definition of Sommelier



By Madeline Triffon, Wine Director, Unique Restaurant Corp.

Does Michigan make world-class wine? Acquire a random sampling from the list provided here, throw them into playful blind tastings and surprise yourself-- not just with Rieslings, sparklers and French hybrids, categories that are safe bets for a cool growing region; but with Pinot Gris/Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Gewürztraminer. Quality is on a joyous vertical climb in a state whose winemakers have long toiled to deserve some critical airtime.

There are 25 wineries in Michigan, and the number is growing. The most famous Michigan winegrowing region is in Leelanau and Grand Traverse Counties, in the northwest corner of the state, but there are vineyards bordering Lake Michigan on the west coast and wineries located in the southwest corner "en route to Chicago."

If you’re planning a late summer or fall vacation in gorgeous northern Michigan, a very useful piece of literature is Michigan Wine Country, a magazine released by the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council. For a complimentary copy, call 517-373-1104 or 734-483-0748. The magazine provides complete winery listings with phone numbers, hours and locations, as well as easy-to-follow maps.

What follows is a short list of stylish, delicious, beautifully crafted Michigan wines. This list is not comprehensive, but everything noted has been tasted recently and is currently in stock at the wineries. An important buyer’s caveat: some of these beauties may be available only out of the wineries’ tasting rooms or by direct mail, so the contact phone numbers have been included here. Many Detroit area fine wine retailers are supportive of the industry and will carry what is available to them.

L.Mawby "Blanc de Blanc" Brut (Leelanau Peninsula)
L. Mawby "Dionysus" Brut Rosé 1993 (Leelanau Peninsula)
Shady Lane Sparkling Riesling 1997 (Leelanau Peninsula)
Good Harbor "Moonstruck" (Leelanau Peninsula)

Riesling & Gewurztraminer
Peninsula Cellars Gewurztraminer 1999 (Old Mission Peninsula)
Shady Lane Dry Riesling NV (Leelanau Peninsula)
Chateau Grand Traverse "Dry" Riesling 1998 (Old Mission Peninsula)
Peninsula Cellars "Select" Riesling 1999 (Old Mission Peninsula)
Chateau Grand Traverse "Semi Dry" Johannisberg Riesling 1998 (Michigan)
K. Edward Winery "Semi-Dry" Riesling 1999 (Michigan)
Chateau Grand Traverse "Late Harvest" Johannisberg Riesling 1999

Pinot Blanc & Pinot Grigio
Peninsula Cellars Pinot Blanc 1999 (Old Mission Peninsula)
K. Edward Winery Pinot Grigio 1999 (Michigan)
Bowers Harbor Pinot Grigio "Mission & J. Joseph Vineyards" 1998 (Old Mission Peninsula)

Chateau Grand Traverse "Barrel Fermented" Chardonnay 1998 (Old Mission Peninsula)
Chateau Grand Traverse "Reserve" Chardonnay 1997 (Old Mission Peninsula)
Leelanau Cellars Chardonnay 1998 (Michigan)
Leelanau Cellars "Tall Ship Reserve" Chardonnay 1997 (Leelanau Peninsula)

Red Wine
Bel Lago Pinot Noir 1998 (Leelanau Peninsula)
Leelanau Cellars Pinot Noir 1997 ( Leelanau Peninsula)
Black Star Farms "Arcturos" Pinot Noir 1998 (Leelanau Peninsula)
Fenn Valley "Capriccio" (Lake Michigan Shore)
Raftshol Vineyards Claret 1998 (Leelanau Peninsula)
Black Star Farms "Arcturos" Cabernet Franc 1998 (Leelanau Peninsula)

St. Julian Light Solera Cream Sherry (Michigan)

Black Star Farms 231-271-4882
Bel Lago 231-228-4800
Chateau Grand Traverse 231-223-7355
Fenn Valley 616-561-2396
Good Harbor 231-256-7165
K. Edwards Winery 810-786-1921
L. Mawby 231-271-3522
Leelanau Cellars 231-386-5201
Peninsula Cellars 231-223-4050
Rafshol Vineyards 231-271-5650
Shady Lane 231-947-8865
St Julian Winery 616-657-5568
Tabor Hill 800-283-3363


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