Thursday, November 17, 2011

The History of Michigan Wines

The History of Michigan Wines: 150 Years of Winemaking along the Great Lakes, by Sharon Kegerreis and Lorri Hathaway (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2010) is a book that documents Michigan's dynamic 150-year wine history.

Savor the taste of wines inspired by the Great Lakes. Meet passionate winemakers like Joseph Sterling, who ignited Michigan’s first viable wine region in the 1800s along Lake Erie. Discover how the Detroit River was used for bootlegging during Prohibition, how the raid on red wine in the Upper Peninsula generated national headlines and how Michigan became the first to repeal. Learn about the wineries that boosted production to make Michigan a leading wine producer through the 1960s, when the changing marketplace caused a slump in production and sales. Since then, new grape varietals have spurred resurgence in the industry, garnering Michigan worldwide attention for its locally influenced wines. Discover Michigan’s vibrant wine history, which is vital to the second most agriculturally diverse state and top tourism region becoming a premier agritourism destination.

The book is set up chronologically, in 5 sections up to 2010. The appendix of Michigan wineries is a nice bonus, and it included a winery (in the area we normally frequent), that I hadn’t heard of before. Very thoroughly researched!

One of the best things about visiting wine country is the amazing history it always seems to have. Since Laima and I have recently spent so much time in Michigan, exploring the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, it was perfect timing to read this book, recognizing some of the wine growers who appear in the book. There is a wealth of information here, much of it interconnected. My only complaint is that the writing tends to jump around a bit, but only because the authors are trying to get so many details in, and it truly is a minor flaw.

The authors also take on a minor tangent in exploring Michigan’s new craft distilleries, 5 of which are based in vineyards. It’s an exciting and interesting addition to visiting those producers!

Hathaway and Kegerreis are native Michiganders who share a passion for living and playing along the Great Lakes and exploring wine and food destinations. Researching Michigan’s earliest wine pioneers for the State of Michigan ignited a passion for Michigan’s rich agricultural history and turned them into avid historians. They continue to be most intrigued with today’s hardworking winemakers and other agriculturalists who inspire us to share their stories.

The History Press has some other titles in their History of Wine series (Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina), and I will definitely be checking the titles out before visiting wineries in those states.

The authors can be found via the Delicious Michigan website, Facebook, and Twitter.


Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of The History Press. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give the book a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.

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