Four Fun Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine Month

Michigan-Wine-sunsetDid you know that April is Michigan Wine Month? With more than 100 wineries nestled among 15,000 acres of scenic vineyards, Michigan truly is wine country. Whether you’re the occasional wine drinker or a professional connoisseur, there are numerous opportunities to get out and experience Michigan’s wineries this spring.

So, pop open that 2002 vintage red that you’ve been saving for the right occasion and toast to Pure Michigan. Here are four fun ways to celebrate Michigan Wine Month:

Attend the Michigan Wine Showcase in Detroit - April 7, 2014

To kick off the wine season, the Michigan Wine Showcase is taking place April 7th in Detroit. Join Master Sommeliers Claudia Tyagi and Madeline Triffon and 30 Michigan wineries for wine sampling and lavish appetizers created by Chef Chris Franz at The RattleSnake Club. Winemakers and winery owners will be on hand during this fabulous walk-around tasting to share their new release wines from the 2013 vintage! The Michigan Wine Showcase is a fantastic opportunity to experience the excellence of modern Michigan wines … and to enjoy sumptuous appetizers! Tickets are available in advance for $38 or $45 at the door.

Check out the Michigan Wine Celebration - April 12-13, 2014

Celebrate Michigan Wine Month at the Southeastern Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail’s “Michigan Wine Celebration” on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13! Each winery along the trail will feature an appetizer or dessert prepared by a local chef and paired with their featured wine. The price also includes one tasting glass. A recipe card with the featured recipe will be given out to ticket holders at each winery.

Plan a visit to one of Michigan’s Wine Trails

If you can’t make it to an event, then be sure to check out a wine trail. Michigan is home to many unique wine trails. While the majority of vineyards are based on the western side of the state, wineries can be found in nearly every region. Here’s a list of wine trails around the state:

Impress your friends and family with Michigan wine facts

Share the Michigan Wine Month spirit by showing off your knowledge of Michigan’s wine industry with these fun facts about  from the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.

  • - Michigan wineries attract more than 2 million visitors annually
  • - Michigan’s wine, grape and grape juice products add nearly $790 million of economic value
  • - The industry accounts for more than 5,000 jobs statewide and produce a payroll of more than $190 million
  • - Michigan is ranked the fifth state in wine grape production in the nation and vineyard area has doubled in the last 10 years
  • - The wineries produce more than 1.3 million gallons of wine annually – placing Michigan 13th in wine production

How will you celebrate Michigan Wine Month this April? 

For more information on Michigan wineries, watch the video below.

Ten Great Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Michigan

Love is in the air in Pure Michigan! Michigan’s snow-covered shores, glowing sunsets, and twinkling city lights help set the mood for a romantic getaway or special night out this February. Whether you cuddle-up at home or head out on the town, here are ten romantic ways to spend time with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan. For more ideas on things to do in Pure Michigan on Valentine’s Day, visit michigan.org.

1. Take Advantage of Ski and Snowboard Specials

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @daniellec319

For snow-loving couples, a number of Michigan ski resorts will offer special events and packages around Valentine’s Day. Have some fun on Cupid’s Couple Obstacle Course at Swiss Valley Ski Area or take advantage of two-for-one Valentine’s Day skiing at Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain will also offer special Romance Packages. Check out other ski and snowboard specials and events near you here.

2. Take a Midnight Stroll 

A leisurely hand-in-hand stroll is a relaxing way to spend quality time. Why not put a new spin on a classic activity with some cross-country skis or snowshoes?

Hartwick Pines State Park will offer a special evening event  on February 22nd where skiers will have a chance to enjoy one of the park’s groomed ski trails by lantern light.  Over 75 lanterns will be lit along the 1.25 mile, groomed cross-country ski trail. Stick around afterwards for hot beverages and snacks!

If you’d rather trek through Michigan’s terrain on foot, Hartwick Pines State Park will also offer a Full Moon guided snowshoe hike on Saturday, February 15, 2014, at 7pm. Trapper’s Cabin trail in Roscommon will also be lit with torches on February 15th, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience.

3. Go Ice Skating

What could be more picturesque than ice skating in the park after a romantic dinner? Many cities in Michigan have skating ponds in the winter months. In Grand Rapids, visitors can go ice skating in Rosa Parks Circle. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a candlelit dinner with your significant other before heading over to glide across the ice. In Detroit, Campus Martius Park is home to a skating rink January through March. Also located right downtown, there is a variety of dining options to choose from!

4. Check out a Beer or Wine Tasting

Michigan’s craft beer scene is booming. Why not try some unique Michigan craft brews at the brewery nearest you?

If sipping a glass of Michigan wine suits your fancy, many Michigan wineries are offering special tasting events for couples around Valentine’s Day. Check out Chateau Chantal’s Valentine’s Day Wine Education Dinner Traverse City or head to Roscommon’s Winter Wine Tasting on February 16th.

5. Spend the Night at a Michigan Bed & Breakfast

If a quick getaway is what you’re looking for, Michigan Bed and Breakfast’s have last-minute Valentine’s Day Specials avaialable. Spend a charming day and night exploring a new location, dining on local fare, and enjoying your time away together.

6. Spend Some Time with the Animals

Love animals? Spend Valentine’s Day at the Detroit Zoo for Love Gone Wild.  For a more action-packed outing, head to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and meet the sled dog teams participating in this year’s UP200 and Midnight Run.

7. Have a Few Laughs

Strengthen your bond over a few good jokes at your local comedy club. The Ramsdell Theatre and Cultural Center will host a special Valentine’s Day Comedy Concert. The show starts at 8pm, tickets are just $12 in advance, $15 at the door. A dinner/show package is also available for $75 per couple. Talented comedians will also take the stage at The Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival in downtown Traverse City. Be sure to ride the winter Ferris wheel outside after the show!

8. Catch a Flick

Catching a movie is a great way to spend the evening, and there are many movie theaters around Michigan to choose from. If you’d like to make you’re movie-going experience a little special, Michigan is home to several classic movie houses that aren’t your normal cinema. The State Theatre in Traverse City was originally built in 1918 and rebuilt in 1923 after a fire. It showed the first talking movie seen in Northern Michigan in 1929 when it was known as the Lyric Theatre. Now it is home to the Traverse City Film Festival and is open year round showing art house films. The Redford Theatre is Detroit was opened in 1928 and shows “classic movies the way they were meant to be seen,” accompanied by organ and all.

9. Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

It’s not Valentine’s Day without some sweet treats! Check out one of Michigan’s many delicious bakeries or attend an eventcentered wholly around chocolate!

Boyne City will be full of fun and chocolate this Valentine’s Day weekend during Chocolate-Covered Boyne celebrating chocolate and romance at more than 30 businesses.

Lemon Creek Winery in Grand Haven will also host “A Chocolate Affair” every Saturday in February from 2pm-5pm. Local Chocolatiers will share samples of their own unique handcrafted chocolates, truffles, bonbons, and other delectables. Chocolate pairings will also be featured with Lemon Creek’s wines for an even more tempting tasting experience.

10. Plan a Romantic Spring Getaway

If you’d rather curl up at home with a fire and some hot cocoa, take the time to plan a romantic getaway this spring. These great packages are sure to get you looking forward to exciting times ahead!

These are just a few of the many Valentine’s Day events happening around the state. For more ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan visit, michigan.org.

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day in Pure Michigan this year? 

Exploring Michigan Wineries in Southeast Michigan

Michigan is home to sprawling acres of beautiful wine country. Today’s guest blogger Philip Rudy gives us the inside scoop on a new wine trail coming to Southeast Michigan. 

There is no official date yet, but a new wine trail is coming to Southeast Michigan. There really isn’t an official wine trail in the area as of yet, even though it has been considered a great destination for wine-tasting for quite some time.

Photo courtesy of Charles Ruthruff, Sandy Shores Winery

There are 16 wineries participating in the new wine trail. Among the wineries participating are Westview Orchards and Winery in Washington, Sandy Shores Winery in Jeddo, Blue Water Winery in Lexington, Dizzy Daisy Winery in Bad Axe, S & G Winery in Lapeer, Village Winery in Romeo and coming soon 3 North Vines in Croswell. Also included are Superior Lakes Winery in Harrison Township, Filipo Marc Winery in Clinton Township, Fieldstone Winery in Rochester Hills, Blake’s Cider House and Winery in Armada, Sage Creek Winery in Memphis, The Green Barn Winery in Smith’s Creek and the Washington Street Wine House in New Baltimore.

To learn more about the new wine trail going up in Southeast Michigan, I got a hold of Tom Gray, a businessman and community booster that is helping to organize the new wine trail and asked him a few questions:

What are some of the main attractions of this wine trail?

This depends on whether you “Discover the Green” or “Discover the Blue.”

The attractions are very diverse. If you “Discover the Blue” you will visit tasting rooms near beaches on Lake St. Clair,  St. Clair River, Lake Huron, Clinton River and the Black River. Some of the main attractions are the drawbridge in Port Huron or several lighthouses on Lake Huron.

If you “Discover the Green” you will enjoy tasting rooms at orchards, vineyards, and downtowns (both large and small). We even have a tasting room at a horse ranch that offers a saddle for a stool at the bar. You will find a tasting room in the loft of a barn at a 200 year old farm. This loop also features a new winery at an orchard that is nothing short of spectacular complete with a Fieldstone fireplace and incredible woodwork.

Where do these wineries get their grapes/wine from?

About 40% of the wineries use Michigan based fruits and juices. The balance comes from California and some other regions for now. One tasting room makes award winning wine from a Honey base.

What makes this wine trail different than other wine trails?

While still too early to tell, I anticipate the primary difference of this trail compared to others could end up being our visitors from Canada. The trail is nestled between 4 current border crossing and 3 international airports. Train transportation is also available from Chicago to Toronto. The trail is also home to the second and third largest counties in the state – Oakland and Macomb. For those wine enthusiasts that can’t make the 3 to 5 hour drive to other established trails in MI, this maybe a convenient alternative.

When will the season be open?

From chatting with most of the winery owners the goal is be a year round destination.

How many miles does it stretch from point to point?

At present the trail stretches 83 miles point to point. The perimeter is 216 miles. For the best experience on the trail you should consider spending the night at one of our affiliated Hotels or B&B. We will have 5 or 6 suggested loops available to choose from along with dining, lodging and recommended points of interest. We plan to make this easy safe and fun.

One fun fact about the wine trail?

Watching people tell their friends where exactly in Michigan it is located -Just open your hand and point to the Thumb!

Have you visited any of the great Michigan wineries along the new wine trail? Tell us about your experience! 

 Philip Rudy is an “all-things Michigan enthusiast” and owner of Michigan Wine Trail as well as part-time webmaster and blogger at Spartan Hall of Fame.