Can Pinot Blanc Be Michigan’s Signature Grape?

You may also like...

9 Responses

  1. John says:

    Pinot blanc? Michigan has 40 years of experience in producing great riesling wines (see Chateau Grand Traverse) and know that is renown for that we are looking for a different variety? Look for reds, with whites we are good with riesling.

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Michigan Riesling is among the finest in the world. But Riesling is already associated with Germany, Austria and the Finger Lakes (and other regions.) Perhaps Michigan can be known as the leading Pinot Blanc region?

      • Jon says:

        Would seem very strange to me to have a grape that encompasses only 17 acres in the state become the state grape, especially in a state that has what, 4,000? 5,000 acres of grapes? Might be more actually, no? I can’t claim to know the number, just guessing. I agree to stick with the Riesling. If it’s among the best in the world… what’s wrong with just saying that, and there is actually a great deal of Riesling there to back it up… Let the people across the lake in door county plant Pinot Blanc and claim significance. It wouldn’t hurt them to have a breakthrough of sorts…

        • Mark Ganchiff says:

          According to the 2011 USDA Survey, Michigan had 2,650 acres of wine grapes in 2011, the most of any state in the Midwest. That number is probably over 3,000 acres now. Would be curious to know if anyone is growing Pinot Blanc in Wisconsin.

  2. Interesting report, and I’m going to go against the flow of the others who replied here and say that you might just be on to something. I’ve had the Verterra and Bowers Harbor Pinot Blancs, and they are very good. It’s too bad that you didn’t get a chance to try any of Bryan Ulbrich’s Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc, made with grapes from Michigan’s oldest Pinot Blanc plot, Werner Kuehnis’ Island View Vineyard, on Old Mission. Planted in 1995, this vineyard consistently produces fruit that, in Ulbrich’s very capable hands, makes what for me is the finest example of the variety in the state. I reviewed the two most recent vintages a few weeks ago; you can read the report at the following link:

    • Mark Ganchiff says:

      Thanks for sharing your excellent post George, another example of great Michigan Pinot Blanc.

  3. James Vaughn says:

    Great article Matt!!! I enjoy Black Star Farms’ Pinot Blanc. Very delicate with hints of lemon grass and I pick up slight green apple, not yet released as of the writing of your article.

    I have always been perplexed by how we here in Michigan are not leading the way in this and other crisp and tart wine categories (besides Riesling and Gris/Grigio). Out west, especially many California wineries, producers are forced to add adjuncts in the form of acids to balance. Obviously this is not the case with all west coast wines, but our relatively cooler climate gives us the upper hand in this regard. I have never tasted a California Pinot Blanc but I imagine our Blancs (collectively) are just as good or better or have the potential to be.

    If wine drinkers here embrace Pinot Blanc on a larger scale, it’s only a matter of time before this wine’s popularity will ‘put us on the map’.

  4. Greg Zyn says:

    I never knew that Michigan had the temperature to grow pinot noir grapes. I was recently looking at lots where I can start my own winery but Michigan was not an option.

  1. August 1, 2013

    […] week, I happened upon an interesting blog entry in the Midwest Wine Press, written by Matt Maniscalco. In his article, Maniscalco proposed that Pinot Blanc ‘could be the […]