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8 Delicious Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine Month

by Lisa Diggs

May has been proclaimed Michigan Wine Month by Governor Rick Snyder. According to the official proclamation Michigan's wine grape and wine industry contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact, including $253 million in tourism spending and creates more than 47,000 jobs. That makes at an industry worth honoring, and let’s face it, there are few proclamations that are easier to celebrate than this one. Here are eight great ways to salute the wine industry this month.

Check Out Traverse City Uncorked
In conjunction with May as Michigan Wine Month, Traverse City, which has become one of the most renown wine destinations, is celebrating with their annual TC Uncorked event. There are lodging packages, tasting room specials, chef events, winemaker dinners, and education for oenophiles from May 1-31. Home to not one, but two peninsulas (Leelanau and Old Mission) that are both designated as American Viticultural Areas (AVA), this city provides an exquisite backdrop for tasting internationally acclaimed varietals like Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. 
Take in Art Along the Pioneer Wine Trail
Spend the weekend of May 5-6 exploring the Pioneer Wine Trail in Southeast Michigan. You can enjoy the uniqueness of each of the nine wineries, as well as the art they are showcasing. Tickets are $35 and include a souvenir glass that you get when you check-in at your first winery, and will use throughout your tour. Each winery will be featuring a wine paired with a wonderful food selection and five additional wine samples. The wineries will feature an artist, like musicians, poets, sculptors, or authors, to make this weekend adventure truly unique.  
Try Some Rare Reds
St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw is offering an uncommon tasting experience on May 27. Winemaker Nancie Oxley will be sharing a very limited and exclusive tasting of their "Cap Drain" reserve red wines. These Cap Drain wines are very limited in production and made in a unique style to create bold red wine blends. Sample the 3 Cap Drain wines paired with 3 small bites, while you learn about this style of wine making. They will also have barrel samples of varietals currently aging in oak to be used in the next red blend. These very limited wines will be available for purchase that day along with a wide range of other St. Julian products. Tickets are $30 a person.
Enjoy Blossom Day on Old Mission
There may be no more spectacular time to visit Old Mission Peninsula than the spring. The combination of new wines, flowering buds, and light breezes is the stuff dreams are made of. A particularly good time to go is on Blossom Day, which is May 19. You can sample the newest vintages, soak up spring, enjoy seasonal food and wine pairings, and take in winemaker chats and operations tours along the wine trail. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. When you purchase your ticket, you choose your starting winery location. Your souvenir wine glass, which includes at least a 1.5 oz tasting per winery, will be waiting for you at that location.

Sip Some Cider at the Michigan Wine & Cider Festival

Many people are surprised to discover that hard cider is considered part of the wine family, rather than the beer family. This new event, on May 24, embraces both in the heart of Detroit’s food and beverage scene--Eastern Market. Meet the makers and sample a variety of wines and ciders from more than 40 businesses. Tickets are $35 in advance. Entrance includes ten sampling tickets and a souvenir tasting glass.

Have Dinner and Great Wine at the Kellogg Manor
Travel back in time a bit and enjoy a tasty opportunity in one of West Michigan’s most unique settings, the W.K. Kellogg Manor House on Gull Lake. Guests will taste their way through Michigan wines accompanied by locally-sourced small plates. The $50 ticket also includes a free optional guided tour of the Manor beginning at 5:30 p.m. Reserve your place for the dinner in advance.
Join the Vintage Michigan Wine Club
If you love wine and aren’t part of this club yet, wait no longer. Lifetime membership is just $25 and includes discounts at participating wineries, wine retailers, and restaurants across the state. You can also get discounts on lodging and ticketed wines events, a subscription to Michigan Wine Country magazine, and your choice of a Michigan Wines corkscrew or bottle stopper. It’s easy to join and start saving right away.
Buy Some Bottles and Invite Some Friends
Visiting a Michigan winery is an excellent way to learn about and taste local wines, but you don’t need an expert on hand to decide what you like. Go to a local market, buy some Michigan wines, invite some friends, and do a tasting of your own.
Happy Wine Month, Michigan!

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