Michigan Wine and Chocolate

The perfect pairing. Peanut butter and jelly. Tom and Jerry. William and Kate.


Travel along any wine trail in Michigan, and you’ll find another pinnacle of pairings: wine and chocolate. The cacao bean may derive from along the equator, yet the artistry of handcrafted chocolates is found copiously here in Michigan. Here’s the dish on Michigan wine and chocolate pairings.

Northwest Michigan: Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula

On Old Mission Peninsula, find fabulous fudge by Dove Cottage of Clare at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery. The tasting room team raves that the fudge pairs “most beautifully” with their Signature Red. Dark chocolate fudge is also featured among the “light appetizers” offered with private tastings in the barrel or cask room. And while the fudge is delicious with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the pairing with Signature Red reigns supreme. Vintner Eileen Brys says, “Dark chocolate and red wine is a match made in heaven.”

Jaunt over to Black Star Farms’ TASTES at Grand Traverse Commons for chocolate desserts, such as the Chocolate Torture Torte with white chocolate bark and chocolate ganache, prepared by the chef of the Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Pair it with Sirius Cherry or Sirius Raspberry dessert wine for the ultimate in decadence. You’ll also find heavenly, natural chocolates in the winery’s tasting rooms. Infused with cherry and apple eaux de vie (fruit brandies), the treats are made by Patricia’s Chocolates of Grand Haven.

Over in Cedar at Longview Winery, experience Vintner Alan Eaker’s wines followed by delicious Charles Layton Chocolate truffles made with the winery’s cherry port. Afterward, head to Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates in Empire for artisan Rainforest Alliance-certified chocolate blended with Chateau Chantal’s cherry port. And finally, a stop at Cherry Republic Winery in Glen Arbor is sure to delight you with homemade fudge, chocolate-covered cherries, and cherry-inspired wines.

Northeast Michigan

On the sunrise side in Alpena, Stoney Acres Winery offers mouthwatering, scrumptious truffles crafted by local chocolatier Danielle Mulvena of Speechless Chocolates. The creamy, rich chocolates are infused with the winery’s cherry wine, raspberry wine, Silver City red wine (Merlot), or Thunder Bay red wine (Concord). In East Tawas, stock up on Village Chocolatier chocolates for pairing with your favorite Michigan wines. Southwest Michigan

In Coloma, just a mile south of I-94, sink your teeth into sensual, silky orbs of goodness at The Chocolate Garden. Favorites are decadent dark-chocolate truffles infused with Lago Rosso red wine from Contessa Wine Cellars and milk chocolate truffles spiked with St. Julian’s Solera Cream Sherry. For nearby wine tastings, visit Karma Vista Vineyards and Contessa Wine Cellars, both conveniently located a brief drive north of this heavenly chocolate destination.

Southeast Michigan

In the Jackson region, Sandhill Crane Vineyards offers a covered-in-chocolate bottle of raspberry wine. Gently break away the chocolate, then savor and pair with sips of this luxurious dessert wine. Also, the Moffat family of Sandhill Crane just announced new “baby cakes” — chocolate cupcakes made with their raspberry wine by Oh Susanna Specialty Cupcakes of Jackson.

South of Jackson, near Michigan International Speedway, Cherry Creek Cellars Old Schoolhouse Winery also has a fudgery. John Burtka crafts the wine and his wife Denise creates a new batch of fudge every week. Stop in for tastings of sweet to dry wines and tastings of fudge with flavors ranging from chocolate to vanilla and nutty. Wine and chocolate: a glorious pairing any time of year.

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 www.michiganvine.com.

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