Refreshing Rosés Make a Great Picnic Wine

A chilled off-dry to dry rosé is a great complement to variety of dishes.


A chilled off-dry to dry rosé is a great complement to variety of dishes. Ideal for your summer barbecue or picnic, a traditional rosé is crafted by carefully removing skins from red or black grapes before the juice evolves into a wine that is not quite white and not quite red. Think of them as softer red wines.

Rosés make a lovely summer sipping wine for different palates. White wine drinkers enjoy the alternative flavor, and red wine drinkers find the lighter-tasting beverage ideal on hot, steamy days.

Rosés are produced from a variety of dark grapes, including Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc, offering many different flavors. In Michigan, you'll find several styles, with fruity undertones, in tasting rooms across the state. A day trip to southeast Michigan's Pioneer Wine Trail leads you to the following:

  • J Trees Cellars of Blissfield offers a dry rosé with a crisp touch of residual sweetness.
  • Sandhill Crane Vineyards of Jackson produces Sassy Rosé, a crisp and fruity dry Cabernet Franc blend.
  • In Brooklyn, Cherry Creek Cellars crafts Rosie's Rosé, which the vintner describes as a white Zinfandel, but nicer.

Further throughout wine country, more dry-style rosés await you in the tasting rooms:

  • Blue Water Winery in Carsonville crafts Pinot Noir Rosé, a semi-dry wine with spice, strawberry, and watermelon aromas.
  • At Domaine Berrien Cellars in Berrien Springs, off-dry Pink Satin is crafted with the St. Vincent grape.
  • In Baroda, Tabor Hill Winery makes Cabernet Franc Rosé, a medium-light bodied wine, crisp with a berry finish.
  • Hickory Creek Winery, also in Baroda, describes its Cabernet Franc Rosé as a "perfect accompaniment to the bistro table."
  • Old Mission Peninsula's Chateau Chantal produces Malbec Rosé, a dry wine made with Malbec grapes from its Argentinean vineyard.
  • Further up the peninsula, 2 Lads Winery's Rosé is an intensely flavored, fruit-forward Cabernet Franc Rosé.

Refreshing rosés can be the pinnacle of your next picnic, as many of these wines are award winners. And, for the sweeter palate, there are many rosés and blush wines available, such as:

  • Lone Oak Vineyard Estate's LOVE's First Blush, a just-released blush wine blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
  • Black Star Farms' Red House Rosé, produced with Cayuga, Marechal Foch, and Riesling grapes.

Regardless of whether your taste buds prefer red or white wine, try Michigan rosés as a refreshing alternative this summer. The blush-style wine is growing in popularity, and Michigan is producing them well.

Lorri Hathaway and Sharon Kegerreis are authors of the award-winning From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries and The History of Michigan Wines. Learn more and get autographed books at
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