I learned a little bit about an area in Michigan for wine that I was not aware of. While I was at the Culinary Extravaganza, one of the tables offering wines was by The Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council and I got a chance to chat with one of the women that were at the table. They were from a governmental agency, instead of the wine industry, but they were promoting the virtues of Michigan wines. I knew a little about my own state, as we have had the chance to visit some of the wineries in the Traverse City area, but that was really the extent of my knowledge.
I really enjoyed my conversation, as we started off with what I knew, and I saw several wines from wineries that we have actually visited and done tastings at. We talked about Bel Lago Vineyards, Black Star Farms, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, Ciccone Vineyard, L. Mawby/M. Lawrence, Leelanau Cellars, Peninsula Cellars and Shady Lane Cellars. We also discussed some wineries that I have tried, but not had the pleasure to visit like big Little, Hawthorne Vineyards, Left Foot Charley and 2 Lads Winery. She seemed pleased that I had somewhat of a grasp for wines of that region and we talked about some of the wines and the grounds, as well.
She suggested that I try a glass of Fenn Valley Pinot Grigio 2012, a Lake Michigan Shore wine. This was the only wine that they were offering from Fenn Valley Vineyards & Wine Cellar. I had no idea where this winery was from or of the designation. I guess I kind of looked foolish, from my response. If she thought that, she did not let it be known. She started telling me that there was a group of wineries west and southwest of the Grand Rapids area, along Lake Michigan. The only wine area that I was aware of, in that region was at Paw Paw, and they were known in my early years for producing sweeter wines: a large segment of wine market, drinkers that prefer the sweet wines over the dry red wines. In fact, I remember once when we were on a drive to Chicago, we stopped for some coffee at a McDonalds in Paw Paw and were surprised to see that it was not a cookie-cutter version of the fast food emporium; in fact the décor evoked wines. Of course I do get side tracked on occasion, and getting back to the Pinot Grigio, I found it to be even lighter, then most of the wines that I have tried of this varietal, but I presume that as the wines and the vineyard mature, the winery will make a good every day wine.