Michigan Wine Month brings events, tastings

It’s official: Gov. Rick Snyder has declared April Michigan Wine Month to honor our local wineries and the contribution they make to the state coffers.

Over the last 12 months, 11 wineries have opened including the 20th in Leelanau County, bringing the total to 92.

Studies have found the wineries are multiplying travel dollars spent in the state, luring 1 million visitors and generating $800 million for the Michigan economy over the course of a year.

April is also when the state wine council issues its new edition of Michigan Wine Country, the free wine and touring guide, which this year is a hefty 64 pages.

“There isn’t a day this month that there isn’t a Michigan wine event,” says Linda Jones, executive director of the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council.

Jones has headed up the council for 14 years and has watched the scene explode.

“We have wineries in Michigan at varying levels of evolution in all geographical areas, and there is room for more. They don’t all follow the same model.  Some get recognition with national awards, like Chateau Fontaine; some are tasting-room oriented like Sandhill Crane; St. Julian is expanding into new states; and some like Circa are getting distributors and connecting with the Detroit area.”

Jones said the Pure Michigan ad campaign and Tim Allen will do radio spots on the wineries, which are set to air in Toledo, South Bend, Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids.

FREE COPY OF WINE GUIDE

Get your 64-page wine and touring guide at the website or by calling (517) 241-1207. The guide contians maps and detailed directions to each winery, stories and helpful ads for restaurants, B&Bs and recreation near the wineries.

TASTINGS IN METRO DETROIT

Michigan Winemaker Dinner, with Circa Estate Winery and owners Margaret and David Bell, at the Rattlesnake, 6:30 p.m. April 19. $65 plus tax and gratuity; reservations required; (313) 567-4400. The Rattlesnake Club is at 300 River Place, Detroit.

7th annual Taste of Michigan Wine Tasting and Benefit, at Champane’s Wine Cellars, 6 p.m. April 19. Event will feature 20 wineries and benefit Southeastern Michigan Association of Neonatal Nurses. Tickets are $20. Reserve tickets by calling (586) 978-9463. Champane’s is at 7007 Chicago Road (13 Mile between Van Dyke and Mound), Warren.

What’s Cooking Detroit Wine & Food Festival, at The Palace of Auburn Hills, noon to 7 p.m. April 21. Event will feature celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, hands-on workshops, wine tasting and pairings, and more. Tickets are $12. For details go to the website.

Michigan Wine Showcase, at the Rattlesnake, 6-8:30 p.m. April 30. Master Sommeliers Claudia Tyagi and Madeline Triffon organize and host this tasting featuring 20 wineries, many of their winemakers and owners, and the food of Rattlesnake Executive Chef Chris Franz. The event will showcase Michigan’s highly rated 2011 vintage. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. Purchase tickets by calling Karel Bush at (517) 241-4468 or online at the website.

OTHER EVENTS

Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail will present “Celebrate Michigan Wine Month” April 21-22. For tickets and details, go to the website.

A Taste of Spring Wine Tasting Gala, featuring Michigan wineries and beers, hosted by Fountains Golf & Banquet, 6060 Maybee Road, Clarkston, and benefiting Clarkston Rotary. Event runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 3. For tickets, contact Al Avery (248) 953-0438 or Joel DeLong (248) 625-9741.

Leelanau vintners present their Spring Sip & Savor May 5-6. For tickets and event details, go to the website.

The Wineries of Old Mission present Blossom Days May 19-20. For tickets and event details, go to the website.

Great Lakes Wine Fest, presented by the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau, is May 19, at Michigan International Speedway from noon to 9 p.m. Go to the website for tickets and details.

For more events, check out the official website of the Michigan wine industry.