MU Summer 2024

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michigan Uncorked







VOL. 6 NO. 2 SUMMER 2024



In February 2024, Shady Lane Cellars in Suttons Bay took home five awards at the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2024 Wine Competition.


The wines of Torch Lake are bold, fruit-forward, and varied.


With sunshine on the horizon, it’s time to drink pink. Learn about Michigan’s fine rosés.


Turns out, Lebanese dishes and Michigan wines are a good complement.


Leelanau winery rebrands amid tenth vintage. Rove Estate is now Rove Winery at the Gallagher Estate.


The summer of 2024 is gearing up to be a true Michigan wine summer. MU has the lowdown on some special Detroit events.


More than a buzz word, sustainability in the Michigan wine industry is an ongoing practice. In this issue, we detail some of the best practices.


Sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW shares her latest tasting notes on some of her favorite Michigan wines.

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Cover: Photo of Kasey Wierzba courtesy of Shady Lane Cellars.


The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph.

If there is one thing Michigan winegrowers are familiar with it is the challenge of growing grapes in our unpredictable climate. Cold weather events in southwest Michigan caused damage to vinifera plants in that region; in addition, lower demand for alcoholic products nationwide, coupled with inflationary pressures means the retail side must be more creative in marketing wine.

But Michigan wineries are up to the task. In this issue of MU, Jessica Zimmer does a deep dive into Shady Lane Cellars, which recently earned not one, but five awards at the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2024 Wine Competition, a remarkable achievement. Also, Jessica features an up-and-coming wine growing region just east of the Leelanau and Old Mission AVAs — Torch Lake, which has a very similar microclimate. Pulling triple-duty, Jessica has also done some research into the fascinating pairing of Lebanese food and Michigan wine. Who knew that baba ganoush goes with sparkling wine.

Emily Dockery has interviewed several industry experts to learn the latest about an ongoing movement in the Michigan wine industry and, indeed, nationwide — sustainability. Cortney Casey has some news about a Leelanau winery that is rebranding. Rove Estate is now Rove Winery at the Gallagher Estate. Cortney is just full of good news — this summer brings us Michigan Wine Month in May and two events in Detroit: Taste Michigan Invades the D and Uncork Me Michigan Wine Fest at Comerica Park. Read her article for all the details.

With sunshine on the horizon, it’s time to drink pink. Read Erin Marie Miller’s article on Michigan rosés. And, as always, our inhouse sommelier Ellen Landis, CS, CSW provides her special brand of tasting notes for Michigan wines.


Copyright © 2024 by michiganUncorked, LLC Reproduction or use of the editorial or pictorial content without written permission is prohibited. Editorial Office, Jim Rink 20020 Maple St.,Lake Ann MI 49650, Unsolicited manuscripts or other information will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. Website: michiganUncorked Vol. 6 No.2 Summer 2024
Editor-in-Chief Jim Rink • Associate Editor Kim Schneider • Associate Editor Greg Tasker Executive Secretary Karen Koenig-Rink • Contributing Writers Cortney Casey, Emily Dockery, Ellen Landis, CS, CSW, Erin Marie Miller and Jessica Zimmer


In February 2024, Shady Lane Cellars in Suttons Bay took home Wine Competition, starting with Double Golds for its 2022 Pinot Gris and its 2022 Late Harvest Riesling. It also won Silvers for its 2022 Grüner Veltliner and 2022 Gewürztraminer, as well as its 2021 Sparkling Riesling.

“The most exciting win was the one for our Pinot Gris. This is such a competitive category. We were up against all domestic Pinot Gris producers, especially the traditionally well-known producers from out West. The reason this wine did well was because it exhibited very good balance. The fruitfulness and mouthfeel also came together well,” said Kasey Wierzba, executive winemaker and general manager for Shady Lane Cellars.

Shady Lane’s Alsatian-style Pinot Gris is made from grapes grown on the hillside in Hennessy Vineyard. The site is set between Lake Michigan and South Lake Leelanau. The south-facing slope receives sun all day, which encourages

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exceptional expression of aromas and flavors to develop in the grapes. The wine has the flavors of green apple, honeysuckle, and ripe melon with an almond finish. The Pinot Gris further has a finish of wet stone, showing great minerality from aging on the fine lees.

The quality of the Pinot Gris and other vintages is due to the fact that Shady Lane hand harvests their fruit and does not use the tail end of the pressed juice. The tail end is the last of the juice remaining after the fruit has been pressed.

“We try to minimize oxygen exposure to the fruit and juice. Exposing juice to oxygen can cause a harsh and bitter mouthfeel in the finished wine. When we use the best of the grapes, we put the best from that year in the bottle,” said Wierzba.

Lake whitefish from northern Michigan or salmon are a good pairing for the Pinot Gris. The light notes of the wine match the delicate taste of the fish.

Wierzba expected a good review of Shady Lane’s Late Harvest Riesling because Riesling is the flagship grape for northern Michigan. The area is known for its cool temperatures. The cool summer and fall evenings help the sweet, late-hanging fruit develop a robust acidity. Shady Lane’s Late Harvest Riesling has aromas of poached pear, candied ginger, and jasmine, with lemony notes on the finish.

Shady Lane is currently promoting the award-winning vintages in Detroit and other Michigan markets. Wierzba is excited to use the awards as a talking point when she sits down at hospitality dinners with restaurateurs, sommeliers, and chefs.

“Being recognized helps us find avenues that allow Michigan diners and wine enthusiasts to explore all Shady Lane Cellars has to offer,” said Wierzba.

Shady Lane Cellars’ style

Shady Lane Cellars has a clean, lighthanded method of making wine. Quality measures involve hand harvesting the grapes, careful winemaking, and not rushing the wine to bottle or market.

“We let the wine stay on the lees, aging it without adding sulfur until just before we bottle. We use minimal sulfur to prolong the longevity of the wine,” said Wierzba.

Barrel tasting helps Wierzba and assistant winemaker Maddie McCandless Vint determine how to change the direction of their process.

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Shady Lane Cellars

“Some years, we will let fruit sit in the press and cold soak. We did that this year with the 2023 Grüner Veltliner. This extracts the aroma and flavor compounds in the skins creating a more expressive wine. If we’re seeing overly ripe flavors, we don’t do a cold soak for very long or at all,” said Wierzba.

Shady Lane Cellars works with 100-percent estate-grown fruit. The choice allows Wierzba control over the entire winemaking process.

“From planting to pruning to fertilizing, we pick the exact dates and methods for everything, including harvest,” said Wierzba.

For example, Shady Lane is currently growing 23 acres of Riesling grapes. Wierzba makes five different types of this wine, Dry, Late Harvest, Pomeranz (orange wine), Semi Dry, and Sparkling.

“We choose which block to use for which wine. We evaluate the grapes for sweetness and taste between mid September and late October,” said Wierzba.

Sustainability and new directions

Shady Lane Cellars is a Sustainability In Practice (SIP) certified winery, meaning its wines and business practices are evaluated by a third party. The winery must meet rigorous standards for economic viability, environmental stewardship, and social equity.

“It takes a lot to become SIP-certified. Not many wineries outside of California have this status. The driving force behind the choice was to provide a safe environment for the natural ecosystem we work within and our employees,” said Wierzba.

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Wierzba and her team undertake many steps to encourage biodiversity in the vineyard. During the growing season, they cultivate insectary plots, garden plots to foster communities of beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings. The team also assists communities of companion plants, including wildflowers. Companion plants deter pests and foster healthy growth for grape vines.

“In addition, we are trialing several under-vine cover crops. As a result, our vineyard has a diverse, varied, and colorful understory,” said Wierzba.

This year, Shady Lane is working to create a Muscat Vignoles Pét-nat, the winery’s first sparkling Muscat.

“We’re looking to develop sweet tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, and pineapple flavors with a soft acidity. Pét-nat can go all the way dry. Our goal is to create a fruit-forward, aromatic wine with dry bubbles,” said Wierzba.

Wierzba also plans to “push the needle” for the 2023 Reserve Pinot Gris, a barrel-fermented and aged wine. The idea is to move further into flavors of stone fruit, even as far as toward preserve stone fruit.

“We want to keep the fresh citrus notes, but see if we can incorporate a nice aroma of peach preserve,” said Wierzba.

Shady Lane Cellars is located on 150 acres in Leelanau County on the grounds of what used to be an early 20th century farm. Many of the original buildings are still standing and in use. The list of Shady Lane’s estate-grown wine grapes includes Blaufränkisch, Cab Franc, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Merlot, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. All of Shady Lane’s wines are vegan.

Guests who visit Shady Lane Cellars’ tasting room should consider a tasting of multiple flights. This will allow them to experience the breadth and diversity of the winery’s portfolio.

“I also encourage guests to walk into the vineyards and get familiar with the plants. If you see a vine with more than one trunk, know the extras are our insurance against a really cold winter. If you come before bloom, you’ll see the flowers wrapped up tight, looking like tiny grape clusters. If you come in early summer, you’ll smell the beautiful aromas of the blooms. There’s always something new to learn outside,” said Wierzba.


Jessica Zimmer is a wine writer based in northern California. She is also a California, Florida, and New York-licensed attorney. She enjoys learning about the geology and growing seasons of different appellations.


Local wineries also make other offerings, including ice wine, sparkling wine, apple cider, and perry, or pear cider. Guests who visit can see how the temperatures and elevations of different parcels influence estate-grown grapes.

Cellar 1914, located amongst rolling hills and views of Grand Traverse Bay, is a good starting point. The winery comprises approximately 10 acres of a 1,100-acre farm founded in 1914. The spot has been home to hogs, cherry trees, beef cattle, asparagus, corn, and a number of other crops besides wine grapes.

“We opened our doors in 2018, with three years of wines made with Aravelle, a Cayuga white and Riesling hybrid, Baco Noir, Blaufränkisch, Frontenac Blanc, La Crescent, Marechal Foch, and Vignoles grapes. This spring, we added Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. We also make cherry wine with cherries grown on the farm,” said Rob Shooks, co-owner of Cellar 1914.

Outstanding wines include Snow Daze, a white wine made with the Aravelle grapes, with floral notes and a hint of green apple, and Marechal Foch, a dry red that finishes with a taste of mixed berry. Shooks also likes Vignoles, a sweet wine with pineapple and citrus aromas. Vignoles is now available as an ice wine. Shooks is particularly proud of the 2023 La Crescent, a full-bodied semi-dry wine.

“The flavor profile is extremely unique, with peach, honeysuckle, and honey stick. This will go with any sort of fish as well as pizza. I also recommend the Marechal Foch, which we age in Cabernet barrels. It pairs well with red meat, like a Porterhouse steak,” said Shooks.

In the last decade, Cellar 1914 has seen mild winters. This increases the number of growing days. “Even when the area experiences stress, you can expect good results. For example, in summer 2023, we experienced drought for almost all of July. This stressed the vines to put all their energy into growing the grapes. We expect the flavor to be highly concentrated because of that,” said Shooks.

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“We grow wine grapes in two different spots. The first is a vineyard east of Torch Lake, with enough elevation to see Torch Lake and Lake Michigan. It is a small vineyard that contains Blaufränkisch and Pinot Grigio. The second is a larger site between Torch Lake and Lake Michigan. It contains Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Zweigelt, a crossing of Sankt Laurent with Blaufränkisch,” said Derrick Vogel, grape grower and winemaker for Folklor Wine & Cider.

The area between Torch Lake and Lake Michigan is optimal for ripening because it captures a lot of heat. Vogel recommends Row Boat, an aromatic, lean, and easy-drinking Riesling.

“I call it a Riesling made in a Kabinett style, the lightest style of Riesling. We take a hands-off approach and don’t add ingredients to our wines. Yet there’s a lot of substance to them,” said Vogel.

Vogel is also excited to work with Zweigelt, which it started using in 2023. Folklor sold out of its 2023 Zweigelt Nouveau.

“This year, we’re making a Blaufränkisch-Cabernet Franc-Zweigelt blend. It already has nice grippy tannins toward the end. I want to see how the mid palate fills out,” said Voegl.

Folklor makes several other beverages, including a few apple ciders, a perry, and Ode to Home, a sparkling wine that blends Osceola Muscat grapes and Somerset of Maine apples.

WaterFire Vineyards in Kewadin, which is west of Torch Lake, concentrates on dry whites. These include Grüner Veltliner, Gneiss Blanc, a white blend made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and a bit of Gewürztraminer, and dry Riesling. WaterFire’s other offerings include Cuvee Blanc, a sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. an apple cider. WaterFire also makes Garnet Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes grown in Monterey, California. 9

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Derrick Vogel

Chantal Lefebvre is the proprietress, grower, and winemaker for WaterFire Vineyards, a Sustainability In Practice (SIP) certified winery. She and her husband Mike Newman chose the west Torch Lake region because it was close to Lake Michigan and proven to grow Vinifera grapes.

“I was working at a vineyard a few miles north of where WaterFire is now. It was growing Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling. So when this property became available it was hard to pass up on the opportunity. It was the right size for us and had the right soils, like those on Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas,” said Lefebvre. Year after year, WaterFire’s most popular wine is Grüner Veltliner, a crisp white with notes of citrus and white pepper.

“We sell out early. The fruit chemistry in 2023 was spot-on. This vintage may be the best yet,” said Lefebvre.

WaterFire is located at the top edge of the Torch Lake watershed, with land marked by rolling hills that carry down to Torch Lake. The hills present a challenge because air flowing down tends to pool in certain areas. Spots of cold air can lead to freezes and excessive moisture.

Lefebvre’s years of training help her and Newman to address these concerns. Lefebvre began her wine career in a tasting room on Old Mission Peninsula. She learned more by working in a variety of Michigan vineyards. Then she spent four seasons studying winemaking basics at the wine grape crush pad at Left Foot Charley. Her next step was to found WaterFire. Now Lefebvre is part of the community of wineries around Torch Lake.

“I consider them (the owners of the other wineries) friends and colleagues. I appreciate what we all bring to the table. We have shared tools and laborers,” said Lefebvre.

Torch Lake wineries, including Cellar 1914, Folklor, and WaterFire, currently collaborate on events to showcase the region, including the annual January through April Frostbite Trail experience. This is a food, wine, cider, and beer pairing experience across Antrim and Charlevoix counties.

Lefebvre encourages guests to come to vineyard tours on Saturdays during the summer and fall to learn about WaterFire’s progress in viticulture and regenerative agriculture. WaterFire also offers guided tastings throughout the year to educate customers about its sustainability measures.


Jessica Zimmer is a wine writer based in northern California. She is also a California, Florida, and New York-licensed attorney. She enjoys learning about the geology and growing seasons of different appellations.

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Matt Newton and Billy Katz



s summer approaches and restaurants across the state begin to open their patios for the sunny season, one thing is likely on the mind of Michiganders who love to brunch: rosé. With its delicate blush hues and photogenic charm, perhaps no wine is better suited for the warmer months in the mitten state than the internet’s favorite pink vino. But when it comes to sipping local this summer, how do Michigan-made rosés stack up to those imported from regions like California?

“In general, rosés are really well suited to this area,” says Drew Perry, Director of Winemaking at Simpson Family Estates, which owns and operates Aurora Cellars Winery in Lake Leelanau, Michigan. In part, that’s because of Northern Michigan’s weather, which Perry says keeps wines produced in the state “bright and fresh.” The region’s cool climate is another factor, he explains, allowing the

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varietals most commonly used in the production of rosé, like Pinot Noir, to flourish.

“The reds that we make from (Pinot Noir) are really finessed and they're not as well understood, I would say nationally and internationally. But when we do rosés and bubbly from it, we're able to kind of highlight the things that we can do really well consistently,” Perry says.

Michigan through rosé-colored glasses

With a nose and palate of candied cherries and a dry, fruit-like finish, Aurora Cellars’ Brut Rosé is an example of the many things Aurora Cellars does well consistently. Produced in the traditional method of pressing white and red cultivars separately, then blending them back together to achieve the right color, the sparkling rosé was awarded the double gold in the 2024 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Aurora Cellars’ single-varietal Pinot Noir rosé, a still rosé whose production requires a 20-hour skin soak to achieve the right color, also took home a bronze in the same competition – proving Michigan-made rosés can easily stand on their own against other American wines.

“We have a lot of white wines that really cater to this region, as well as reds that are cool climatefocused and cool climate-driven. In general, it's about recognizing where you are and maximizing where you are, rather than trying to sell people on being somewhere else. We're not trying to make burgundy wines. We're trying to make the best wines we can here, that resemble this place,” Perry says.

The perfect wine for almost any warm-weather occasion, Perry says there are a few key things for consumers to consider when choosing a quality Michigan rosé this summer – no matter if they’re heading to the beach, to brunch, or just chilling out on their deck at home.

“One of the first couple of things they’ll want to look for is, does color matter to them? Sometimes people like that visual appeal,” Perry says, adding that rosés come in an array of pink hues ranging from pale blush to more vibrant pinks. While there’s no right or wrong when it comes color, choosing one that meets your preference is part of the appeal. Next, Perry says looking at the varietals in each blend can help rosé drinkers find the aromatics and flavors they’re looking for.

“A lot of the darker red varieties tend to be more berry-focused, whereas you get almost a complex herbaceous and floral presentation, as well as kind of a berry compote, when you're looking at something like Pinot Noir,” Perry says.

Most importantly, consumers should have a plan before hitting the wine shop to ensure they know what they’re looking for.

“As a consumer, you almost kind of want to have an agenda. Like, do I want something that just looks fun, and we don't have to put too much thought into it? Or am I trying to kind of dissect the

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wine? I think that takes you in different directions,” Perry says.

At Bonobo Winery in Traverse City, Michigan, sparkling wines are an important part of the winery’s offerings – particularly when it comes to rosé.

“(Northern Michigan is) a great area for sparkling wines and some other wines,” says Cornel Olivier, winemaker and vineyard manager at Bonobo, where sparkling wines make up between 30% to 40% of production annually.

Having produced wines in regions like South Africa, where he grew up, Olivier agrees that Michigan’s cooler climate plays an important role in keeping the state’s sparkling wines at their best – including Bonobo’s sparkling rosé, an easy-drinking blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Blanc with a dry, smooth finish.

“It's not like your traditional French champagnes,” Olivier says, pointing to differences in its impact on the nose and palate, including less yeastiness and baked aromas.

Like Aurora Cellars, Bonobo’s sparkling rosé is produced using the traditional method of pressing red and white cultivars separately then blending and fermenting the juices together. For the winery’s still rosé, dubbed the “wild child,” Olivier tends to get more creative, highlighting the flexibility and innovation that the process of making the pink wine allows for.

Featuring a blend of 11 varietals including Pinot Gris, Léon Millot, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer and six others that culminate into a smooth palate dominated by watermelon and Maraschino cherry, Bonobo’s still rosé is produced by mixing red and white cultivars and allowing them to sit on the skin for 10 to 12 hours before they’re pressed together.

While there are some challenges when it comes to producing rosé in Michigan, including reduced crispness, Olivier says the pink wine’s “delicate fruit and floral aromas” and crisp finish make up the difference.

“For us here, constantly, year after year, trying to improve not just quality but also the appearance of the wine. … It can be pretty challenging making wines in Michigan, but that's one of the reasons why I like making wines here,” Olivier says.


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.


Lebanese Food & Michigan Wine

Lebanese dishes and Michigan wines are a good complement, since Lebanese cuisine offers grilled, spicy, herb, and sweet notes that echo the fruits and aromas of different vintages. There are many opportunities to enjoy Lebanese cuisine across Michigan, particularly in Dearborn. For decades, this city has been a cultural center for Arab Americans.

Well-known Lebanese restaurants include Leila in downtown Detroit, Anita’s Kitchen (with locations around the state, including Detroit, Ferndale, and Lake Orion) and Phoenicia in Birmingham. Some restaurants do not offer alcohol due to an owner’s personal choice or because the menu is halal, in keeping with the rules of Islam. A home cook, caterer, or restaurant owner who enjoys alcohol may pair wine with mezze (small plates) or main dishes like kibbeh, bulgur wheat pounded with meat and formed into ovals. Another traditional alcoholic beverage from Lebanon is arak, which is made by distilling anise seeds into white grape brandy.

The best way to determine what wine to pair with a Lebanese meal is to evaluate the spices and flavors of the dishes. Heat level is another factor, said Maureen Abood, cookbook author and food blogger. Abood’s award-winning book “Rose Water & Orange Blossoms” explores the Lebanese American favorites of her childhood in Michigan.

“For example, we marinate grilled shrimp skewers in lemon and sumac, a bright red spice with a citrusy flavor. This dish would go well with anything from a rosé to a dry red wine. A Lebanese recipe for Lake whitefish could typically involve sautéeing or pan searing the filet with spicy ingredients, like cayenne pepper or harissa, a red chili paste made from roasted red peppers and garlic. Good matches include a Michigan Sauvignon Blanc or Muscat to balance the heat,” said Abood.

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It helps to let go of rigid rules about what foods traditionally go well with reds or whites. Instead, Abood suggests pairing dishes with wines you enjoy:

“Michigan sparkling wines are an easy pick. They go well with so many choices. They especially match Lebanese dishes that blend savory and sweet flavors, like almond stuffed dates warmed in a spritz of olive oil. I finish these with lime zest and sea salt.”

Michigan fruit wines like cherry and blueberry can be enjoyed before or after a meal that contains fruity or nutty elements. One example is the tangy pomegranate seeds that top baba ganoush, a dip made with roasted eggplant, olive oil, and tahini. Or the buttery pistachios that top Lebanese rice pudding.

“Many Lebanese desserts, including Lebanese fruit salad, use flower waters like rose water and orange blossom water. Roses belong to the same plant family as strawberries. Michigan’s fruit-forward wines go well with these dishes, as they both have berry notes,” said Abood.

Chef Kate Jackman’s personal picks for Michigan wine include Gamay Noir from Chateau Grand Traverse, unoaked Chardonnay from Good Harbor Vineyard, and Rieslings from Left Foot Charley. She enjoys all of the other wines available from these wineries as well as those from Black Star Farms.

Jackman is the owner of Chef Kate, LLC, an Ann Arborbased personal chef business. She specializes in Lebanese food because of her family background.

“My mother’s side is from northeast Lebanon, in the countryside. Some of our family lived in Beirut. My grandfather first came to Canada and then immigrated to the U.S. My grandmother came directly to the U.S. with my uncle,” said Jackman.

Jackman honors this heritage with an assortment of dishes,

including kibbeh and fatayer, small hand pies with lamb.

“My other favorites include mujadara, a lentil and rice pilaf with crispy onions, and chicken or lamb shawarma. I marinate shawarma meat in allspice, cumin, and cinnamon,” said Jackman.

Two common elements in Lebanese food are tahini, a sesame seed paste used in sweet and savory dishes, and parsley, a main ingredient in tabouli, an herb and tomato salad with bulgur wheat or couscous. The tahini’s creaminess and the parsley’s herbiness pair well with Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner. Jackman also likes to match Lebanese grilled fish with Michigan Pinot Grigios.

“Growing up, no one drank much wine at family meals. I began discovering wine in the late 1980s and early 1990s by reading the wine books at Borders, where I was working. Since then, I’ve taken many trips to Traverse City and Old Mission Peninsula to try different wines,” said Jackman.

Michael Schafer, a Troy-based wine and spirits educator known as “The Wine Counselor,” agrees with Abood that sparkling wines are a “fail-safe” choice.

“I suggest experimenting with wines from Mawby. They have a range of sparkling wines that will match dishes like baba ganoush. A lot of Lebanese foods can be really garlicky, like hummus. Big Little Wines produces a white Pinot Noir that pairs well with hummus. You could also try a dry rosé or a smooth Albariño to cut through that richness,” said Schafer. Schafer added that it's helpful to become familiar with the bottles in your wine cellar and avoid over-seasoning dishes.

“Then you could create a red pepper hummus that would go with a Michigan Pinot Noir you might have. A lightly spiced grilled chicken could match the spice in a Michigan Gewürztraminer,” said Schafer.

Finding sweet wines to match Lebanese desserts is tricky. The rule is that the wine should be sweeter than the dessert.

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Otherwise the wine will taste sour.

A number of Lebanese desserts incorporate a simple, honey, orange blossom, or rose syrup. Ice wine or a late harvest Riesling or Vignoles will stand up to the challenge of a dessert like knafeh, a crisp shredded phyllo filled with sweet cheese and drizzled with syrup.

No matter what wine is chosen, the sentiment of offering a beverage for celebration fits Lebanon’s cultural traditions.

“Hospitality to guests is part of Lebanese culture, and Lebanon has historically been a wine-producing region,” said Abood.

She said a great bottle of Michigan wine is always a welcome gift.

“Your pick could be anything from a cherry wine, as an accompaniment or to make a pan sauce for a seared pork chop, to a complex white, which would go well with stuffed grape leaves, to an ice wine, which would pair nicely with a nutty dessert like walnut baklava,” said Abood.


Lebanese baba ganoush


• Char the eggplant by poking a few holes in them with a knife or skewer (so the skin won’t burst). Cook them on a hot barbecue, a low flame on the gas burner, or under the broiler. If you’re broiling the eggplant, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet a few inches under the broiler. Whatever the heat source, turn the eggplants over halfway through cooking (use tongs) to char them evenly. When the skin is blistered and the eggplant is very soft, remove them from the heat. Under the broiler this takes about 30 minutes.

• When they are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with your fingers and cut away the stem end. Open the eggplant and pull out the lines of seeds, and discard them.

• Chop or mash the eggplant until it forms a dip-like texture. In a bowl, combine the eggplant with the tahini, salt, garlic, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then spoon the baba gannouj onto a plate. Make some swirls in the eggplant with the back of the spoon, and drizzle olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, and serve with pita chips, crackers, vegetables.

For online version click here


• 2 firm globe eggplant

• 3 tablespoons tahini (wellstirred before measuring)

• 1 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Few grinds of black pepper

• extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

• 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds



Adesire to bring a sense of place to the forefront drove McKenzie and Creighton Gallagher to rechristen their winery this year, transforming Rove Estate into Rove Winery at the Gallagher Estate.

“We wanted to really bring together both Rove and our family heritage and namesake together,” explains McKenzie. “(The new name) does just that.”

For years, the Gallaghers have been working diligently to establish their brand amid Michigan’s wine industry. Their distinctive goose logo captures the essence of their heritage. It’s a nod to their shared Irish ancestry and the socalled “wine geese”: Irish citizens who fled the war-torn country and dispersed around the globe, where they became renowned winemakers in their new homes.

As for the name of their Leelanau Peninsula-based winery, they chose the word “rove” because it means a journey

without a destination, “and when we set out on our journey to create Rove, that’s exactly how we felt,” says McKenzie. “We had this big dream — not a lot of experience or resources — (but) that didn’t stop us from reaching for the stars to create this special place.”

In recent years, though, they decided something was missing in the nuances of the name: “a sense of place and home,” she says. “A big part of our story is our farm. And from a wine perspective, our terroir and soils are what make our wines unique to our farm.”

McKenzie doesn’t see it so much as a rebranding as a “brand evolution,” a natural side effect of continuous re-evaluation of their goals, their processes, their plans.

The timing couldn’t be more opportune: The 2023 vintage will be Rove’s tenth, marking a major milestone for the family. To bring their branding in line with the new moniker,

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Layla Brielle Scarlett Kylan

the Gallaghers overhauled their website and redesigned their wine labels. Beyond the new name, McKenzie says she feels Rove shifting into a new phase overall.

Creighton and McKenzie originally purchased part of Creighton’s family farm near the base of Leelanau Peninsula in 2010, replacing acres of cherry trees with vineyards. They weathered the back-to-back brutal winters of 2014 and 2015 before opening Rove’s hilltop tasting room in 2016.

McKenzie sees those early years as “startup mode … an explorative phase where we were honing into what was authentic to us.” They got their team in place, determined the style of wine they wanted to produce, established their vibe, etc. Now, they’re in a place “where we are able to focus on the things we care about most: specifically, sharing our farming heritage and bringing a sense of community to people visiting our winery.”

Over the years, Rove has developed its live music and events, and is currently expanding its hard cider production. The Gallaghers work with other nearby farms to provide locally sourced snack offerings for their guests.

New Wine Co-op

With experience, they’ve also amended some of their early visions for the winery. Though they once considered constructing their own production facility, the Gallaghers recently opted to pursue a different route, signing on to be part of a new wine production co-op called Caravin Wine Works. Helmed by Left Foot Charley’s Bryan Ulbrich, the co-op is housed in the former Great Lakes Potato Chip

Co. building, just across the street from Rove.

“Caravin is similar to a custom crush facility; the biggest difference is that we are a group of small producers with a shared ethos, passion for quality and focus on farming,” explains McKenzie. “I would call it more of a co-op community. The Caravin facility allows multiple small wineries to share the benefits of a large facility without footing the whole bill. It also allows us to spread costs out and remain competitive among international market forces.”

Besides the farm and winery, the Gallaghers have their hands full on the homefront — and they wouldn’t have it any other way. In February, McKenzie gave birth to their fifth child, a boy named Rory, who joins Kylan, 16; Brielle, 13; Scarlett, 11; and Layla, 8. The four older children operate a roadside stand to sell fruit grown on the family farm. Creighton always hoped that this adventure would be equally fulfilling for himself and his family, “and that has definitely come to fruition,” he says.

As for the future, McKenzie says they intend to continue building upon the foundation they’ve already laid for Rove.

“We definitely plan on being here for the long haul,” she says. “We are so proud to be a part of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and a founding member of the Traverse Wine Coast. So we want to keep showing the world what amazing wines our region has to offer. And we want to continue making quality wines that showcase this beautiful region we call home.”


Cortney Casey is a certified sommelier and co-founder of Michigan By The Bottle, an online community promoting the entire Michigan wine industry. She’s also coowner of Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room, located in Shelby Township, Royal Oak and Auburn Hills. Contact her at



The Summer of 2024 is gearing up to be a true Michigan wine summer. Wineries are prepping their summer wine offerings and events, Michigan wine lovers are planning their trips to the lakes and the neighboring wineries, and grape growers are getting busy in the vineyards. After a long, strange trip through Winter 2023/2024, Michiganders are ready to officially uncork the warmer and sunnier summers of the Mitten State. There’s a lot of excitement in the air…and in the glasses of 2024.

The season officially kicks off in May, which is Michigan Wine Month. May is consistently proclaimed Michigan Wine Month by the governors themselves and heralded across the industry and the state as the launch of tasting room season. This Michigan Wine Month there are some huge celebrations planned statewide. The epic collection of Michigan wine events happening in the state’s largest city, Detroit, includes the Taste Michigan Invades the D extravaganza which coincides with the inaugural Uncork Me Michigan Wine Fest at Comerica Park

This “Michigan wine invasion” descends upon the Motor City May 17th-19th. The aggressive terminology and the geography are intentional. This is the Michigan wine industry’s attempt to show its appeal to Detroit. It is a coordinated effort by the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) and its members to solidify Michigan wine’s place as a major player on wine lists and shelves in some of the city’s most iconic and reputed restaurants and retailers.

Operating in tandem with the Brothers Molloy Event (BME) launch of its widely celebrated Uncork Me wine fests in Detroit, the Taste Michigan Invades the D itinerary includes Michigan wineries paired with restaurants across the city offering wine dinners, tastings, and pop ups on Friday May 17th, followed by the headlining Uncork Me Michigan Wine Fest on Saturday the 18th, and the weekend wraps up on the 19th at The Royce with their annual Michigan Wine Expo.

We wanted the entire scoop about the execution and expectations for the much anticipated Michigan wine weekend so we went straight to the sources. We caught up with Lucas Molloy of BME as he details his inspiration behind Uncork Me, the attraction to Detroit, and what attendees can expect at this first ever event. On deck following Molloy is Brian Lillie, President of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, who spills all the tea…or rather wine…about the epic Taste Michigan Invades the D plans.

MU: What is the concept and vision behind Uncork Me? What was behind the decision to bring the event to Michigan?

LM: We currently host Uncork Me events in Madison, WI, Indianapolis, IN, and this year, in Detroit, MI. By hosting the Uncork Me event in these states, we aim to celebrate and showcase diversity while providing a platform for local wineries to connect with enthusiasts and showcase their craft.

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Revelers at Uncork Me 2023

The state's vibrant and flourishing wine scene primarily drove the decision to bring the event to Michigan. Michigan boasts a remarkable array of wineries, each offering unique and high-quality products. Additionally, Michigan's enthusiastic and welcoming community and rich cultural heritage made it an ideal location to expand our event series and create memorable experiences for attendees.

MU: What are some features of the event? Entertainment? Food? Vendors?

LM: We’ve teamed up with 34 Michigan-exclusive wineries, meaderies, and cideries for our inaugural event. While guests mingle with winemakers, DJ MaryJane will provide music throughout the event. The Ferris wheel inside Comerica Park will also be in action, and we're thrilled to present a dazzling drag queen performance featuring Gabriella Stratton Galore, Miss Gay Michigan America 2023. Comerica Park will also have finger foods to die for.

MU: What has your experience learning about Michigan wine and working with Michigan wine producers been like?

LM: It’s always uncertain how we'll be received in a new state, but Michigan greeted us with a warm welcome! Partnering with the Michigan Wine Collaborative was crucial in establishing connections with numerous wineries. Their unwavering support has been invaluable, from offering helpful feedback on logistics to sharing Uncork Me on their social channels. This event truly couldn't happen without each winery and their incredible work to elevate and honor Michigan's viticulture and continue to blaze new paths. Every day, we learn more and meet new faces in the market. We sincerely appreciate these connections and insights, as they will undoubtedly contribute to the success of our high-caliber event for all involved.

MU: Tell us about how Uncork Me infuses Inclusion into the event.

LM: Diversity, inclusion, and trust are more than mere words to us; they're the foundational principles guiding our business, event planning, and team culture. We are dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment, striving to lead in creating a more inclusive world for all.

Drag performances are an integral aspect of the Uncork Me experience, emphasizing that everyone is welcome. We actively moderate our Facebook pages, swiftly addressing and rejecting any hateful comments. Embracing diversity and celebrating everyone's differences lies at the heart of our ethos, ensuring that all can savor great wine in an environment of inclusivity. That's our ultimate goal.

MU: What’s the future look like for Brothers Molloy Events (BME) and Uncork Me wine fests?

LM: BME thrives on embracing new challenges. We are always working on new events, and having conversations with clients needing help with management to take them to the next level. Regarding Uncork Me specifically, we continuously explore markets where we believe Uncork Me could flourish and aspire to expand into new cities and states in the future. We certainly are eying a few markets heavily, but we will save that for another time! Our vision is also to nurture this family and deliver events that forge enduring memories for years to come.


MU: How did the MWC come up with the idea behind Taste MI Invades the D?

BL: When Lucas Molloy approached us about doing a wine festival we determined that since there would already be over 30 Michigan wine producers in the city at one time AND that it coincides with Michigan Wine Month in May, we wanted to piggyback on the weekend offering and create more awareness of Michigan wine in the most densely populated area of the state.

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Lucas Molloy

MU: Why is Detroit a priority for Michigan wine?

BL: Every emerging wine region has support from the closest largest city. Sonoma and Napa wines are on the restaurant lists in San Francisco, Finger Lakes wines are in Syracuse, etc. If we want to be known as a world class wine region we need the support of Detroit so that when people from other parts of the world visit, they see the support and want to get a bottle to take home to share.

How can the city propel the Michigan wine industry? Taste Michigan Invades the D is purposefully partnering with Downtown Detroit restaurants. These will serve as the extension of our tasting rooms and our best way to show the world what we are doing is simple- liquid to lips. When people taste our wine we want to convert them to ambassadors. Right now we can only convert people one by one by first encouraging people to visit our tasting rooms and then taste our wine. This way we can maximize our impact by being offered at several locations throughout the city and at the wine festival. Liquid to Lips… That’s the strategy.

MU: What kind of results and benefits is the MWC hopeful for at the close of Taste MI Invades the D?

BL: Currently, we have about 2 dozen restaurants and wine producers uniquely paired for May 17th. If these wines are added to the wine lists in half of these spaces, I think it will be the beginning of spreading the word on the statewide wine brand, Taste Michigan and the Cool Is Hot movement.

MU: What can folks in the Motor City look forward to in this event?

There will be plenty of opportunities to meet the producers that make Michigan wine from primarily Michigan grown grapes. These producers have already caught the wine world’s eye by winning international competitions like the San Francisco Chronicle and TexSom. So much so that Wine Folly has added Michigan to their regions to know list. It's time for the people of Michigan to start thinking the same. The way to do that is come to the D, meet with our producers, try our wine, and join the effort. Future events? This is the beginning of a much larger plan for Taste Michigan to invade the Great Lakes…. Stay tuned.

MU: How can Michigan wine consumers help to increase Michigan wines on wine lists and store shelves in the Metro Detroit area?

BL: The easiest way to help Michigan wine and Taste Michigan is to ask for it at your store, restaurant, dinner table, watering hole, farmer’s market, and any other experience that is worth sharing.

You can learn more about the Taste Michigan Invades the D lineup by visiting:

To learn more about Uncork Me Michigan and to purchase tickets visit:


Emily Dockery is the Executive Director for the Michigan Wine Collaborative, She also co-chair of the Inclusion & Expansion Committee and has extensive experience in the retail wine sales industry and is a graduate of the Lake Michigan College enology and viticulture program.

Brian Lillie


The wine industry is brimming with buzz words these days. Sustainability is often top of the list. With climate change, stewardship of the land, responsible farming, regenerative agriculture, federal incentives, and so many more factors, it is understandable why Sustainability is undeniably sexy to viticulturalists, farmers, and winemakers…and let’s not forget consumers who are applying pressure on countless industries to produce more ethically, more responsibly, and of course, more sustainably.

The Michigan grape and wine industries are making major strides towards innovating and implementing sustainability efforts and programs. Michigan State University (MSU) and the Michigan Wine Collaborative (MWC) are two entities working diligently to provide support, resources, and options for Michigan grape growers. The programs being developed by MSU and MWC are also

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working in tandem with each other. Additionally, both organizations and their programs have proven to value collaboration and input from the industry they consider the primary beneficiaries of those programs, the farmers and growers regularly in the vines.

MSU has been developing a Sustainable Agriculture Mobile App for Michigan farmers since 2018. The driving force behind the app? To provide modern, streamlined support for farmers and growers as they make decisions involving spray programs, economical factors, weather considerations, and more, all affecting their vines and the upcoming vintage. While grape growers are certainly the obvious beneficiaries for an app of this kind, consumers of Michigan wine are also at the forefront. An app of this kind, boasting a dedication to sustainability and responsible farming, has the potential to appeal to environmentally informed Michigan wine consumers, ensuring that the wine in their glass is high quality and ethically produced, from vine to glass. Sustainability is not only a buzz word in the wine industry or just plainly the right thing to do, it’s an economically sound investment for growers, wineries, and the Michigan agricultural industry and communities as a whole.

We caught up with Dr. Karen Chou of MSU who has been at the helm of the impressive Sustainable Agriculture App since 2018. She gave us all the exciting technical and innovative background and details of this predictively essential resource for the Michigan grape and wine industries.

MU: Please give some basic background on the vision behind the Sustainable Ag App and how the project started.

KC: In 2018, I was approached by MWC to spearhead a pesticide risk assessment initiative for the Michigan wine industry. Dr. Rufus Isaacs and Mr. Brad Baughman of MSU provided a comprehensive list of approximately 60 pesticides tailored to Michigan’s geographic and climatic conditions. These pesticides were meticulously selected to meet the specific needs of the region.

The assessment process involved evaluating risk values based on individual user inputs, such as the size of the sprayed field, methods of application, and available equipment. To streamline this complex assessment model and ensure its practical utility for growers, my team developed an expert software system in 2019. This software was designed to present farm-specific risk values, empowering growers to make informed decisions based on both risk and benefit considerations. Subsequent interviews conducted by my research team in 2020 revealed a strong enthusiasm among Michigan vineyard stakeholders for adopting sustainable practices. However, growers candidly expressed their challenges in doing so. A subsequent market study further highlighted the lack of effective tools available to growers for developing sustainability and economically viable management plans.

Recognizing this gap, the idea of evolving our expert system software into a unified sustainability management tool emerged. This visionary concept earned the highest accolade in the Michigan

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Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) AgBio Innovation Challenge Award in 2021. Since then, I have successfully secured two additional grants to bolster the efforts of my SustainableAg team, further advancing our mission to promote sustainability within the Michigan wine industry.

MU: What is the goal of the app? How can it increase sustainability for growers?

KC: The Sustainability Management (SAM) Tool's primary goal is to streamline decision-making for growers, delivering time and cost savings while boosting consumer confidence in Michigan wine. By offering accessible comparative data on risk, efficacy, weather conditions, and easy access to pest scouting information, the SAM Tool empowers growers to make informed decisions that balance cost, effectiveness, and the environmental impact of their practices. This comprehensive approach aids growers in reducing chemical usage, thus fostering sustainable farming practices throughout the Michigan wine industry.

MU: Who are the main beneficiaries of the app? How many users are there currently?

KC: The SAM Tool primarily benefits Michigan vineyards and wineries by providing immediate access to valuable data and insights for optimizing sustainability practices. Additionally, it facilitates the production of healthier products, establishment of comprehensive record-keeping systems, and participation in owner/manager authorized participatory research projects. Other potential users include crop advisors, food processing companies, and certification and crop insurance inspectors.

These initiatives not only benefit current producers but also enhance the long-term sustainability and quality of products, benefiting both producers and consumers in future generations. Presently, over 20 individuals have signed up to test the SAM Tool. Moreover, it is consistently utilized by multiple MSU viticulture research projects, underscoring its initial traction and potential to facilitate collaborative research between growers and researchers within the Michigan wine industry.

MU: What are the main features of the app? Are there plans to expand the offerings within the app?

KC: The app boasts a range of features designed to enhance user experience and support sustainable production practices. These include robust data security and accuracy measures, mapping of sub-fields, auto-populated spray records, and warnings about consecutive use of the same pesticides to mitigate the development of pesticide-resistant pests.

Additionally, the app offers an intuitive spray calendar that integrates Restricted Entry Interval (REI) and Pre-Harvest Interval (PHI) information, task assignments, centralized communication, schedule reminders for managers and workers, and the capability to upload photos and scouting notes directly from the field. Furthermore, the app facilitates data recording from remote sensors, aiding in comprehensive monitoring and analysis.

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aligning with third-party certification programs such as VineBalance, which is piloted by MWC.

Looking ahead, major feature enhancements are planned, including the optimization of the web application for mobile devices. This upgrade will enhance accessibility and convenience, enabling users to manage tasks and access information while on the go. Additionally, upcoming updates will introduce features to facilitate compliance with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), further advancing sustainability efforts within the industry.

MU: What does the future of the app look like for Michigan farmers? Will the reach expand outside of the state of Michigan?

KC: Tailored to meet the needs of farms of all sizes, the SAM Tool's features are informed by extensive input from Michigan growers, particularly those from small and medium-sized vineyards. Michigan farmers, along with crop buyers, advisors, insurance adjusters, sustainability program inspectors, and researchers, stand to benefit from the SAM Tool's ability to amplify individual efforts in optimizing production, return on investment (ROI), and sustainability endeavors. Looking ahead, the SAM Tool is poised to attract interest from growers in neighboring states within the Great Lakes region.

Dr. Chou extends her gratitude to dedicated legacy users and testers, as well as the Michigan Wine Collaborative, MSU Extension Educators and Experts, MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub, and the MSU Innovation Center.

The Michigan Wine Collaborative has been hard at work researching, collaborating, and developing paths towards sustainability that make sense for Michigan growers. Current chair of the MWC Sustainability Committee, Sidney Finan of Stranger Wine Company, has been spearheading the effort for the VineBalance Workbook which is currently in the pilot phase throughout the state’s vineyards.

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Sidney Finan

MU: What is VineBalance and why does it make sense for Michigan growers?

SF: VineBalance is a comprehensive grower self-assessment workbook that was developed by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation in collaboration with Cornell Extension and the New York Department of Agriculture.

The goal of the workbook is to provide a framework for grape growers to assess the sustainability of their practices, and encourage them to continue adopting practices that enhance their sustainability efforts. It covers many environmental, social, and economic factors that go into sustainable viticultural practices.

Participants using the workbook gain more thorough insight into their practices and are offered tangible suggestions for increasing their sustainability efforts. The participants also represent a growing number of viticulturalists who recognize the importance of sustainable grape production, and are helping our state mitigate the environmental risks associated with more conventional farming. In this way, they are helping lead the way for the Michigan wine industry to become more environmentally and socially sustainable.

MU: What are some features that set VineBalance apart from other sustainability programs growers in Michigan may be using?

SF: VineBalance was developed for growers in New York regions that have similar cool climate conditions to many of our own growing regions.This makes it the most compatible sustainability program for Michigan growers when compared to those developed for other climates such as California’s SIP Certified or Oregon’s LIVE Certified.

MU: How can growers participate?

SF: The New York Grape and Wine Foundation has generously shared their VineBalance Workbook with Michigan in an effort to help us implement our own statewide version of the program. The Sustainability Committee of the MWC is working to launch the pilot program in the spring of 2024. The pilot program is free, and allows growers to utilize the Workbook throughout the 2024 growing season. At the end of the year, growers will participate in providing feedback and modifying the workbook as necessary to be as appropriate for Michigan's growing regions as possible.

MU: What does the future of the program look like?

SF: The long term goal of the VineBalance program would be to create a statewide viticultural sustainability certification program. We would like to work with LIVE to get the program accredited. We believe that the standards outlined by VineBalance and LIVE are thorough, comprehensive, and work to truly enhance the efforts of sustainability minded growers. Additionally, these standards will increase consumer confidence in growers commitment to environmental stewardship and social protections for those working in the Michigan wine industry.

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MU: What does sustainability mean to you as a grape grower, winemaker, and business owner in Michigan? Why is it important to align sustainability efforts with other farmers/growers throughout the state?

SF: With Michigan being the second most agriculturally diverse state in America I take great pride in being one of the many farmers who call this state home. As farmers, my husband and I feel a strong sense of commitment to farm in a way that is as sustainable as possible to honor the biodiversity and agricultural history here. To us, that means minimizing inputs, minimizing soil disruption, and minimizing mechanization. We also work to encourage native flora and fauna to coexist with our vines in celebration of the abundant biodiversity that makes our site so unique. We find that this is not only important to us, but to our consumers as well. With more emphasis on sustainable farming than ever before, people are very invested in learning about the practices involved in the production of their food and wine.

Michigan is in a unique position to become industry leaders in sustainability given our abundant viticulture across the state. With our rich agricultural biodiversity and proximity to some of the most precious bodies of freshwater in the world, I feel that all of us in agriculture will benefit from a collective movement towards more sustainable practices that work to protect our environment and the workers who keep our industries thriving.

It’s an all hands on deck moment for sustainability in Michigan wine. From the farmers themselves to the organizations obliged to support them and even for the consumers ultimately enjoying the final product, the idea that minimal impact on the land with maximum quality being consumed is paramount. The saying goes, “It takes a village.”, in the case of Sustainability in Michigan wine, it takes an industry to make the changes and the loyal consumers driving demand for ethicality to solidify the effort for the state’s vines and wines.

Growers who are interested in participating in the programs mentioned in this article (or Michigan wine enthusiasts interested in exploring sustainability in Michigan wine) should visit the Michigan Wine Collaborative Sustainability Page at, or reach out to


Emily Dockery is the Executive Director for the Michigan Wine Collaborative, She also co-chair of the Inclusion & Expansion Committee and has extensive experience in the retail wine sales industry and is a graduate of the Lake Michigan College enology and viticulture program.


Between the Vines

Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery | 2022 Semi Dry Riesling | Leelanau Peninsula

Honeysuckle and stone fruit on the nose get the juices flowing with this well-dressed, beauGfully textured wine. Expressive layers of nectarines, pineapple sorbet, fresh sliced peaches and cream, lime curd, minerality, and a hint of lemon herbs create a stream of bright flavors dazzling the palate. Pure, zesty and prisGnely balanced, with a finish that lingers far beyond the final drop. SRP $17 | Food pairing: Roasted cauliflower and pecorino fusilli pasta

Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery | 2020 Pinot Noir | Leelanau Peninsula

This elegant Pinot Noir showcases a nose of fresh turned earth and red fruits. Ethereal on the palate with flavors of raspberries, cranberries, Sweetheart cherries, a delicate touch of herbs, and preVy French oak nuances siWng perfectly in the background. Hints of exoGc tea and anise chime in on the back palate. Silky in texture, and buoyant with fine balance as it flows seamlessly to the saGsfying finish. SRP: $25 |Food pairing: ProsciuVo wrapped salmon filet |

Black Star Farms | 2019 Anniversary Cuvée Blanc de Noir | Leelanau Peninsula

This sumptuous tradiGonally cra]ed sparkling wine, composed of 100% Pinot Noir shines with class, starGng with a heavenly aromaGc of white fruits and hints of yeasGness. Golden delicious apples, honeysuckle, Marcona almonds, and lemon-filled pastry notes dazzle the palate. Brilliantly balanced and the Gny endless bead persists through the long-lasGng, striking finish. SRP: $39 | Food pairing: Linguini with clams |

Black Star Farms | 2022 Arcturos Dry Riesling | Old Mission Peninsula

The engaging aroma of a fragrant white floral bouquet puts you in a mood to relax and unwind. The first sip is mouthwatering, and leads to a vitalizing blast of crisp apples, fresh sliced peaches, a notable edge of minerality, lime zest, oyster shell salinity, citrus blossom, and hints of green papaya exhilaraGng the palate. Brisk acidity keeps this gem lively and ideally balanced as it traverses to an everlasGng finale. SRP: $19 Food pairing: Crab and snap pea linguini |

Blustone Vineyards |LaGtude ArGsan Series | Leelanau Peninsula

This entrancing blend of Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grüner Veltliner will appeal to many a palate with its lively, sunny personality. It opens with pleasing citrus-Gnged tree fruits on the nose. Juicy pears, fresh summer apricots, lemon verbena, pomelo, and star fruit wrap radiantly around a thread of minerality. Complementary acidity keeps the wine in ideal balance, and it finishes with splendor. SRP: $28 | Food pairing: Goat cheese ravioli with sage buVer

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery | 2021 Reserve Signature Red | Old Mission Peninsula

This extraordinary red wine, a blend of 40% Cab Sauv, 32% Merlot, 28% Pinot Noir really hits the mark. The entrancing aromaGc leads to layers of blueberries, black currants, fresh tobacco, black cherries, and ground anise seed, while subtle French oak spice adds further depth. The texture is velvety, tannins are well integrated, and the finish is persistent and memorable; superbly cra]ed. SRP: $65 | Food pairing: Beef carpaccio with extra virgin olive oil

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Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery | 2022 Reserve Dry Riesling | Old Mission

The irresisGble stone fruit aroma capGvates the senses, and the entry bursts with brilliance. Juicy fresh nectarines, sun-kissed peaches, lemon-lime citrusy elements, and fresh cut pineapple notes will have you in a summerGme frame of mind. A nice minerally edge and wet stone nuances add dimension. Racy acidity keeps the wine in perfect balance, and the finish seems to linger forever. SRP: $24 | Food pairing: Wild snapper ceviche with avocado garnish

Brengman Brothers | Crain Hill Vineyard 2021 Right Bank | Leelanau Peninsula

Spice and dark fruits on the nose broaden on the palate with this Bordeaux style red, a blend of 70% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot, 12% Cab Sauvignon and 3% PeGt Verdot. Decant if popping the cork soon. With aeraGon it displays deep dark, delicious flavors of black plum, blackberry, fresh ground mulG-colored peppercorns, and crème de cassis joining savory elements, underlying barrel nuances, and excellent length. SRP: $60 | Food pairing: Gorgonzola crusted beef tenderloin. |

Brengman Brothers | Crain Hill Vineyard 2021 Merlot | Leelanau Peninsula

Here is a ravishing Merlot boasGng intensity and gracefulness. Earthiness and forest berries at first whiff awaken the senses. Rich, bold and saGn smooth, this mulG-layered treasure fills the mouth with Satsuma plums, blueberry/raspberry coulis, black trumpet mushrooms, savoriness, and skillfully managed oak. Firmly structured, and the finish just keeps on delivering. SRP: $85 | Food pairing: Garlic roasted lamb shoulder

Brengman Brothers | Crain Hill Vineyard 2022 Riesling Trocken | Leelanau

This wild ferment Riesling showcases a gorgeous aromaGc, and simply electrifies the palate with its juiciness, intensity, and immaculate balance. Crisp crunchy Bosc pears, fresh squeezed key lime, succulent white peaches, and a pinch of spearmint leaves will have you wanGng more, and citrusy elements prolong the finish beyond the last swallow. SRP: $32 Food pairing: Citrus cured hamachi


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



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Taste Michigan Gear

Official gear of the Michigan Wine Collaborative. Our goal is to support and promote the Michigan wine industry, but we can only accomplish this together. For info:

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