michigan wineries

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

What are some of your favorite wine trails throughout Michigan?
There are so many great options to choose from. Each of the trails offer unique opportunities to enjoy Michigan’s world-class wines. While the most famous are the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and the Old Mission Peninsula Trail, the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Trail, the Lake Michigan Shore area and the Bay View Trail are fascinating and fun as well.

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

When do think the best time of year for wine tasting in Michigan is?
The best time of year for tasting Michigan wines is all year round! Our wines are so varied and different, they’re delectable all the time. The prettiest time of year for visiting wineries is in the fall, but April is Michigan Wine Month and the Michigan Wine Showcase April 20, 2015 is a fantastic opportunity to sample wines from all over the state.

If someone had never been wine tasting in Michigan before, where would you recommend they go first?
I suggest they enjoy the area closest to them and then explore from there. If they’re on a quest to taste our wines and distance isn’t a factor, the Leelanau Peninsula would be my first choice.

What makes Michigan wines unique?
Three factors make Michigan wines unique. 1. Our locations, or terroir (a French word used to describe the grapes’ neighborhood) close to many lakes and rivers in addition to our proximity to the Great Lakes. 2. We’re between the 41st and 47th parallels of the earth. This is the same latitude as Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley and the Piedmont region. All of these areas are world-famous for producing great wines.3. The hardworking  Michiganders who grow the grapes for our creative Michigan winemakers to make the wine.

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

Photo courtesy of The Wine Counselor

What would people be surprised to learn about Michigan wine or wineries?
The Michigan wine business originally started in the Monroe area, close to the Ohio border. It moved to the “fruit belt” of Western Michigan, now known as the lake Michigan Shore area.

What’s your favorite Michigan wine?
The one that’s currently in my glass!

Where can people go to taste & learn about Michigan wines?
The Michigan Wine Showcase on April 20 at the Rattlesnake Club in Detroit is a fantastic opportunity to learn about Michigan wines. More information can be found at www.michiganwines.com/showcase.

Where can people go to learn more?
A  wonderful resources are Michiganwines.com.  There is a plethora of information on this easy to use website.

Watch Michael tell us more about how Michigan wines are made below. 

Michael SchaferMichael Schafer Esq., The Wine Counselor®, is the charismatic speaker, educator, Sommelier, CSW, CCTP, writer and consultant who entertains while educating. His humorous and fun approach is reflected in his trademark phrase “I taste bad wine so you don’t have to”®. Whether training restaurant teams, conducting private tastings, or customizing a wine event, Michael demystifies wine and leaves his clients laughing and learning! WineCounselor.net