Is it the effervescence of a bubbly wine spritzer that makes it so perfect for a hot summer day? Or the allure of transforming cherry pie into a tall, cool glass of wine?
Michigan winemakers all across the state turn seasonal fruits like cherries, raspberries, peaches and apples into wines that are ideal for serving straight over ice, dressing up into sangria or blending into refreshing spritzers.
Here’s where to head for some of the most memorable summer sips.
Chateau Fontaine, Lake Leelanau
This small winery in Lake Leelanau has won the acclaimed international John Rose award two years running for their limited-quantity cherry wine. Winemaker Dan Matthies uses a blend of tart and sweet cherries to perfect a “cherry pie” sweetness without adding any sugar in the process. The result is a clean, crisp and fresh flavor that pairs beautifully with another indulgence, a little box of chocolates (chateaufontaine.com).
Burgdorf’s Winery, Haslett
Tucked into a small hamlet near Lansing, Burgdorf Winery is best-known for its double-gold award-winning wine Perfection, a blend of black raspberries and tart cherries. The winemaking couple, Deb and Dave Burgdorf, has also received accolades for their blueberry and red raspberry wines crafted from farm-fresh fruit, hand-picked at the height of the season (burgdorfwinery.com).
Chateau Grand Traverse, Traverse City
With five different styles of cherry wine, Chateau Grand Traverse uses great imagination to transform the state’s renowned fruit into liquid gold. The winemakers have even taken on the task of creating blends reminiscent of sangria for summer drinks or spiced cherry wine perfect for fall gatherings. Your only job is to find the right glass to serve them in (cgtwines.com).
Fenn Valley, Fennville
Located south of Grand Rapids and close enough to benefit from western Michigan’s renowned lake effect, the state’s oldest family-owned winery first produced wines from cherries, apples, blueberries and other classic Michigan fruit before branching into grape-based traditional wines. Their crisp and flavorful cherry and blueberry wines showcase what the state’s fruit wines are all about (fennvalley.com).
Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay
Award-winning Black Star Farms produces fruit wines and hard cider from locally-grown, iconic Michigan cherries, pears and apples designed to refresh the most delicate palate on a hot summer day. And the winery’s line of dessert, port-style fruit-based wines provides a silky, rich way to end any meal (blackstarfarms.com).
Warner Vineyards, Paw Paw
Michigan’s second-oldest winery has been a boutique family-owned operation since 1938 and extends a unique tasting room experience in the historic Waterworks Station. Try semi-dry Cherry Fruit Wine, a gold medal winner made from 100 percent Michigan Baleton cherries; semi-sweet Blueberry Splash Fruit Wine, featuring South Haven’s renowned fruit; or Peach & Honey Fruit Wine, a semi-sweet blend of peaches, honey, apricots, cinnamon and white wine (warnerwines.com).
Visit michiganwines.com to uncover other memorable seasonal sips. Regular BLUE contributor Caroline J. Beck lives in California’s wine country and Lexington, Mich.