MICHIGAN WINE COUNTRY NEWS AND FEATURES

Harvest Helpers

Michigan’s grape-harvesting season is in full swing, which means vineyards are once again working with a diverse — but, in some cases, small — assemblage of pickers to bring in the crops. A shortage of harvest workers is a common issue and one that many vineyards need to work around every year.

Q&A with Ralph Kridner

Ralph Kridner is a wine educator and restaurant and wine consultant who is based in Traverse City and conducts guided tastings. Here, he shares his insights on wines and tastings.

Bypassing the Bottle

In 2020, vino lovers are accustomed to drinking wine from nonstandard packaging — screw-top bottles, aluminum cans and boxed wine among them. But in a restaurant or even a traditional tasting room, consumers may be getting their glass of wine from an even more unusual source: kegs.

Wine with a Purpose

Tyler Earnst isn’t old enough to drink the wine he’s had a part in selling. But he’s learning that there’s a lot more to the business of wine than savoring the product.

What’s in a Label? Everything

Wineries choose labels that say a little about the wine in the bottle while attracting the eyes of consumers.“When deciding on a label, we try for something eye-catching, tasteful, distinctive and memorable, all while...

Michigan Wine Industry Rallies Around St. Julian Winemaker

A little boy who loved superheroes touched a lot of lives. Now the Michigan wine community is rallying around the family who mourns his loss. Robbie Oxley, the 6-year-old son of St. Julian winemaker Nancie Oxley and her husband, Keith, died as a result of a freak accident that happened on Sept. 19.

Wineries Weather Summer, Brace for What’s Next

The theme at Michigan wineries of late has been, in many ways, “adaptability.” When tasting rooms were closed and then reopened at reduced capacity, vintners hosted virtual events, began serving flights instead of traditional...

Next Generation Gets Involved at Cherry Republic

At the ripe old ages of 12 and 14, Hawthorn and Colebrook Sutherland spent the summer getting more involved in the family business. “It is very gratifying bringing my sons into the business,” says Cherry Republic owner Bob Sutherland.

Brys Estate at 15

Opening a winery was a lifelong goal for Walt and Eileen Brys. Inspiration first hit when the couple traveled together for a business conference to San Francisco, Calif., for Walt’s employer in the 1970s. They toured Napa Valley, and though California wines did not yet possess the same prestige they do today, “they absolutely fell in love with the concept of having a winery, and it became a dream of theirs,” says their son Patrick Brys.

Join the (Wine) Club

A winery’s greatest success comes in the form of its loyal customer base. In an effort to cultivate and grow that group, many have started their own versions of a wine club. In essence, wine...

Meet the Winemaker: Dean Bender, Lawton Ridge Winery

Dean Bender is winemaker and co-owner of Lawton Ridge Winery in Kalamazoo and Lawton Ridge Vineyard in Lawton. After studying to become a chiropractor, he returned to Kalamazoo to practice chiropractic medicine. It was...

Michigan Craft Beverage Council Accepting 2021 Research Grant Proposals

The Michigan Craft Beverage Council is accepting 2021 Research Grant proposals with a maximum grant award of $40,000. Proposals must be received no later than 3 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. While any research topic will be accepted, the Council has identified priorities that will help direct the projects prioritized for funding.

Inn at Black Star Farms Wins Top Spot in Best Wine Country Hotel in...

The USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards has named the Inn at Black Star Farms Best Wine Country Hotel 2020. A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the...

Q&A with Judy Ciesla: Chicagoan shares the Michigan wine love

Judy Ciesla is a Level 1 sommelier and certified wine steward working as a tasting room associate at Cogdal Vineyards, Home of Little Man Winery, in South Haven. She recently launched a “Judy’s Corner”...

Influencing the Influencers

The Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) recently partnered with BevFluence, a group of beverage-related content creators, to promote Michigan vineyards and wineries. “BevFluence is an organization that brings content creators in the beverage space together to share stories, share marketing campaigns — basically, to collaborate,” says Justin Koury, co-founder of BevFluence.

From Restaurant to Field

Youngblood Vineyard has paired up with The Whitney in downtown Detroit to create a hands-on winemaker experience for metro Detroit patrons. It starts with participants being transported to Youngblood Vineyard in northern Macomb County Sept. 20 to harvest for three hours.

The Tours Go On

Like wineries across Michigan, wine tour operators have also had to develop strategies to keep their employees and customers safe as they’ve resumed doing business that is anything but usual.Touring companies must abide by...

50 Years Later, Leonard Olson’s Imprint Endures

If there’s one thing Fenn Valley Vineyards owner Doug Welsch will always remember about the late Leonard Olson, founder of Tabor Hill Winery, it’s his philosophy about selling wine. “‘You are selling a good time,’” Welsch recalls Olson telling him.

Wineries Do Michigan Proud in Finger Lakes Wine Competition

More than 50 Michigan wineries took medals in the 2020 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (FLIWC), held July 18 and 19.One of America’s largest charitable wine competitions in the U.S., the competition attracts thousands...

Masks and More: The New Winery Etiquette

Since Michigan wineries began reopening their physical locations this spring, the tasting experience has looked dramatically different from what guests knew in the past. In many cases, wine flights have replaced individual tastings, staff...

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