4 Ways to Celebrate a Bountiful Harvest at Michigan Wineries

Fall is a magical season in Michigan. Our autumnal activities are so beloved that they often become tradition as we return to the same sights and sounds that fill us with joy each year. Are you ready to embark on your next fall tradition? Michigan wineries across the state provide a number of ways to celebrate harvest.

Read more on four ways to enjoy the fall season at Michigan wineries courtesy of guest blogger Jenelle Jagmin of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.

Grape Stomping

Yes, grape stomping is still part of wine making! If you are in northern Michigan, check out Harvest Festival taking place at Chateau Chantal on October 1. In addition to grape stompin’, the festival also offers a Slurpin’ Seminar as well as a Distillation Seminar.  Marie-Chantal Dalese describes it like this, “Our annual harvest fest is a terrific way to experience the grape harvest and fall colors on Old Mission Peninsula.  We open our cellar doors and let guests see how we make wine while providing some fun and free experiences for visitors.”

Harvest season on Old Mission Peninsula

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Chantal

Do you want to show off your stomping skills in southwest Michigan? Check out Pappy’s Harvest Festival at Vineyard 2121 in Benton Harbor. In addition to grape stomping, the festival features wine slushies, hayrides, live music and a hog roast. Guests under 21 are free with an adult. The Festival takes place on September 17 & 18.

Take a 'step' back in time as you stomp grape similar to the old days

Photo Courtesy of Vineyard 2121

 Harvesting Grapes

Have you ever wondered what it is like to actually harvest the grapes from the vines? Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson offers you the opportunity to do just that. Since the exact time of harvest is unpredictable, it is best to contact the winery to provide your contact information. They will reach out to you with the harvest date with a few days’ notice. If interested, contact Carolanne at 517-764-0679.

Volunteers harvest grapes at Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Race Through Vines

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail will host The Harvest Stompede on September 10 & 11, which gives participants the opportunity to run, walk or watch the race in beautiful Leelanau wine country. The race is paired with a self-guided wine tour and includes a souvenir glass.

“The Harvest Stompede is such a fun and festive way to kick-off the fall harvest season.  And if they don’t want to run or walk, they can just come for the tasting tour,” said Lorri Hathaway, executive director of the wine trail.

Runners love the Harvest Stompede

Photo Courtesy of Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Find a Winery Near You

From the far reaches of the U.P. to the southern border counties of Michigan, wineries dapple our gorgeous fall landscape. Each one celebrates the harvest in its unique way! Find your local wineries at michiganwines.com  & check out more events taking place around the state.

Harvest Festival at Lemon Creek Winery

Photo Courtesy of the Lemon Creek Winery

When you step into the vineyard this fall, you may notice an increased burst of elation. That is because Michigan is enjoying an abundant harvest – following two devastating seasons of crop loss. Support your local winery and join in the celebration!

Jenelle Jagmin is promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Founded in 1985, the council was established within the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. For more information, and plan your trip to Michigan wine country, visit michiganwines.com.

Follow Michigan Wines on Instagram: @michiganwines

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.

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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

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