The merry month of May brings us daffodils and tulips, warm nights that hint of summer, and an excuse to sip and savor local wine. It’s Michigan wine month and we’ve got lots of ideas on how to celebrate.

Host a Michigan Wine Dinner

If you love to entertain then this is a wonderful theme. Design a menu and pair a different local wine with each course. If you’re not sure which wine would go best with each dish, talk with an expert at the vineyard or your neighborhood wine shop. Then invite some friends over, uncork, and enjoy.

Plan a Picnic

The weather is warming up, and it is finally time to enjoy the fact that when you’re in Michigan, you’re never more than six miles from a body of water. Pick a nice spot. Pack a basket that includes a bottle or two of Michigan wine. Grab a blanket or choose a picnic table. Unpack and unwind. Oh, and don’t forget the corkscrew!

One of many Michigan wineries with outdoor seating and sweeping vineyard views.

Visit a Winery or Several

There are more than 140 wineries around the great state of Michigan, so you’re never far from one. Each has its own unique style and ambiance. Head to a wine trail and explore. In the southwestern portion of the state there’s the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. Further north you’ll find the Petoskey Wine Region, and Old Mission Wine Trail. Then there’s the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. The peninsula is so dotted with wineries that there are three different groups you may want to explore: Sleeping Bear, Grand Traverse Bay, and the North Loop. If you’re headed to the UP, the wineries are perhaps a tad more spread out than a trail, but equally fun to explore.

Head to a Tasting Room

If you can’t make it to one of the state’s wine regions, go to a Mich by the Bottle tasting room. There are locations in Royal Oak, Auburn Hills, and Shelby Township. They offer wines from nearly twenty different local wineries, and some fun events. Taste a variety, and buy bottles you like to take home.

Michigan stores are carrying wider varieties of locally-produced wines.

Stock Up

Because it’s wine month, not to mention the edge of summer, this is an excellent time to replenish your bar, wine fridge or cellar. Many shops and vineyards will be offering special pricing. Plus, there are lots of new white wines that have just been released.

Try a Fruit Wine

Sure, we know that all wines are made from fruit, but typically it’s different varieties of grapes. However, this state has an abundance of other luscious fruits, many of which make for tasty and even refreshing wines. Have you tried blueberry wine? How about cranberry? Across the state you can find blackberry, raspberry, peach, and more. St Julian even has a Blood Orange Sangria that would be a summer delight. Of course, the best of the best in alternative fruit wines, is cherry. The vast majority of local wineries make a cherry wine, and they are very different from one another. Some are light and very fruity, while others almost taste like a slice of cherry pie. Sampling a cherry wine is a must for any Michigan wine drinker.

Become a Vintage Michigan Member

Our friends at the Michigan Wine Collaborative have taken over the Vintage Michigan wine club from the State of Michigan, and they are eager for you to join. For just $25 a year you get discounts at over 60 wineries as well as select retailers and restaurants around the state. Plus, there are discounts on lodging and tickets for certain Michigan wine events. You may subscribe to an email newsletter that will keep you updated on local wine. Then there’s the Michigan Wine Country magazine, an annual publication with maps to Michigan’s wineries, interesting articles and information to help you explore the state’s wine country.

Visitors can take in the view, join the club, and take cooking classes at Chateau Chantal.

Join a Vineyard’s Wine Club

How about setting yourself up to have great local wine delivered straight to your door at affordable prices? The chances are high that your favorite winery has a club. In most cases, in addition to wine shipments, you gain access to additional discounts and premium treatment when you arrive at their door. Just a sample of wineries that have clubs include Cherry Creek Cellars, Round Barn, St. Julian, Black Star Farms, Leelanau Cellars, 2 Lads, and Chateau Chantal.

Head to an Event

Wineries all over the state offer special events that are open to the public. Plus, the northern regions will be celebrating all month with Traverse City Uncorked. Download their app and you’ll find discounts, special tours, and even ways to win cool prizes. Meanwhile, down in Motown, the Michigan Wine Collaborative is lighting up Comerica Park with its Uncork Me Wine Festival on May 18. The city will also be home to lots of pairing events throughout that weekend. On the west coast, Memorial Weekend will be extra special at Lemon Creek Winery, which will hold its Annual Wine and Fine Arts Festival.

Gift a Bottle or Two

If you’re already a big fan of Michigan wines and winemakers, then this is the perfect month to spread the word. Give a bottle of your favorite wine to someone who may not have explored our wine culture yet. Pick up a bottle of Mawby sparkling to salute a new graduate or homeowner. Buy several different bottles and invite friends over for a tasting in your own home.

Cheers to the Michigan winemakers and their staffs, who add such a fun and flavorful element to our state. Happy Michigan Wine Month.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.