Wine column | Wine Culture

Michigan by the Bottle Tasting Room opens in Shelby Township

Just in time for New Year’s Eve, an industrious Michigan couple have upped their stake in the Michigan wine industry.

As bigtime wine fans and bloggers, Shannon Casey and wife Cortney Casey have teamed up with six Michigan wineries to establish the state’s first multi-winery tasting room (think store), named Michigan By The Bottle, in Shelby Township. It opens Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The new storefront tasting room, which is named for their blog, features the wines from Chateau Aeronautique in Jackson; Chateau de Leelanau, Suttons Bay; Domaine Berrien Cellars, Berrien Springs; Gill’s Pier Vineyard & Winery, Northport; Peninsula Cellars, Traverse City; and Sandhill Crane, Jackson. Check  out the Web site.

“Being the first of its kind in Michigan — six previously unaffiliated wineries coming together under one roof for a tasting room — was uncharted territory for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission,” Cortney said this week. “It was a complex process, but our partner wineries were committed to the project and were enthusiastic about getting their wines in front of Metro Detroit customers in a tasting room format, versus merely being relegated to a crowded supermarket shelf.”

The Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room is at 45645 Hayes, north of Hall Road, in the Hayes Center Shoppes on the west side of Hayes. Need more address markers? Look for Lifetime Fitness or Sherwood Brewing Co.

Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Thurs; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; noon-6 p.m. Sun. Closed Mon.-Tues. Hours for the New Year’s holiday will 11 a.m.-4 p.m. New Year’s Eve; noon-5 p.m. New Year’s Day.

The tasting room charges a nominal fee for sampling a flight of wines with small bites of food. The Caseys sell wine by the bottle and case, and plan to hold winemaker meet-and-greets, wine tasting classes and other events, plus feature artwork from Michigan artists. The first works to go on display are vineyard vistas by Grand Rapids artist Stephanie Schlatter and photos of sites around Michigan by Sheryl Burns of Sterling Heights.

This joint tasting room concept is common in California and parts of New York state and Virginia but long overdue in coming to Michigan. Leave it to the Caseys to pull this project together.

The Caseys have been supporting Michigan wineries in many digital formats since 2009 with interviews, podcasts, videos, online tastings, contests and more at the Michigan By The Bottle blog, where they offer an iPhone/iPad/Android app that serves as a portable guide to Michigan wine country. They have 3,700 fans on Facebook and more than 6,000 followers on Twitter.

Cortney Casey, 32, worked as a reporter for C&G Newspapers in Warren and is now a contributing writer for them. Shannon, 34, is sales director of BBC Title Agency in Royal Oak.

The couple call this week’s opening a “soft opening,” with a Grand Opening slated for early next year.

MICHIGAN BY THE BOTTLE TASTING ROOM

45645 Hayes, north of Hall Road in the Hayes Center Shoppes in Shelby Township

(586) 843-3690

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wed.-Thurs.

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

Noon-5 p.m. Sun.

Closed Mon.-Tues.

11 a.m.-4 p.m. New Year’s Eve

Noon-5 p.m. New Year’s Day