St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
With a background brewing beer, Jim Wirsching-Neuser was immediately interested when his wife suggested that they create a wine with which to toast at their wedding in 2001. More than a decade later, the two have refined their winemaking processes and recipes to create an impressive selection of varietals using juices from wine grapes produced around the globe. Inside their tasting room, guests sample pours from each of the house-made wines, a selection which may vary according to the season and the sommelier?s ability to juggle. The elixirs may include a faintly tart blueberry pinot noir, dry Tuscan chianti, and Johannesburg riesling, which bursts with fruity notes before breaking through into a smooth dryness.
An array of bottles line shelves and tables and pack boxes, filling the Wine Cellar of Wisconsin with its namesake beverage. Frequent specials are highlighted weekly, including recommendations from the staff. Additionally, evening wine tastings encourage visitors to sample and learn about various varietals. Although the store primarily carries wine, it also stocks a number of craft beers from the likes of New Glarus Brewing, Bell's Brewing, and Ale Asylum.
12 Corners Vineyards' founding friends all grew up in Michigan. They knew the weather?the way the lake effect keeps everything a little warmer, producing lots of soft snow. They understood the way that microclimate affected the richness of the soil, and how fruit from the region was exceptionally fine. They also shared a passion for wine, which led them to copurchase their own 115-acre estate and begin planting vines. They cultivate riesling, cabernet franc, merlot, and traminette, giving familiar grapes interesting twists by cultivating them in a variety of textured soils and slopes. The winemaker of the group, Glen Greiifendorf, brings out the interesting terroirs in every varietal bottled.
Nestled along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, Fenn Valley Vineyards & Wine Cellar capitalizes on the water's air-warming capabilities, growing tender grapes and crafting them into award-winning wines. Their 20th annual Wine Festival takes place on the winery's expansive lawn under a 4,000-square-foot tent pitched for the occasion. Revelers deepen the connection between their ears, noses, and throats with classic rock courtesy of The Trace, traditional Mexican fare and barbecue chicken and ribs, and a palate-wowing library of wines. Guests equipped with a souvenir glass can catch a ride on a People Hauler and move between three tasting stations set up throughout the vineyard, choosing between multiple small tastes or one full glass of a Fenn Valley oeno-explosion. Reds include the delicately fruity capriccio and the more robust merlot, while whites delight with an apple-kissed riesling and an ice wine sweeter than a pineapple Gummi Bear hitting a half-court buzzer beater.
Wine-A-Palooza combines international wines with musical performance during a five-hour evening celebration. Attendees sample a selection of wines from around the world, testing their palate as they suss out the differences in each red and white. While sipping wines, they can also nibble on a variety of international dishes from the buffet. Live music fills the space with rhythms and harmonies, giving attendees a soundtrack to their wine tasting and purchasing experience.