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10 Places to Celebrate Michigan Wine Month

by Lisa Diggs

In keeping with tradition, Governor Snyder has again proclaimed April as Michigan Wine Month.  The effort, spearheaded by the Michigan Grape and Wine Council, is aimed at shining a spotlight on this growing industry.

In 2012, total wine sales in Michigan increased by just 1% while sales of Michigan wine rose more than 6%.  In fact, Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.

Michigan wines consistently win high awards at competitions around the country, and the state is increasingly being recognized nationally for the quality of the wines produced. As a result of accolades and sales, Michigan’s wine grape acreage doubled over the past decade from 1,300 acres to 2,650 acres, according to a report released last summer by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service.

There are now more than one hundred wineries in Michigan, and during April many of them, along with local restaurants, will be hosting special events to introduce their products to even more potential customers.  That makes April a fantastic time to explore Michigan’s wine country, attend a tasting, or just buy a bottle from your local market and toast the coming of spring and a Michigan industry on the rise.

Here are ten highlights worth exploring around the state this month.

April 4th Michigan Wine Country Release Party – Toasted Oak, Novi

Celebrate Michigan Wine Month and the 2013 release of the beautiful Michigan Wine Country magazine. Small plate specials will be available for $5 and under. The event also features wine tasting featuring Michigan wine, and wine specials by the glass.

April 6th Michigan Wine Month Open House – Sandhill Crane Vineyards, Jackson

Kick off Michigan Wine Month with an Open House, wine release, and live music. The event includes the first release of the winery’s estate-grown Sur Lie Traminette.

April 6th Winemaker’s Dinner – Fenn Valley Vineyards, Fennville

Fenn Valley’s Winemaker’s Dinner will feature all six of their wines available for pre-sale complemented by a gourmet meal that will give you the opportunity to experience these wines at their best – with food.

April 12th-13th Chefs Challenge – Boyne Mountain, Boyne.

This annual Michigan epicurean event, focuses on the state’s great agricultural diversity at its succulent finest, complemented by fine Michigan wines, micro-brews and spirits.

April 13th Masquerade Wine Dinner – St. Julian Winery, Paw Paw.

Celebrate spring at this Winemaker's dinner featuring five courses prepared by Martell's restaurant. Feathers, beads, wine and masks, what more do you need to have a blast? Each course will be paired with special, hand-selected new wines from St. Julian. Come dressed in your best masked disguise!

April 14th Art & Wine – Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room, Shelby Twp.

Join Grand Rapids-area artist Stephanie Schlatter - whose colorful "On the Michigan Wine Trail" series is on long-term display in the tasting room, to explore the relationship between art and wine via the beautiful wine country of Michigan.  Sip wine from six wineries while creating a souvenir art piece.

April 15th Michigan Wine Showcase – Rattlesnake Club, Detroit

Join Master Sommeliers Claudia Tyagi and Madeline Triffon and more than 20 Michigan wineries for a 2012 Vintage Preview with wine sampling and lavish appetizers created by Chef Chris Franz.

April 20th-21st Michigan Wine Celebration – Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail

Each winery along the trail will feature an appetizer or dessert prepared by a local chef and paired with their featured wine. The ticket price also includes one tasting glass. A recipe card with the featured recipe will be given out to ticket holders at each winery.

April 25th All Michigan “Not So Taxing” Wine Event – The B.O.B., Grand Rapids

The Gilmore Collection presents an informal “walk around” wine tasting featuring 20 Michigan wineries with more than 100 wines to sample. Meet the winemakers and mingle.

April 26th New Release Competition and Wine Tasting – Bluebird, Leelanau

Join the wineries of Northern Leelanau County as they celebrate Michigan Wine Month with the release of another vintage of fantastic wines.  After a blind tasting challenge, they will gather at the Bluebird in Leland to share the wines, try wonderful food selections, and discuss the new vintage. Come be one of the lucky 100 people to taste these new vintage wines.

Many more wine-centric events are happening around the state all month.  Consult your local winery or nearby restaurants for opportunities in your neighborhood.  Note that reservations or tickets are required for most events, so be sure to call ahead or visit them online.  

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