Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

Linda Jones, executive director of the Council, filled us in on the winners.

Among the winners are three Rieslings, a sparkling wine, a dry red that also won last year, a semi- dry red wine, one fruit, and one rosé

The judges were looking for wines that were true to the character of the grape produced in this region.

Here's a list of Michigan's eight "Best in Class" winners:

  • Sparkling: Aurora Cellars 2011 Brut
  • Dry White: Blustone Vineyards 2013 Riesling
  • Dry Red: Peninsula Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Semi-dry White: Gill's Pier Vineyard & Winery 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Semi-dry Red: Lawton Ridge Winery 2012 AZO Red
  • Dessert: Black Star Farms 2012 Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling
  • Fruit: 45 North Vineyard & Winery Peach Cremant
  • Rosé: Chateau de Leelanau 2013 Cabernet Franc Rosé

You can find the full list of winners here.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside: The great grape state

Jan 10, 2013
user farlane / flickr

Michigan is the fourth-largest grape producing state.

This is good news for wine lovers.

According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, there are 101 commercial wineries producing more than 1.3 million gallons of wine annually.

Christopher Cook, Chief Restaurant Critic and Wine Writer for Hour Magazine, spoke with Zoe Clark about the state’s growing industry.

“When our auto industry was in so much trouble, the wine industry was beginning to boom. In the past decade it has come the distance and has now reached a point in quality and size where it is being recognized across the country,” said Cook.

(courtesy of the Chateau Chantal winery)

This year’s mild winter weather is causing problems for the makers of ‘Ice Wines’ in Michigan.   

Ice wine is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes left on the vine to freeze. The very sweet wine is also very pricey. Michigan ice wines sell for as much $90 per bottle.  But this winter, hard freezes have been few and far between.  

Mark Johnson is the chief winemaker at the Chateau Chantal winery near Traverse City. He said the mild weather has taken a toll on the grapes waiting for the ice wine harvest. 

“We always know there’s going to be a loss," said Johnson, "This year…from what we were hoping…would be a ton and a half…or about 3,000 pounds…we harvested about 1,500.”   

Other Michigan vintners decided not to produce ice wines this season. That may mean the 2011 vintage Michigan ice wines will be harder to find this fall.   

Ice wines comprise about 5 percent of wines produced in Michigan.