I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.
Voted #4 Best Wine Shop by WDIV in 2010 with Top 5 placements in the past four years and a 1st place win in 2007, Filipo Marc Winery combines quality pre-pressed grapes from vineyards around the globe to craft a multitude of compelling liquids. During their accessible and snobbery-free wine tastings, cured-grape-elixir sippers sample 15 selections from the wine list, which runs the gamut from sweet to dry. Glasses are paired with harmonious cheeses, crackers, and sausages to accentuate flavors. A full range of wine styles, from sanguine merlot or shiraz to blonde pinot grigio, parade playfully through patrons' mouths as erudite experts expound upon the wines' origins, flavor notes, and favorite Flintstones.
Signature service: Homebrew supplies
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Pro Tip: All the employees brew and make their own wine and mead
With a passion for beer that extends to becoming a BJCP certified beer judge and a student of beer courses at The Siebel Institute of Technology, Andy Moore joined the staff at Cap N Cork Homebrew Supply more than 10 years ago. Today, he owns and runs the business, giving him "the ability to talk about beer and wine all day long," which he cites as the part of his job he likes the most. He and his experienced employees put their customers' needs first, answering any questions they may have. These items can include the 34 types of beer kits that grace the shop, including IPAs, hefeweizens, stouts, and seasonal varieties. Also available are 150 wine kits including dry and sweet reds and whites, and a selection of different varietals of honey, including local honey, for mead-making.
Gerald and Elisabeth Blake established Blake Farms in 1946 with the help of their 13 children. In the 60-plus years and several generations since, Blake's has spread their operation to three locations across the metro Detroit area. More than 500 acres of orchard and farmland compose the family business, and during certain seasons, that land allows average citizens a chance to give their robotic fruit harvesters a rest and come pick their own apples, strawberries, peaches, and pumpkins. Blake's becomes especially busy with the arrival of autumn, when it hosts an annual fall festival, and Christmastime, when its U-Cut tree program lets families team up to chop down their own tannenbaum.
Shannon and Cortney Casey have journeyed all over the state of Michigan in pursuit of their passion: wine. Michigan By The Bottle started as a blog, but their readers' demand for locally produced wine spurred them to open their own tasting room. Now, though the pair still creates wine-focused videos and interviews Michigan winemakers, they spend much of their time inside the Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room. Between walls hung with works by Michigan artists, they pour wines from six Michigan wineries.
These six partner wineries represent the state's four major wine trails: Lake Michigan Shore, Leelanau Peninsula, Old Mission Peninsula, and the Southeast Michigan Pioneer trail. Each is also one of Shannon and Cortney's favorite boutique wineries, chosen in part because they use only their own estate-grown or locally sourced fruit.
Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard and Winery makes wines and ciders from fruit grown on the family farm. Peninsula Cellars expresses its region through cherry, apple, and grape wines, and Domaine Berrien Cellars’ proprietors handcraft wines from 21 varietals. Chateau Aeronautique Winery, with an airplane-themed decor, places emphasis on the setting of a tasting, and Gill's Pier Vineyard and Winery is modelled after boutique vineyards of France and California. The family-run Sandhill Crane Vineyards works with local ingredients and contributes to local charities.
In the Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room, servers pair these libations with snacks ranging from sustainable cheeses to organic single-origin chocolates, each made by in-state producers. In addition to special wine tastings, the tasting room also hosts events such as food-and-wine pairings as well as onsite massage and yoga. Open to the public Wednesday through Sunday for drop-in tastings, the tasting room holds private and special events on Monday and Tuesday.
The seasoned chef at Filippa’s Wine Barrel pays homage to the history of American cuisine with a menu of classic comfort dishes, seafood, and steak-house cuisine created from seasonal ingredients from local sources whenever possible. A large, rotating wine list includes pours from local Michigan wineries, as well as Napa Valley reds. Diners tuck into the upscale eats inside cozy, horseshoe-shaped booths or sup al-fresco on the patio surrounded by a lush landscape of high grasses, the gurgling of a small pond, and the soft, lilting melodies of an opera-singing garden gnome.