Impress Guests — From the Toast to the Digestif

Ignite joie de vivre in your holiday gatherings with a sampling of Michigan wines and spirits.

Ignite joie de vivre in your holiday gatherings with a sampling of Michigan wines and spirits. From apértifs to digestifs, they’ll add to any festive occasion.

To immediately put guests at ease, greet family and friends with a chilled bubbly, such as L. Mawby Cremant Classic, Black Star Farms Be Dazzled, or Tabor Hill Blanc de Blanc. Surprise your youngest visitors with flutes of sparkling grape juice by St. Julian.

As everyone flocks to the kitchen to chat with the cook and nibble on appetizers, uncork a handful of diverse wines to appeal to a variety of taste buds. A few of my favorites include Brys Estate Pinot Grigio, Domaine Berrien Cellars Syrah, Left Foot Charley Pinot Blanc, Lone Oak Vineyard Estate Vin Du Roi (a red wine blend), Shady Lane Blue Franc, and Hickory Creek Winery Cabernet Franc Rosé.

A well-balanced red wine blend, a Pinot Noir, steel-fermented Chardonnay, and a dry to semi-dry Riesling are general crowd pleasers. The wines pair deliciously with roasted turkey or duck, or a pork or beef entrée. You can’t go wrong with these medal winners:

    • Fenn Valley Vineyards Capriccio
    • 2009 Mackinaw Trail Winery Pinot Noir
    • 2008 Sandhill Crane Vineyards Sur Lie Chardonnay
    • 2010 Chateau Grand Traverse Dry White Riesling

Follow up your feast with a digestif, such as artisan grappa from Black Star Farms or Round Barn Winery. Grappa is made from the grape pomace (stems, skin, seeds) that remains after pressing. The pomace is heated and distilled to create a strong spirit.

For guests who prefer sweet indulgences at meal’s end, offer a decadent pour of raspberry dessert wine from Sandhill Crane Vineyards or Lone Oak Vineyard Estate paired with a dark chocolate truffle; or Black Star Farms 2008 A Capella Riesling ice wine or Brys Estate 2008 Dry Ice Riesling ice wine.

Sharon Kegerreis is co-author 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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