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Wednesday, April 3,2013

Best 'Foot' forward

Traverse City winemaker has a reputation for top-notch wines

by Michael Brenton
The route to making great wine can follow many paths. For many, the path begins with successfully navigating through the coursework of enology and viticulture programs at a university. For others, the path is defined by hard work, an eagerness to learn and an intuitive sense for making great wine.
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Wednesday, March 6,2013

Buzzing in Benzie

Wine enthusiasts can soothe their need for mead at St. Ambrose Cellars

by Michael Brenton
Tucked away in rural Benzie County, west of Traverse City, sits St. Ambrose Cellars, a honey of a winery — I mean, meadery. Given its remote location, it's unlikely to be an accidental drive-by while exploring the beautiful northwest region near Sleeping Bear Dunes. But whether skiing at nearby Crystal Mountain in the winter or touring in the summer, it is well worth taking the time to buzz over to St. Ambrose and check it out.
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Wednesday, January 2,2013

Fizz the season

Grower Champagne provides good value for bubbly fans

by Michael Brenton
Nestled along hillsides adjacent to tiny villages and riverbanks in the Champagne region of France grow grapes destined to create some of the finest sparkling wine in the world. These grapes will become "grower Champagne," also known as farmer fizz.
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Wednesday, December 5,2012

The most wonderful wine of the year

Annual unveiling of seasonal Beaujolais varietal is an event for wine fans

by Michael Brenton
Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrive! Translation: The new Beaujolais has arrived. What began as a local French tradition for efficiently creating and consuming wine from the current year harvest gradually morphed into a worldwide tradition and celebration.
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Wednesday, October 3,2012

Bringing home the gold

Annual festival featured bumper crop of Michigan wines

by Michael Brenton
Tasting dozens of wines from Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula at the annual Traverse City Art and Wine Festival this summer, it was evident that the wines of the region continue to reach new heights. Over 5,000 attendees seemed to agree, as the event showcased wines from 27 area wineries, plus cuisine from area purveyors.
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Thursday, September 6,2012

This cider house rules

Uncle John's hosting hard cider festival this weekend

by Michael Brenton
For generations, mid-Michigan residents — along with travelers throughout the Midwest — have enjoyed weekend jaunts up to Uncle John's Cider Mill, on US 27 in St. John's. Uncle John's is a frequent site for events such as car shows, ultralight aviation fly-ins, concerts and, of course, pick-your-own fruit and vegetable excursions. Now in its fifth generation of family ownership, what started as a simple fruit farm has become a full-fledged, family-friendly, agricultural tourist destination.
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Wednesday, August 1,2012

Cool wines for a sizzling summer

If you’re looking for refreshment, you should brush up on your German

by Michael Brenton
German wines do not seem to fly off the shelves in American wine stores, which is a shame because the wines tend to be high-quality, versatile, food-friendly and crowd-pleasing. Perhaps one reason they are ignored by some buyers is that German labels can be confusing.
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Thursday, July 5,2012

Good news from the north

If two recent events are any indication, expect wonderful wines from upstate

by Michael Brenton
The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula dinner at Traverse City's renowned Trattoria Stella on June 7, and the annual Leland Wine and Food Festival — held June 9 — provided perfect venues to sample the new releases from northern Michigan's expanding array of wineries. Summer wine country tourists surely won't be disappointed, nor will they be let down as the new releases begin popping up on store shelves.
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Wednesday, June 6,2012

The summer spirits

Grab a glass when Michigan's breweries, wineries, meaderies and cideries pour it on

by Michael Brenton
The summer festival season is shifting into overdrive. One of the early big events was the annual Michigan Beer and Brat Festival on Memorial Day weekend, held at the base of Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville.
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Wednesday, May 2,2012

The road less traveled

You won’t regret getting caught in the new Northern Leelanau County Wine Loop

by Michael Brenton
The familiar “M-22” diamond-shaped sign appearing in hundreds of car windows seems to be as ubiquitous as “My child is an honor student at … ” bumper stickers. Highway M-22 is a wonderfully scenic road that wraps around the perimeter of the Leelanau Peninsula, showcasing picturesque vistas of Grand Traverse Bay, neighboring Old Mission Peninsula, islands and verdant vineyards as it darts through historic villages, such as Suttons Bay and Leland.
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