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Friday, April 17, 2015

Wine N Bloom Event Starts May 1 On Northeast Ohio’s Vines and Wines Trail

timoVisit 16 wineries, sip a couple of their best wines, sample light appetizers, collect 16 different spring flowers for your garden during the popular Wine N Bloom event on the Vines and Wines Trail. The cost for this self-driving tour is $50 per couple or $40 for a single traveler. You also receive a souvenir wineglass. 

Reservations are required. The the event will sell out, so don’t delay. Visit www.OhioWines.org or call 800-227-6972 for more information. 

Here is a list of participating wineries:
* Benny Vino Urban Winery, Perry
* Buccia Vineyards, Conneaut
* Deer's Leap Winery, Geneva
* Emerine Estates, Jefferson
* Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Geneva
* Goddess Wine House, Ashtabula
* Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Geneva
* Harpersfield Vineyards, Geneva
* Hundley Cellars, Geneva
* Laleure Vineyards, Parkman
* Laurello Vineyards, Geneva
* Old Firehouse Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake
* Old Mill Winery, Geneva
* The Lakehouse Inn & Winery, Geneva-on-the-Lake
* The Winery at Spring Hill, Geneva
* Virant Family Winery, Geneva

Host lodges this year are the Lodge at Geneva and Fitzgerald's Irish Bed and Breakfast.  Details about their offers are listed on the Ohio Wines web site noted above.

Photo Credit: timo_w2s via Compfight cc

Thursday, April 16, 2015

South Africa Offers New World Wine With Rich History

Val KyriehSouth Africa is known as a maker of New World wines. That label is deceiving. As my wife and I prepare for a trip to that country’s winelands, I’ve been researching the country’s rich oenological history and have found a tradition as rich as the abundant gold deposits in Johannesburg.

Almost twice as large as Texas, it has 1,800 miles of coastline. It is the only wine region in the world sandwiched between two oceans: the Atlantic and the Indian. Jan Van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company planted the first vines in the Cape of Good Hope in 1655.

Jason WeaverThere were many setbacks in the beginning, chiefly because of the farmers' ignorance of viticulture. Things improved when Van Riebeeck was succeeded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel who planted a vineyard on his farm Constantia and made good wine from the outset. Later, Constantia wines became world-famous.

The Dutch had almost no wine tradition and it was only after the French Huguenots settled at the Cape between 1680 and 1690 that the wine industry began to flourish. Since that time, South African wine has had its peaks and valleys, ranging from the decimation of vineyards by the disease phylloxera, the Anglo-Boer War, overproduction, international trade sanctions in the 1980s as a protest against apartheid,

In 1990 apartheid was abolished and South Africa’s first democratic elections were held in 1994. Nelson Mandela’s support helped the reemergence of South African wine and he toasted his 1993 Nobel Peace prize with South African wine from the Cape region.

Warren SkiThe wine industry in South Africa is undergoing an exciting period of change. Once known for a proliferation of low quality white wine, the industry is realigning itself to compete globally. Only recently a 10-year trend of planting more reds has shifted back to whites.

Chenin Blanc is the most widely planted variety. Other top grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Colombard, Shiraz, Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Chardonnay. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is considered the signature grape of the country. Also produced are Methode Cap Classique (MCC) wines, outstanding sparkling wines made in the traditional method of Champagne.

The southern areas are the heart of the South African wine industry. We will be visiting Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, which is a ward in the Paarl wine region. There will be more to come as we prepare for our epic journey.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: April 15-18, 2015

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Wednesday, April 15
WillaKenzieThe Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Kim G's Tour of Italy with Wine: 1. Tenuta Delle Terre Nere 2012 Etna Bianco (Sicily), 2. Rocca Delle Macie 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva (sub-region of Chianti in central Tuscany), 3. If You See Kay 2012 Red Blend (Lazio region, just south of Tuscany), 4. Franco Serra 2011 Barbaresco (Piedmont area in northwest Italy). Nominal fee per sample or $10 per flight.
 
Manhattan’s Restaurant, 1516 Adams St., Toledo – (419) 243-6675. Wine dinner. 6:30 PM. Call for reservations and info.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Thursday, April 16
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Some Wonderful New Spring Favorites: 1. 2013 Surani – Arthemis – Fiano – Puglia, Italy, 2. 2014 Mulderbosch – Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon – South Africa, 3. 2010 Cuvée des Ardoises – Chateau des Eries – Languedoc, France, 4. 2008 Saddleback Cellars – Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley. Nominal fee per sample or $7 per flight.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Wines of the Mediterranean from Portugal to Greece: 1. Alpha Estate Malagouzia, 2. Santorini Assyrtiko, 3. Esporao Pe Tinto, 4. Assobio, 5. Chateau Kefraya, 6. SKouras Saint George, 7. Kopke 10 Year Old Tawny. Nominal fee per sample.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Weekly wine tasting: Vintner Select Portfolio with special guest Tricia Rasar: 1. Gruet Sparkling Brut, 2. Domaine Lafond Lirac Blanc, 3. Hexamer Weissherbst Spatburgunder, 4. Francois Villard Syrah, 5. Terracae Cahors Malbec. Nominal fee per sample.
 
Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. Open at 12:00 noon for Mud Hens Opening Day Celebration.
 
WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.
 
Friday, April 17
Toledo Museum of Art, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine by the Glass Pavilion. Bellissimo: Italian Wines. Enjoy four wines and light snacks at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Purchase during Museum hours by phone at 419-255-8000 ext. 7448.

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – Interesting Wines. 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, April 18
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Exploring the Soul of American Pinot Noir. If no grape expresses the personality of a place like Pinot Noir, then maybe American Pinot Noir is schizophrenic. We’ll taste them all: from the delicate farm-to-table styles of Oregon, through the mixed messages of Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. Then we’ll finish with the big flavors and bigger personalities of Santa Barbara.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Wine, Cheese & Chocolate benefit. 7:00 to 10:00 PM at Belmont Country Club, 29601 Bates Road, Perrysburg. Tickets $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Tables of eight are available at $300. For tickets and more information, contact VictoryforViolet@bex.net or call (419) 874-9806.

AREA WINE BARS

  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

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[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

May 15Wood County Humane Society Wine and Dine. 7:00 to 10:00 PM at Graystone Banquet Hall 29101 Hufford Rd., Perrysburg. Advance tickets $50 per person, $90 per couple or $175 for four. Tickets available online.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bodegas Avanthia 2008 Avanthia, Valdeorras

Avanthia

This Spanish wine came to me via a closeout from Andersons last year. The primary grape is Mencia, which I have never tried, and so I thought I’d take a flyer.

Valdeorras is a mountainous area in the Galica in northwest Spain. The area is gaining a following for their Mencia reds and Godello whites.

Avanthia makes an impression even before you taste a glass. The bottle is heavy duty, similar to what might hold an expensive Napa Cabernet. Interestingly enough, the cork is also one of the longest I’ve extracted from a bottle.

The aroma is a mix of earth and herbs. On the palate this is medium in body and well balanced.

Layers of smoke, earth and red fruit notes interact. There is good acidity and the tannins have been integrated nicely.

I picked this up for $26, well under the going price of $46. This is an interesting wine that should accompany lighter red meat entrees very well. It should also pair nicely with a tapas-style meal.

Rating: 3.5 of 5  Value: 3 of 5

Monday, April 13, 2015

Rosenblum Cellars Stark Raving Cab, NV

Stark Raving Cab

A while ago I made a vow to myself: to purchase less wine, but make sure to buy more expensive, better bottles. The Stark Raving Cab made me forget all about that.

We were up in Michigan and coming back down the north part of Toledo. I saw a sign at a fruit market proclaiming “wine sale.” It also said, “Wine $2.99.”

I made a hard right and pulled into the store parking lot. This was so uninteresting to Green Dragon, that she opted to stay in the car.

The wines weren’t as horrible as I imagined. While they were certainly not high end wines, there were some interesting ones for less than $10. I had to find out what they were selling for $2.99.

Turns out it was Stark Raving Cab. I usually don’t buy wine with gimmicky labels. But I noticed this wine is made by Rosenblum Cellars. Rosenblum makes some outstanding wine – especially Zinfandel. Many of their Zins top out at more than $40. So I grabbed the bottle, unfolded three dollar bills and was on my way.

The other night I thought I would test Green Dragon, so I poured her a glass without her knowing the wine. Shortly afterward, a tornado warning was issued. Our dog Amber got a bit anxious, so I grabbed some glasses and the bottle and we headed to the cellar (where we have plenty of wine to ride out any emergency).

Stark Raving Cab usually sells for about $12.99, so it’s not as bad as what you might think based on my price. This is an attempt to create a “lifestyle” wine with an irreverent attitude and “crazy good” flavors. Hmmm.

It’s actually an acceptable sipper with rich fruit flavors, a bit of funky earth notes and a short finish. The body is light to medium. The grapes are from France, although the exact location is a mystery. I’m guessing Languedoc, since they it is one of the largest grape growing regions in the country.

I’ve paid more for worse wines.

Review: 2 of 5  Value: 2.5 of 5

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mythmaker 2011, California Red Wine

MythmakerThis wine is produced by online retailer Lot 18. I got it in an indirect way. Tasting team member Dr. J had found himself in an “overpurchased” situation. This occurs when you have bought so much wine within a short period of time that it causes your spouse complain, often repeatedly.

Anxious to help him out, I purchased some of his surplus goods, including this bottle of Mythmaker. Mythmaker is one of the house brands of Lot 18. I assume that they find wineries with surplus grapes or wine, buy them and market them under one of their private labels.

There is an opportunity to score wine from well known wineries on the cheap under this scenario. The downside is, there is precious little information about the wine. The grapes and the blend for the 2011 Mythmaker are undisclosed.

The good news is this is a really interesting wine. It appears to be a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and perhaps Cab Franc and a dash of Zinfandel. I was surprised that this wine had some Old World funkiness. It is light bodied, but has a briny, herbal quality that calls out for olives or flame-roasted meat. I imagine it would go quite well with wild boar, although I’ve never had any.

Mythmaker 2011 has more character than expected in a mystery bottle of California red. For $15, it is priced about right.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 2.5 of 5

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail Sets Michigan Wine Celebration April 11-12

Rachel KramerJoin the Michigan Wine Celebration with the wineries of the SE Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail during this special event April 11 and 12. Each winery along the trail will feature an appetizer or dessert prepared by a local chef and paired with their featured wine. The price also includes one tasting glass.

Tickets for this self-driven tour with eight delicious food and wine pairings are $30 per person. Each ticket purchase includes tasting up to six additional wine samples at each winery. Designated drivers eat for free. Discounts for groups of 25 or more are available by calling (517)-423-9000.

There are no physical tickets mailed for this event. Once purchased, your name is added to a registration list that will be at each winery. Simply bring your ID and enjoy

The Pioneer Wine Trail is supporting Michigan viticulture and oenology research by donating $1 of each ticket sold for this event to the Michigan Wine Foundation, a foundation that supports wine and grape growing research throughout Michigan. Through continued research and development of Michigan's grape and wine industry, award winning wines from Michigan grown grapes are becoming world renowned for their quality and remarkable taste.

If you would like to donate to support Michigan viticulture and oenology research please click here.


Planned food and wine pairings:

Burgdorf’s Winery: Chicken thighs marinated in a red curry sauce served over pecan wild rice by Chef Tom, Golden Rose with 2013 Naked Chardonnay or 2012 Cayuga.

Chateau Aeronautique Winery: Lobster bisque, Catering by Meredith with 2013 Naked Chardonnay or 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cherry Creek - Old Schoolhouse Winery: Braised chicken wings with Riesling.

Flying Otter Winery: Muffaletta stuffed baguette with herb aioli with Chancellor.

J. Trees Cellars: Minted Pea & Prosciutto Crostini with House Sangria.

Lone Oak Vineyard Estate: Thai Chicken Satay with Vintner's Suite Riesling.

Pentamere Winery: Shish Tawook (shish kebab with chicken) and hummus with Celebration White.

Sandhill Crane Vineyards: Strawberry & pecan salad with spinach & feta by Sandhill café with Blushing Crane.

Ticket holders are welcome to visit each location over the two-day event, or they may choose to limit their visits (as time permits). The Wine Trail encourages ticket holders to bring a designated driver. Hours of the event are Saturday, April 11, from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sunday, April 12, from noon to 6:00 PM. There are a limited number of tickets available, ticket sales will end on Wednesday, April 8 at midnight (or when sold out), and tickets will not be available the day of the event.

For more information call (517) 592-4663 or (517) 531-3080. If no answer, please call 517-655-2883 or 517-764-0679.

Photo by Rachel Kramer

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: April 8-11, 2015

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Wednesday, April 8
Birthday - December 2011 008The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Four Wonderful New Closeouts: 1. Casa Setaro 2011 Falanghina, 2. Barbi 2011 Lago di Corbara Red, 3. Saddleback 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 4. Bonny Doon 2013 "The Heart Has Its Rieslings." Nominal fee per sample or $5 per flight.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Thursday, April 9
Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Some Beautiful New Wines: 1.
2013 Cuvée des 3 Messes Basses – White Rhone Blend – Ventoux, France, 2. 2014 Charles & Charles – Rosé – Columbia Valley, Washington, 3. 2012 Cuvée des 3 Messes Basses – Red Rhone Blend – Ventoux, France, 4. 2012 Argiano – Rosso Toscano – Red Tuscan Blend – Tuscany, Italy. Nominal fee per sample or $5 per flight.

Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Valpolicella and Amarone. Amarone wine has a tremendous concentration. This is achieved by drying the grapes, traditionally done in the sun on straw mats, now done with air driers, to concentrate the tannins, sugars and accentuate the skins by removing moisture from the grapes. These are formidable wines. Here is a rare tasting to sample six great Amarone producers. 1. Mazzi Valpolicella Classico Superiore, 2. Bussola Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, 3. Villa Erbice, 4. Mazzi, 5. Santi, 6. Masi Costasera, 7. Nicolas, 8. Nicolis Ambrosan. Nominal fee per sample.

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Weekly wine tasting. Nominal fee per sample.
 
WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.
 
Friday, April 10
Toledo Museum of Art, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine by the Glass Pavilion. Magnifique: French Wines. Enjoy four wines and light snacks at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Purchase during Museum hours by phone at 419-255-8000 ext. 7448.

Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting. 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Saturday, April 11
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. 4th Annual Wine Tour to France and Italy. Do you want to travel to France and Italy with us? Our Wine Guy Austin Beeman takes a small group to Europe every year and you could come with him. We get exclusive access to best wineries in the world, eat local gourmet meals, and come away with a deeper understanding of these amazing places. We call it a “World Tasting.”
Learn about the Trip, ask questions, and come ready to sign up. Nominal fee per sample.

 
AREA WINE BARS
  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.

Technorati Tags:
[Information on tastings can be sent to TWAV@ATT.NET.]

Up & Coming:

Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).

April 18 - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Wine, Cheese & Chocolate benefit. 7:00 to 10:00 PM at Belmont Country Club, 29601 Bates Road, Perrysburg. Tickets $40 in advance or $45 at the door. Tables of eight are available at $300. For tickets and more information, contact VictoryforViolet@bex.net or call (419) 874-9806.

May 15Wood County Humane Society Wine and Dine. 7:00 to 10:00 PM at Graystone Banquet Hall 29101 Hufford Rd., Perrysburg. Advance tickets $50 per person, $90 per couple or $175 for four. Tickets available online.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sapphire Hill 2009 Cinque Gemma, North Coast

Cinque Gemma

Sapphire Hill is located in the heart of Northern Sonoma and specializes in hand-crafted, limited production wines. On Easter, enjoying a relaxing afternoon of appetizers and drinks with friends, we opened Sapphire Hill’s Cinque Gemma.

Cinque Gemma, or “five gems,” is an Italian blend. It is primarily Dolcetto and Sangiovese with Barbera, Primativo and Petite Sirah. With this collection of cool grapes, how could the wine disappoint?

Disappoint it didn’t. This is a signature blend that is medium in body. Green Dragon had requested something that wasn’t too heavy as she was just getting over a cold.

Ham, asparagus, quiche, deviled eggs… whatever we were noshing on, the Sapphire Hill was an agreeable partner. Ideally, though, we’d suggest this be paired with some pasta.

This has the weight of a Pinot Noir and has some beautiful riffs of cherry, but is also has the rich, rustic flavor of Sangiovese. There are hints of caramel and plum. It is not weighted down with heavy tannins and maintains a light, elegant feel.

I scored this bottle from Underground Cellars and got a deal at about $20 for this bottle. With Underground Cellars you pay for the lowest priced bottle in their package and get upgraded to higher priced wine when you purchase multiple bottles. I bought a total of four Sapphire Hill bottles and this is the third I’ve had – each has been delicious. I’m now a fan of this winery.

The 2012 Cinque Gemma vintage is now available from the winery at $40 and I see that the blend is somewhat different, which is to be expected. This is a fun blend that is a great value and is versatile for entertaining. Cinque Gemma gets Cinque thumbs up!

Rating: 4 of 5  Value 5 of 5

Monday, April 6, 2015

Growing State Industry Celebrates April As Michigan Wine Month

Sean NaberApril has been declared “Michigan Wine Month” to honor the state’s wide selection of quality wines and the wine industry’s significant contribution to the economy, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said.

The number of wineries in the state continues to grow, with 117 producers of Michigan wine currently recognized by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, a program within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development that is charged with supporting industry growth.

The cold winters of 2014 and 2015 challenged the industry with reduced wine grape yields, creating a limited supply of grapes for some consumers’ favorite varietals. However, Michigan vintners produce wine from nearly 50 different wine grapes, including many cold-hardy varieties, so consumers will still find a wide selection of wines available in winery tasting rooms. In addition, many wineries have an abundant supply on hand from the high-yielding 2012 and 2013 vintages.

“We appreciate the support of our loyal customers,” said Marie-Chantal Dalese, CEO of Chateau Chantal, on Old Mission Peninsula. “The industry will work through this rough patch handed to us by Mother Nature and will come out of it with new knowledge and experience regarding our vineyard practices and sites that will help us perform even better in the future. Our wines are gaining national attention for quality, and we will continue earning a solid reputation for excellence.”

That national attention is evidenced by 230 awards earned by 32 producers of Michigan wine in national competitions in 2014. Consumers are paying attention; sales of Michigan wine has doubled over the past 10 years, outpacing the growth in all wine sales in Michigan and increasing Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.

Michigan wineries welcome more than 2 million visitors each year.

“April is an ideal time to venture out and sample wines in winery tasting rooms,” said Gordon Wenk, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and chair of the Council. “They’re not as busy as later in the season, and winery owners and staff have more time to spend with customers and help them learn about their wines in a more relaxed atmosphere.”

April also marks the start of wine festival season and numerous events that showcase Michigan wines. The following are just a sample; visit www.michiganwines.com/events for a complete list.

* Michigan Wine Celebration: April 11-12 – Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail (pioneerwinetrail.com)

* Michigan Wines Showcase: April 20 – The Rattlesnake Club, Detroit (michiganwines.com/showcase)

* Spring Sip & Savor: May 2-3 – Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail  (lpwines.com)

* Blossom Day:  May 16 –  Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula  (wineriesofoldmission.com)

* Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival: June 20 – Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country (miwinetrail.com)

Michigan Wine Month is kicked off by the release of the 2015 Michigan Wine Country magazine, an indispensable guide to the wines and wineries of Michigan, featuring maps and touring information. Pick up a free copy at any Michigan winery or Travel Michigan Welcome Center. To request a copy, visit www.michiganwines.com or contact the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council at 517-284-5736.

Photo by Sean Naber