Home to over 140 wineries, it stands to reason that Michigan deserves to have its own wine competition once again. Last month the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC), in partnership with the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) launched the inaugural Michigan Governor’s Cup wine competition. Out of 300 entries from 46 wineries around the state, St. Julian scored uncorked top honors with its 2020 Braganini Reserve Cabernet Franc, and also found itself with Best of Category honors in several other categories.

St Julian Winery and Distillery

St Julian is a 4th generation, family-owned winery in Paw Paw that is well worth a visit. The ample, flagship tasting room is just a quick jaunt off of I-94, and is loaded with the company’s own wine and spirits, as well as other Michigan-made goods. There are also tasting rooms in Dundee, Frankenmuth, Rockford, Troy, and Union Pier. The company has been producing award-winning wines for a very long time, but especially in recent years under the skillful guidance of the state’s first female winemaker, Nancy Oxley.

Best of Category Winners  

Best Sweet Wine: 12 Corners Vineyards 2021 Estate Grown, Vidal Blanc Ice Wine $40
Best Hybrid White Wine: Cherry Creek Cellars (MI) 2022 Charamar Collection, Vignoles $19
Best Fruit Wine: End of the Road Winery NV Mount Me Cherry Wine $16
Best Sparkling Wine: MAWBY NV Grace Brut Rosé $29
Best Vinifera White Wine: Modales 2022 Hollywood Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc $20
Best Rose Wine: St. Julian NV BFF Dry Rosé $15
Best Vinifera Red Wine: St. Julian Braganini 2020 Reserve, Cabernet Franc $26
Best Hybrid Red Wine: St. Julian Braganini 2020 GDN Estate Reserve, Petite Pearl $21
Best Fortified Wine: St. Julian NV Solera Cream Sherry $13
Best Specialty Wine/Cider/Mead St. Julian NV Sweet Nancie Sparkling Peach Wine $12

Depending upon your personal preferences, any of the above wines would make excellent choices to add to a collection, pick up for a celebration, or give as a gift. These are just scratching the surface, however. A complete list of medal winning wines may be found online. Pick up a bottle or two to compare and contrast yourself, or drop by a Michigan wine trail for a tasting experience among the experts.

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.