VOL. 5 NO. 1 SPRING 2023 michigan Uncorked • BOTTOM OF THE BARREL • A TASTE OF MICHIGAN • WINE SCHOOL FOR THE CURIOUS • SPOTTED LANTERN FLY • PARTY PAIRINGS
4 BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
Much of Gina Shay’s life revolves around wine, but it wasn’t always that way. The Oakland Township resident’s foray into the field was purely an accident — or perhaps serendipity.
8 A TASTE OF MICHIGAN
The Michigan Wine Collaborative’s new marketing platform is centered around the Michigan wine industry.
12 WINE SCHOOL FOR THE CURIOUS
Learn how Sharon Flesher sought out an online wine school (Wine & Spirit Education Trust aka WSET) to hone her skills and graduate with distinction.
15 SPOTTED LANTERN FLY
Jack Costa provides an in-depth look at a new invasive pest that has arrived in southeastern Michigan. Should we be worried?
18 PARTY PAIRINGS
Sharon Tracey has some delicious party pairings — just a little amuse-bouche really, with suitable Michigan wines.
20 BETWEEN THE VINES
Sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW shares her latest tasting notes on some of her favorite Michigan wines.
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Cover: Photo by Cortney Casey. A Cadus cooper works on a barrel at their cooperage in Burgundy, France.
FROM THE EDITOR
Martin Luther, circa 1500s
Hope springs eternal. With each new bud break a new vintage begins and the dude abides. In this issue of Michigan Uncorked, Cortney Casey gets to the bottom of the barrel, literally. In her article, Cortney examines the barrel business of Michigan resident Gena Shay, who owns Petraea Plus. The company focuses on wine barrels speciﬁcally geared toward the needs of cooler-climate emerging wine regions, Erin Marie Miller previews a new brand and campaign called A Taste of Michigan — the Michigan Wine Collaborative’s new marketing platform centered around the Michigan wine industry launching this spring. Jack Costa provides an in-depth look at a new invasive pest that has arrived in southeastern Michigan — the spotted lantern ﬂy. How worried should we be? Sharon Tracey has some delicious party pairings — just a little amuse-bouche really — with suitable Michigan wines provided from the Ellen Landis “collection.” Sharon Flesher became infected with the wine bug and, naturally, sought out an online wine school (Wine & Spirit Education Trust aka WSET) to hone her skills. Learn ﬁrsthand about Sharon’s experience and how she graduated with distinction. And, as always, our very own in-house sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW provides her special brand of tasting notes for select Michigan wines.
Vol. 5 No.1 Spring 2023
Copyright © 2023 by michiganUncorked, LLC Reproduction or use of the editorial or pictorial content without written permission is prohibited. Editorial Office, Jim Rink P.O. Box 121, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653, email@example.com Unsolicited manuscripts or other information will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. Website: www.michiganuncorked.com
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Editor-in-Chief Jim Rink • Associate Editor Kim Schneider • Associate Editor Greg Tasker Executive Secretary Karen Koenig-Rink • Contributing Writers Cortney Casey, Jack Costa, Sharon Flesher, Ellen Landis, CS, CSW, Erin Marie Miller
“Beer is made by men, wine by God.”
GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL
by Cortney Casey
by Jessica Zimmer
Much of Gina Shay’s life revolves around wine, but it wasn’t always that way.
The Oakland Township resident’s foray into the ﬁeld was purely an accident — or perhaps serendipity. While working in sales in 2002, Shay received a cold-call from a wine cork company recruiter, and “I ﬁgured it would beat the heck out of selling oﬃce equipment,” she jokes.
“It didn’t take me long to learn that working with wine is more than a job: It’s a lifestyle, and it’s a passion industry,” she says. “People are often drawn to wine as enthusiastic consumers or as a second ‘dream’ career, so most people in wine production are happy to come to work every day, which is really refreshing.
“The ‘wine world’ is small and social, which makes it easy to surround oneself with people who are also passionate about wine,” she adds. “Most of them, like me, are excited about the endless learning opportunities that wine
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Two decades later, Shay is more enmeshed in the wine industry than ever. She left the wine cork business in 2016 to launch her own company, Petraea Plus. The company’s focus was wine barrels speciﬁcally geared toward the needs of coolerclimate emerging wine regions, like Michigan, and the barrels of Tonnellerie Cadus were among brands she represented as an agent.
In 2019, Shay joined Cadus full time, after ﬁnding that their products demanded the bulk of her time at Petraea due to their suitability for cool-climate wine regions. (In 2022, the Cadus sales team merged with that of a sister cooperage, AnA Cooperage. Together, the boutique cooperages produce about 27,000 barrels annually for clients in most of the winemaking regions worldwide, including areas of North and South America, Europe, Asia and South Africa.)
Even Shay’s free time is consumed by wine: After years working with the Michigan Wine Collaborative — a nonproﬁt organization that supports wineries, grape growers and more in the state’s wine industry — she became the group’s president in January 2022.
Shay’s position in business development at Cadus and AnA Cooperages North America has allowed her to witness ﬁrsthand the intricate and dramatic process required to create wine barrels, as well as their practical applications in myriad wineries. Below, she shares some of the behind-the-scenes scoop on how wine barrels are made, how critical they are to the industry, why Michigan wine matters, and more.
Q: How did you get into barrels speciﬁcally?
While selling corks was certainly interesting — the cork forests in Portugal and the cork production process are amazing sights — when the company I was working with built a cooperage, I realized right away that oak was much more a part of the winemaking process. Tasting directly from tanks and barrels with winemakers before the wine is ﬁnished, listening to what they’re trying to achieve with a particular wine, and then making suggestions about what might help them get there — whether it’s with my barrels or other options — is really exciting.
Q: Tell us about the impact of barrels on oaked wines.
First and foremost, barrels play a role in oxygen exchange, which aids in development of the wine, and tannin, a naturally occurring phenolic compound in the wood that imparts structure to the wine, both of which aﬀect the way the wine feels in your mouth — weight, texture, etc. Second, barrels can inﬂuence the ﬂavors that are perceived in the wine, from spice to vanilla to butterscotch/caramel to nuttiness to perceived sweetness.
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Antoine de Thoury, CEO of Tonnellerie Cadus
Oak has gotten a bad rep in the last few years because the pendulum has swung the other way from the very heavily oaked, high alcohol wines that were in vogue in the 1980s and ‘90s. While winemakers are favoring less oak ﬂavor impact than in years past, most of them are still using oak barrels to inﬂuence wine structure and texture, usually with a combination of new and previously-ﬁlled barrels to highlight the unique characteristics of their fruit, their site and their region.
Most European oak comes from carefully managed forests in France as well as Central and Eastern Europe. American white oak comes from several places in the U.S. and Canada, including, but not limited to, Kentucky, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Virginia/Mid-Atlantic, and up into Ontario.
French, Eastern European, and American oak each lend diﬀerent structure and ﬂavor characteristics to the wine … There are very diﬀerent costs associated with the diﬀerent oaks, too, which also inﬂuences purchasing decisions. Because of the nature of the grain, French and European oak must be carefully split along the grain so the staves are liquid-tight, but that incurs a lot of manual labor costs. American oak is much denser and can be quarter-sawn, so the process is much more mechanized, eﬃcient and cheaper. French oak barrels can cost from $800-1,200 on average, while American oak barrels cost an average of $400-600.
There is a whole process of selecting the right trees, which I’ll skip in the interest of time, but rest assured that the professionals who work in the strictly managed oak forests, scoping out the trees that will make the best wine barrels, are very skilled people. Once the trees/logs are selected, they are taken from the forest to the stave mill, where the logs are cut into rough barrel staves, head stave material, and scrap (which can end up as oak chips, cubes, etc.).
The staves are sorted by diﬀerent criteria — sometimes by tightness of grain which controls the rate of oxygen exchange, sometimes by speciﬁc forest — and seasoned for approximately two to four years. This means that the staves sit in the open elements at the stave mill or the cooperage, ultimately aﬀecting how the resulting barrels impact the wine. Cadus in Burgundy and AnA is in southwest France, near the Pyrenees Mountains, so you can imagine the di seasoning. Deﬁnitely not an immediate return on investment.
Once the rough staves are fully seasoned, they are cut into the ﬁnal stave shapes that will end up in a barrel. After cutting, the staves are manually arranged into a “rose,” which are basically just staves held together at one end prior to bending and toasting. The “rose” is rolled over a ﬁre so that it can be warmed and bent, little by little, into a familiar barrel shape.
Once the warmed staves have formed a barrel, that barrel is toasted to winemaker speciﬁcations; common toasts are light,
Q: Where does the oak used to produce wine barrels come from?
Q: What factors might lead a winemaker to choose one type of oak over another?
Q: Can you give us a quick summary of how the barrels are made?
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medium, medium plus, heavy and custom toasts.
The rough barrels are then sanded to buﬀ out any scuﬀs and to render them aesthetically pleasing—a lot of whiskey barrels seem to skip this step!—and they are stored and ready for shipment to wineries.
Q: There’s a lot of terminology involved in the world of wine barrels. What are some “must-know” vocab words?
Basic barrel vocab includes the “top” and “bottom” of the barrels as if they were standing on end: barrel heads. The metal rings that hold the barrels together are called the hoops; the middle of the barrel, where the most volume is, is called the bilge (like a boat!) … Toast (light, medium, medium plus, heavy) usually refers to a wine barrel, while char (Char 1-4) usually refers to a barrel that will hold whiskey or something other than wine. “Barrique” is a common term for 225L Bordeauxshaped barrels; “pièce” is a common term for 228L Burgundy-shaped barrels; and “puncheon” is often used for 300-600L barrels.
Q: As the president of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, what would you want consumers to know about Michigan wines?
I am very passionate about Michigan wine, and very fortunate to work alongside and serve the very passionate people here who grow the grapes and make the wine. I would love for consumers to be as demanding about knowing where their wine comes from as they are about the origin of their food, and to understand that when they buy a bottle of Michigan wine, they are supporting local families and local businesses.
There is a world-class wine region in Michiganders’ backyard that many people write oﬀ to the cherry wine and sweet Riesling of 30 years ago. We do make lovely versions of both of those types of wine, but Michigan is so much more, from the wine varieties commonly seen on most restaurant menus to grapes that may be new to consumers but also make delicious and fun wines. I’d encourage anyone curious about wine to taste Michigan. For behind-the-scenes footage of how barrels are made, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aibmp75vaouoxn4/ Video%20Dec%2009%202022%2C%2010%2016%2037%20PM.mov?dl=0
Cortney Casey is a certi ﬁ ed sommelier and co-founder of MichiganByTheBottle.com, a website and online community that promotes the entire Michigan wine industry. She’s also co-owner of Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room, tasting rooms operated in partnership with multiple Michigan wineries, located in Shelby Township, Royal Oak and Auburn Hills. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“There is a world-class wine region in Michiganders’ backyard…”
By Erin Marie Miller
There’s a new brand in town – and it’s on a mission to tell the world what Michigan’s wine industry has to offer.
In anticipation of Michigan Wine Month in May, Taste Michigan – the brand behind the Michigan Wine Collaborative’s new marketing platform centered around Michigan’s wine industry – is launching a new campaign this spring focused on taking a fresh look at Michigan’s wine scene. Funded through a $125,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture specialty crop block grant administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the campaign will tell the stories behind the state’s wine industry while educating a new generation of wine lovers about everything Michigan’s local industry brings to the table.
“The Taste Michigan brand is focused on … not only Michigan wine grapes, but how diverse our state is as far as the soils, the climates, and the variety of both vinifera and cold-hardy, disease-resistant varieties that we can actually bring to market,” says Brian Lillie, vice president of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, the organization responsible for Taste Michigan. Lillie also chairs the nonproﬁt’s marketing committee and works as Director of Hospitality and Distribution at Chateau Chantal Winery in Traverse City.
For Lille, the Taste Michigan brand is all about storytelling – and making sure people get a taste of what Michigan’s wine industry is about in the process.
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“We are arguably the fourth largest grape growing state in the nation. We're also, arguably, depending on the year, around the ninth-largest wine producing state in the nation. And we certainly aim to be the pinnacle of the Midwest in wine production. And how we're going to do that is by telling people our stories,” Lillie says.
The making of a campaign
To bring the new brand – and its introductory advertising campaign – to life for wine lovers in Michigan, Lillie and the team at Taste Michigan enlisted the help of the creative professionals at Factory Detroit, a full-service advertising agency based in Detroit.
“[Lillie] reached out and said, ‘Would you guys be interested in putting a proposal together for this?’ And we said we will. And we did. We had a number of meetings and calls, and they ended up selecting us from the ﬁnalists,” says Mark Lantz, founder and Executive Creative Director of Factory Detroit.
As the co-creator of the award-winning “Pure Michigan” campaign during his time as Chief Strategy O ﬃcer at the global advertising ﬁrm McCann (formerly McCann Erickson), Lantz says the new brand and campaign were “up his alley” as a wine enthusiast.
Despite Lillie’s initial concerns about Taste Michigan’s limited initial budget – about a quarter of the block grant award was allocated to strategy with the remaining three-quarters going toward the advertising media buy – Lantz and the Factory Detroit team were able to provide a high-quality campaign by adhering to their core creative philosophies.
“Most of [the Factory Detroit team] are from very big agencies. We've had big, big clients in here. We’ve had clients with bigger budgets and clients with smaller budgets. And our philosophy is that if you want to look good, sound good and feel good to people – that really doesn't always take money. It takes caring,” Lantz says.
A technical process behind the creative process
To get started on the Taste Michigan project, Lantz and the team at Factory Detroit engaged in a three-part process that involved hosting three listening sessions with Michigan wine industry professionals including winery owners, winemakers, grape growers and others to hear their perspectives about the Michigan wine industry, business challenges, opportunities and more.
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Next, Lantz’s team sent out an online survey to members and industry friends of the Michigan Wine Collaborative to “dig deeper into thoughts about opportunities and challenges.” Finally, Factory Detroit conducted an online survey sent to subscribers of a local wine-centric e-newsletter – a move that oﬀered the agency a glimpse of consumer attitudes toward Michigan wines before coming up with concept ideas for the new brand’s advertising campaign.
“What [the preliminary process] showed us was that there are a lot of people, among wine drinkers in Michigan, who are perhaps positively disposed towards the idea of drinking Michigan wine but don't really know all that much about it. There’s a sense that the understanding of Michigan wine that people do have is kind of out of date,” Lantz says.
A focus on the industry’s evolution
After completing Taste Michigan’s brand platform, which included a logo and website alongside a social media presence last fall, the team at Factory Detroit was ready to get started on the brand’s advertising campaign –something they wanted to ensure was unique and fresh to attract a new group of wine lovers while disposing of older, outdated ideas associated with the state’s wines.
“We wanted to create a platform that was not just about, ‘Yay Michigan,’ or, ‘Yay Michigan wines,’ but, here's why Michigan wines. Here's how you should be thinking about Michigan wines, and here's what you should be looking for in Michigan wines, and here's where and when and how Michigan wines really shine,” Lantz says.
For Lantz and the team at Factory Detroit, the Taste Michigan campaign oﬀered a unique opportunity to tell an updated story about the state’s wine industry while moving beyond the typical sweet wines it was known for in previous decades.
“The grapes that are being grown are much more diverse, and there's a great story there. There are good wines being made here, and I do see why [Taste Michigan] wanted to look for an opportunity to promote Michigan wines – because there's something worth promoting,” Lantz says.
What’s ‘cool is hot’ in Michigan
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After considering about ten potential concepts for this spring’s campaign, the team at Taste Michigan settled on one they felt conﬁdent in – with a particular emphasis on Michigan’s cool climate and diverse grape selection.
“The theme of the campaign is ‘cool is hot,’ in that we are at a time when cool climate wines are among the hottest wines in the industry,” Lantz explains, noting that the campaign feels “revelatory” in its ability to oﬀer consumers a fresh look at Michigan wines.
That fresh perspective is something Lillie plans to expand on as the Taste Michigan brand matures, placing a particular emphasis on the state’s unique merits.
“Our style and our climate deﬁne us – those are our strengths, and that's what we're going to start telling people about,” Lillie says.
As of press time, the “Cool is Hot” campaign is set to launch in mid-April to coincide with Michigan Wine Month, which traditionally takes place May each year under the declaration of the governor. Wine lovers in Metro Detroit, southwest Michigan and the Grand Rapids area – places where the ads will run in higher concentrations – should be on the lookout for billboards, digital and print ads, and more. For Lillie, the campaign is just another part of what Taste Michigan aims to do best – sharing the stories of Michigan’s wine industry and supporting the growers, producers, winemakers, and other professionals that have dedicated themselves to putting Michigan wines on the map.
“Michigan has been making quality, food-friendly wines for generations. And now it's time for the rest of the world to know,” Lillie says.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Marie Miller is a freelance journalist based in Metro Detroit. A lover of all things independent, she has written about small businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, the arts and more for publications in Michigan and California Since 2014.
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WINE SCHOOL FOR THE CURIOUS
Virtual wine classes make knowledge more accessible
By Sharon Flesher
Wine education may start at the tasting room, the bar, or even the supermarket. But for those who catch the bug, it can morph into something akin to a gardener’s obsession with roses. So many varietals, styles and regions to geek out on. For wine enthusiasts obsessed with training and expanding our palettes, the global pandemic threw up thorns. Tasting venues of every sort were closed. While we could still buy wine–often with convenient curbside pickup–conducting comparative tastings alone at home wasn’t eﬃcient or eﬀective, at least not for me.
So I turned to the internet, where I had company. Virtual wine classes were popping like corks at a wedding. I could watch furloughed sommeliers drink and evaluate wine on YouTube or Instagram, and I could try new streaming services such as
SommTV for wine documentaries and tasting shows. While interesting, those were not the full sensory experiences I wanted. The second year into the pandemic, still waiting for in-person tasting opportunities to resume, I began searching for a way to continue my wine education by my preferred method: tasting and comparing notes with knowledgeable human guides. The Seattle-based Wine Folly was getting into online courses, with recommendations on wine one could purchase to accompany the lessons, but the initial content was for beginners.
What I wanted was a course from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust, or WSET, which is the gold standard for professional wine certiﬁcations. The WSET oﬀers courses for wine enthusiasts as well as industry professionals. In 2019, I had considered a WSET Level 2 weekend class at a wine school in
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North Carolina but I couldn’t justify the cost when I could access complimentary education and tastings while shopping for wine, traveling or attending events. The pandemic changed my calculations.
I began searching for reopened WSET schools and stumbled upon the online oﬀerings of the Napa Valley Wine Academy. Could an online course deliver an adequate tasting experience? It was getting positive reviews, so I was intrigued enough to investigate.
Wine education online
Founded in 2011, NVWA is a two-time winner of WSET’s Educator of the Year award. It oﬀers classes at its physical locations in Napa and Tampa and has oﬀered online courses since 2014, so it was positioned to turbo-charge those when the pandemic hit. One crucial component for a WSET course is to taste wines with the instructor, and NVWA was the only online school I could ﬁnd that included a tasting kit with the course.
I thought about it, and thought about it some more, and ﬁnally as 2021 was drawing to a close but the pandemic was not, I enrolled in the course as a holiday gift to myself.
The books and tasting kit of 12 100ml bottles were shipped to my door. I received login instructions for the portal, where I found a detailed syllabus and schedule of live webinars for the ﬁve-week course.
WSET Level 2 does not require the completion of WSET Level 1 as a prerequisite. Those who have some experience with wine and know the diﬀerence between, say, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, can dive right in. I had skimmed through a Level 1 book and knew I could skip it, and although some commenters suggested skipping Level 2 as well, I was hesitant to start with Level 3. I made the right call. As soon as I opened the book, I discovered I had a lot to learn.
The webinars utilized the “Zoomish” technology of which many of us are now familiar, plus a smartphone app to
instant tabulated feedback on questions that would have been accomplished with a show of hands in a physical class, such as “who thinks this wine has high acidity?” My class had several dozen students, yet it felt intimate and personal. The instructor, Desiree Harrison-Brown, was outstanding at answering all questions and making us feel we were in a room together. If anything, the large class size was a bonus because it reduced the likelihood that tasting notes could be skewed by an unusual palate or two. Also, the ability to ask questions via the chat feature is helpful for shy students.
The tasting kit was crucial in overcoming any disadvantage of online learning. We were tasting the same wines together using the WSET’s trademarked Systematic Approach to Tasting, or SAT (much more enjoyable than that SAT from high school). For the ﬁrst time in my 40-year career of wine drinking, I was able to calibrate my palette to a standard. I learned, for example, that I have a particularly sensitive nose. A wine of pronounced intensity that most students detect with a glass at chest level will reach me from the navel, or maybe from across the room.
Tasting is a key activity for WSET 2, but the exam itself has no tasting component. That isn’t required until level 3.
WSET 2 focuses on 30 of the most common varietals and the best known regions for wine production. In the United States, for example, the included regions are Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara County and Oregon. In France, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, the Loire Valley and the Rhône are covered; the Languedoc-Roussillon, which I adore, is not mentioned, although it is presumed to be included in a broad category called “Southern France,” which receives a couple of paragraphs in the textbook. Italy, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary receive attention.
In other words, WSET 2 focuses on the wines one is most likely to ﬁnd at the bottle shop or on a restaurant menu. That’s not to say it’s basic. The book may appear relatively thin, but it is densely packed with wine information. If one were to highlight facts that may appear on the exam, the text would be covered with yellow. Studying for the exam required me to
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A few weeks later, my worries ceased when I was notiﬁed by e-mail that I passed with distinction. I celebrated with a 2018 Mosel Riesling Trocken which I rated on the WSET’s BLIC assessment as outstanding based on its balance, length, intensity and complexity.
I believe I learned more about wine in those ﬁve weeks than in the previous four decades. I haven’t continued (yet) with WSET 3, mostly because I’m back at that cost/beneﬁt equation and doubtful that I could justify the greater investment of level 3 by my occasional wine writing. Still, I remain on the NVWA mailing list and often see mention of level 3 boot camps in Napa and think, maybe one day? After all, the value of learning deeply about something one loves need not be measured in economic terms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Previously a journalist for United Press International (UPI), the News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) and Congressional Quarterly, Sharon Flesher now writes independently from Traverse City, Mich. She is an enthusiastic student of wine and she reads too much. Find her on the web at http://twofemmes.com/
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Spotted Lantern Fly has been spotted
By Jack Costa
t was 1862 when Monsieur Borty destroyed the world. That is, the wine world.
One morning the Roquemaure wine merchant suddenly received a package from his American friend, M. Carle. The contents of the package, as Borty soon discovered, were wine grape cuttings… But not just any cuttings, Native American grapes. Naturally, Borty planted the cuttings in his garden and watched as they grew and ﬂourished. Unbeknownst to Borty, something else had also taken root and begun to ﬂourish… And unfortunately, Monsieur Borty will be forever be synonymous with starting the greatest catastrophe the wine world has ever seen.
Phylloxera. A nearly invisible yellow louse, native to North America, had managed to survive a transatlantic voyage with the grape
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cuttings. But unlike American vines, European grapes are physiologically and biologically incapable of fending against the aphid that fatally wounds the vine by feeding on its root system.
The once lush green canopies of vineyard surrounding the countryside began to turn brown, before dying and becoming black with rot. Within a few years, thousands of acres of vineyard across Europe were ravaged by the pest, turning iconic wine regions into viticultural graveyards. The pest seemed invincible as it plunged Europe into social and economic devastation. The global wine industry was going extinct. Was this the end? Every method to contain or eradicate the louse was attempted, but to no avail. At the darkest hour however, Charles V. Riley, an entomologist from Missouri, miraculously discovered the solution by grafting American grapevine rootstock to European vines. Even 150 years later, this remains the gold standard for protecting European wine varieties from Phylloxera.
Fast forward to September 2022.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announces the presence of a invasive species in Oakland County: The Spotted Lantern Fly. Present in the United States since 2014, the Spotted Lantern Fly was discovered in Pennsylvania before appearing in the nearby states of New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, and New Hampshire. Feeding on the sap of trees, shrubs and a variety of other plants, the ﬂy leaves a sticky honeydew substance that attracts other undesirable insects and promotes mold growth. And while it prefers feeding on “Trees of Heaven”, an invasive tree from China, the Spotted Lantern Fly does impact several fruit crops, including the precious wine grape.
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Printed with permission of Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Growers in Michigan and beyond have expressed deep concern as the negatively impact their fruit during harvest and degrade the quality of the potential wine. As the insect feeds and steals nutrients from the tissue of the vine, photosynthesis is inhibited, leading to underripe fruit. By feeding, the can also severely weaken and even fatally wound the vine. Some producers have claimed the SLF has resulted in losing 1/3 to nearly half their total annual crop production.
The ﬂy reproduces by laying egg masses that are easily identiﬁed by a foamy textured clump similar to dried mud. One of Michigan’s saving graces, however, might be its cold winter weather as adult SLF aren’t capable of surviving the ﬁrst frost. Their egg’s, however, are more resilient and can survive surfaces as cold as 12-14 degrees Fahrenheit. Authorities urge people to kill the ﬂy and destroy eggs if spotted and record the location to help monitor its spread. More indepth research is underway to combat its devastating impact on the environment. This includes spraying trees and vines with special insecticides, using netting, and utilizing traps to capture adults.
Thankfully, Michigan has only just begun to experience the eﬀects of the SLF, giving growers time to learn and prepare for the future. And while the ﬂy is likely a permanent resident in Michigan, it appears to be spreading slowly. Just as Phylloxera was a catalyst of innovation that sparked a new age of viticulture, perhaps the Spotted Lantern Fly could serve a similar function in promoting the development of innovative viticultural techniques that result in a better and brighter future for the wine industry.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack is a writer, producer and content creator. At the age of 17, the Oregon native began studying winemaking under Stephen Reustle. Jack’s work has been featured in several publications, including Wine Folly and the American Wine Society Journal. Find him on the Wine Heretics podcast and at wineheretics.com
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By Sarah Tracey
Red or white, sweet or dry, wine lovers are often entertainers at heart. When inviting guests to share your personal favorites, nothing enhances a tasting get-together quite like complementary snack and Michigan wine pairings.
The next time you ﬁnd a wine party on your schedule, consider these simple yet delicious recommendations from sommelier and founder of "The Lush Life," Sarah Tracey, who partnered with Fresh Cravings to create "Dips and Sips." Aimed at reinventing wine and cheese parties, the movement focuses on simplistic recipes, easy dip pairings and suggested wines.
"When I entertain at home, I'm always looking for ways to impress my friends with fresh, creative bites I can pair with wine," Tracey said. "My favorite hack is ﬁnding great products with high-quality ingredients then creating simple, elevated ways to serve them. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I get to spend with my guests."
Tracey relies on the versatility of Fresh Cravings' array of dip options and crowd-pleasing, bold ﬂavors worth celebrating, with authentic-tasting chilled salsas oﬀering a vibrant alternative to soft, dull blends of jarred salsa and ﬂavor-ﬁlled hummus made with premium ingredients like Chilean Virgin Olive Oil.
For example, Tracey's recipes for Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab, Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads, Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa and HummusStuﬀed Mushrooms oﬀer ﬂavorful, easy-to-make appetizers that can make entertaining easy and eﬀortless. Plus, these crave-worthy morsels are just as tasty and approachable for guests choosing to skip the wine.
Find more recipe and pairing ideas perfect for enhancing your next party at FreshCravings.com.
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 15 minutes Servings: 6 Nonstick olive oil spray 16 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed and gills scooped out salt, to taste pepper, to taste 1 container Fresh Cravings Classic Hummus 1 jar manzanilla olives stuﬀed with pimientos, cut in half 1 jar roasted red pepper strips
Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray. Place mushroom caps on sheet pan, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast 7-8 minutes then let mushrooms cool to room temperature. Fill each mushroom cap with hummus and top each with one olive slice. Thinly slice roasted red pepper strips and arrange around olive slices.
Pair with Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery 2020 Reserve Pinot Noir
Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 20 minutes Servings: 6 Nonstick cooking spray 6 large ﬂour tortillas 16 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
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1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, drained
1 bunch fresh cilantro, ﬁnely chopped
1 container Fresh Cravings Restaurant Style Salsa, Medium
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray .Place large ﬂour tortilla on sheet pan. Top with handful of grated cheese.Sprinkle chiles on top of cheese layer. Add chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with additional cheese.Top with another tortilla. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Work in batches to make three sets of cheese-ﬁlled tortillas. .Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.
Serve with salsa and pair with Aurora Cellars 2021 Sauvignon Blanc
Spiced Butternut Squash Naan Flatbreads
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 25 minutes
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder salt, to taste pepper, to taste
1 container Fresh Cravings Roasted Garlic Hummus
1 package mini naan dippers
1 bunch fresh rosemary, minced
Preheat oven to 425 F. Chop butternut squash into 1/2-inch chunks. Toss squash with olive oil, maple syrup, cumin and chili powder. Spread on sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Spread hummus on naan dippers and top each with squash and fresh rosemary.
Pair with Black Star Farms Arcturos 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Tracey
Total time: 30 minutes
1 tube (16 ounces) prepared polenta nonstick cooking spray salt, to taste
8 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat
1 container Fresh Cravings Pico de Gallo Salsa, Mild 1 bunch fresh mint, ﬁnely chopped
Heat oven to 400 F.
Slice polenta into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Arrange on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and let cool. Combine jumbo lump crabmeat with salsa. Top each polenta round with crab salsa mixture. Garnish with ﬁnely chopped fresh mint.
Pair with Aurora Cellars NV Brut Rosé
Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab
Between the Vines
Aurora Cellars | NV Brut Rosé, Leelanau
Sparkling like a pink sapphire, this gem is a great way to start oﬀ any evening. The aroma is engaging, and the wine lights up the palate with ﬂavors of red cherries, strawberries, Jolly Rancher watermelon candy, and a pinch of orange zest. Wonderfully balanced, and the Iny stream of bubbles is dazzling. SRP: $34 | Food pairing: Sushi-grade ahi tartare | www.auroracellars.com
Aurora Cellars | 2020 Pinot Noir,
This cool climate Pinot Noir displays a pale ruby hue and delicate ﬂoral fragrance up front, while packing a punch of ﬂavor upon entry. Bing cherries, wild mushrooms, oak nuances, and spiced cranberry chutney intermix, and an underlying thread of earthiness lingers through the saIsfying ﬁnish. SRP: $38 | Food pairing: Chicken pot pie | www.auroracellars.com
Aurora Cellars | 2021 Sauvignon
Blanc Leelanau Peninsula
This snappy Sauvignon Blanc with a nose of fresh cut summer grass is exhilaraIng. Juicy sweet grapefruit, crisp green apples, a splash of lime juice, and subtle chopped green herbs intertwine. Lively acidity plays a great supporIng role, and notes of fresh squeezed lemon heighten the upbeat ﬁnish. SRP: $22 | Food pairing: Avocado/goat cheese crosIni | www.auroracellars.com
Le, Foot Charley
Island View Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Old Mission Peninsula
A tantalizing ﬂoral, tropical fruit aroma leaps from the glass. Layers of pineapple, lemon curd, yellow apples, and succulent peaches coat the palate. This mouthwatering Pinot Blanc is bright with ideal acidity supporIng the rich fruit, and it ﬁnishes with elegance. SRP: $28 | Food pairing: Mango chicken curry | www.le^footcharley.com
Brengman Brothers |2020 Cabernet Franc, Leelanau Peninsula
This Ightly wound Cab Franc leads with a pre_y nose of violets and lilacs. Broadening with aeraIon, this well-structured wine showcases blackberries, cocoa powder, black plum preserves, lead pencil shavings, eucalyptus, earthiness, and sweet oak nuances (from 14 months in American oak) neatly wrapped around a core of chalky tannins; cellar-worthy. SRP: $60 | Food pairing: Sausage stuﬀed pasta shells | www.brengmanbrothers.com
Brengman Brothers |2021 Crain Hill Vineyards Chardonnay
Concrete, Leelanau Peninsula
A pleasing citrus blossom aroma wa^s from the glass. Pure and vivacious on the palate as layers of Granny Smith apples, Meyer lemon, honeycomb, and an edge of minerality unfold. FermentaIon and aging in a concrete egg enhances the splendid texture, and the ﬁnish is persistent. SRP: $32 | Food pairing: Steamed mussels and clams | www.brengmanbrothers.com
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Ellen Landis, CS, CSW
Brengman Brothers | 2019 Le^ Bank, Leelanau Peninsula
From their ArIst Series Winemaker CollecIon comes this mulIlayered, red blend composed of Cab Sauvignon, Merlot, Cab Franc, and PeIt Verdot. The aroma engages the senses at ﬁrst swirl. Notes of earth and new leather join cassis, wild blackberries, and black plums delectably coaIng the palate. Velvety smooth and ﬁnely balanced with a ﬁrm backbone of tannins, and the ﬁnish is endless; complex and age-worthy. SRP: $90 | Food pairing: Beef Wellington | www.brengmanbrothers.com
Black Star Farms | 2021 Arcturos Semi-Dry Riesling, Old Mission Peninsula/Leelanau Peninsula
Wow, this expressive Riesling shines brightly. It is brimming with fresh white peaches, wet stone elements, sun-kissed nectarines, and Granny Smith apples. ExhilaraIng at ﬁrst sip, with Ingling acidity keeping the wine beauIfully balanced, and the ﬁnish is simply brilliant. SRP: $19.50 | Food pairing: Crab souﬄe | www.blackstarfarms.com
Black Star Farms | 2021 Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay, Leelanau Peninsula
This well-deﬁned Chardonnay opens with a remarkable nose of tropical fruits and honeysuckle. Sleek and lively in the mouth with layers of Honeycrisp apples, hints of bu_erscotch, fresh pineapple, Bartle_ pears and lemon curd supported by a lively backbone of acidity. It is pure and complex with a long-lasIng ﬁnish. SRP: $19.50 | Food pairing: Garlic bu_er langousInes | www.blackstarfarms.com
Black Star Farms | Arcturos 2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Michigan
The luminous pink diamond hue and expressive aromaIc lure you into the glass. GraIfying ﬂavors of Sweetheart cherries, red raspberries, cranberry orange Isane, and a nice touch of minerality sashay across the palate with ease. Marvelously dry with lively acidity, it thoroughly saIsﬁes from ﬁrst bright sip to last lingering one. SRP: $19.50 | Food pairing: Goat cheese/raspberry bu_er le_uce salad | www.blackstarfarms.com
St. Julian | 2021 Single Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake Michigan Shore
The striking aroma of bramble berries and fresh turned earth will have you engrossed. Deep and complex, showing oﬀ notes of blackberry cobbler, tart cherries, black currant, cedar, and new leather that marry a_racIvely with ﬁrmly structured tannins and balancing acidity. Delicious now, but have paIence, this is an age-worthy wine. SRP: $39.99 | Food pairing: Beef short ribs | www.stjulian.com
St. Julian | 2021 The Reserve CollecIon Grüner Veltliner, Lake Michigan Shore
A stone fruit, citrus blossom aroma puts you in a summerIme mood. Vivacious and buoyant on the palate as refreshing layers of juicy nectarine, Granny Smith apples, lemon-lime granita, and a gentle sprinkling of white pepper are supported by crisp acidity. Refreshing and nervy through the lingering ﬁnish. SRP: $21.99 | Food pairing: ArIchoke heart pasta | www.stjulian.com
St. Julian | 2021 Braganini Reserve Albariño, Lake Michigan Shore
Highly aromaIc with citrus fruit on the nose, this zesty dry white wine shines. Honeydew melon, kiwi, grapefruit, lemon sorbet, and key lime pie create a beauIful tapestry of ﬂavors that wake up the palate. Sleek with racy acids, and the ﬁnish remains bright and fresh with a lemon peel accent. SRP: $21.99 | Food pairing: Pesto/goat cheese riso_o | www.stjulian.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ellen Landis, CS, CSW, is a published wine writer, certified sommelier, wine educator and professional wine judge. She spent four years as a sommelier at the Ritz Carlton and sixteen years as Wine Director/ Sommelier at the award winning boutique hotel she and her husband built and operated in Half Moon Bay, CA. They recently sold the hotel to devote more time to the world of wine. Contact Ellen at email@example.com
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Tired of tripping over guitars, Brad Evans created this rack using oak wine barrel staves. Available at https:// www.uncommongoods.com/product/wine-barrelguitar-rack | MSRP: $65-95
Surfboard wine rack
Beachcombers natural wood surfboard wine rack, 22-inch high. Perfect for your cabin by the beach, Make waves while storing your favorite Michigan wines. Available at https:// tinyurl.com/3t2wvset | MSRP: $34.07
Climate change is altering the very nature of wine and spirit production around the world. From the unimaginably destructive ﬁres that rip through California’s wine country with terrifying frequency to the ﬂoods and hail storms that threaten grape and grain harvests from Bordeaux to Kentucky and beyond. Available at https://tinyurl.com/3asm96sn | MSRP: $31.77
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