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Wine and Romance: Be Green, Buy Local Wine

Wine and FruitNothing says romance like wine. In California and Illinois September is officially wine month. Wine celebrations, tours and events are going on everywhere. It is fitting. To me Autumn and wine go together, especially with a twist of romance thrown in. Maybe that’s why I got married in September. Love and romance is always swirling in the crisp Autumn air.

This weekend my husband and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary. How are we going to celebrate? With some awesome Italian food and a little bit of wine. Ideally, I would love to take a wine tour of some of the vineyards and wineries around Michigan but I don’t know if we’ll have the time, or the babysitter.

I think we’ll wait until the following weekend (which is my birthday, woo hoo free wine tasting) and visit the grand opening of a new winery right in our area, Wolcott Winery, part of Wolcott Orchards. It’s not biodynamic or organic but it is local. Another fabulous addition to the many wineries in Michigan.

What you didn’t know Michigan had vineyards? Michigan has an extraordinary amount of vineyards and wineries for being such a cold state. Honestly I don’t know much about wine. I’m not some wine connoisseur or snob, I just like what I like. Don’t ask me to pair up the right food with the right wine or even distinguish between dry and wet wines (okay, maybe I can do that). Sometimes I buy wine solely based on what the bottle and label look like (I’m a sucker for aesthetics).

Wine Cellar

One thing I do regularly though, is buy wine from local Michigan wineries. St Julian’s is one of my favorites. It is the oldest and largest winery in Michigan, founded originally in 1921 by Mariano Meconi as Border City Wine Cellars. Several name changes later the winery found it’s current name of St. Julian Winery during World War II. It was named after the patron saint of Meconi’s village in Faleria, Italy. I would love to visit their main facility in Paw Paw, MI and go on the free tour and tasting. They even offer tasting for kids, since St Julian’s produces twice as much juice as they do wine.

Another Michigan brand I particularly enjoy is Leelanau Cellars. Their kitschy seasonal wine, Witch’s Brew (which I originally purchased because of the cool label and name), is a fun treat for Halloween. A spicy blend best served warm, it has an interesting flavor.

Fall Colors in Michigan

I check out a lot of wine, my kitchen and dining room are both decorated with a wine theme, but I try to stick with local wines to support Michigan’s ever struggling economy. Michigan’s wine businesses created nearly $790 million worth of economic value to the State of Michigan in 2005, they paid more than $42 million in state and local taxes in Michigan, and they support more than 5,000 jobs across the state, with a payroll of more than $190 million.

Those are all some very green reasons for me to check out what local wines have to offer. I’m looking forward to trying out Wolcott Winery’s new selection.

What’s available in your area? It is worth checking out.

Written by Wenona Napolitano

Wenona is married with three crazy kids that range in age from 4 to 18. She is a freelance writer, poet and the author of The Everything Green Wedding Book.

She enjoys reading, writing, crafting and gardening. She tries to do all of these as "greenly" as possible.

Her writing has appeared in several local and regional publications, Pack O Fun, Today's Creative Home Arts, and Indiana Living Green magazines as well as numerous online sites including,,, eHow, Associated Content, Suite101 and

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