I was in the wine section at Meijer the other weekend. Why not get a Michigan wine, I thought to myself. While checking out their section, I noticed something: the vast majority of the wines from our great state, or at least the ones Meijer carries are on the sweet side of things. This seemed a little fishy. I decided to contact local wine expert Davis Smith to get to the bottom of this whole mess. Davis' whole response is on his blog, In a Wine State of Mind. Here is an excerpt:
The first thing I should say is that some of the most complex and expensive wines in the world are sweet wines, and for some reason the American public has an aversion to sweet (even though we probably drink more soda and sugary juice than any other country). Secondly, Michigan is a very young state in terms of serious wine-making and this goes for marketing as well. My main beef with the MI wine industry is that a lot of the wine that should be considered seriously is above the $20 price point, which does not encourage someone whose never had a Michigan wine to go out and try it. Let’s be honest, if you’re from Georgia and have never seen Michigan wine in your market, are you gonna shell out $24 for a wine when you aren’t even sure you’ll get the quality for the price? That’s just the American mentality. I’ve had a good sampling of wine from my home state and have met some of the men and women behind it and can tell you that these are passionate people who want to bring you quality.
So to go back and answer your original question: yes, there are a lot of sweet wines made in Michigan that taste a little like cough syrup, but that’s because they’re cheap. However, these aren’t the only wines available, you just need to look in the right places. I have really enjoyed Michigan Rieslings, Cabernet Francs, and Chardonnays. Some of my favorite Michigan wineries are 2 Lads Winery, Chateau Chantal, Old Shore, and even Black Star Farms makes some decent wines.
Photo via bcbeatty