Back by popular demand, it's Michigan Wine Lover of the Week! Today, meet Margaret and Mark Pawloski. Though these Dearborn residents had their first Michigan wine experiences separately, they can trace the source of their affinity back to the same winery. Now, they make regular pilgrimages together up north — always sure to stop at one particular place where the wine speaks for itself. Here, Margaret tells us about their favorites.
"St. Julian was the first Michigan wine for both of us, but we have separate stories. Mark remembers enjoying 'some sort of white' St Julian wine at his parents' house for a summer BBQ dinner. I remember stopping at St Julian as a kid with my foks. Of course, all I sampled was the juice, but my brother and I thought we were something special!"
What was the first Michigan winery you ever visited?
"We took a trip to the southwest wineries back when there were only a few of wineries. It's hard to say which one we went to first, but during that weekend trip, we visited St Julian, Warner, and then ventured into Berrien County when only Lemon Creek, Tabor Hill, Round Barn (back then it was Heart of the Vineyard) and a now-closed Madron Lake Hills winery."
What's your favorite Michigan wine?
"This is like when folks say they can't pick a favorite child! Our favorites are dry Rieslings, Pinot Gris and sparklings from J. Trees, Hickory Creek, Fenn Valley, Black Star Farms and Mawby."
What's your favorite Michigan winery?
"This question took us at least 30 minutes of discussion to come to a conclusion for you. It was tough to name just one. Fenn Valley has a good variety of wines, wonderfully simple events, a nice picnic area and the staff is always friendly."
Are there any wine trail events in Michigan that you attend regularly?
"The one wine event that we used to go to regularly was probably before they invented wine trail events. We attended the Paw Paw Wine Festival every year for nearly 10 years. We've been to a lot of trail events and had a blast at each one, but they are so crowded it's not something we'd do every year."
What's the most surprising Michigan wine you've tried?
"You've stumped us with this one. The exciting part of visiting wineries and trying the variety of wines is there is always a chance for something surprising. You may think you don't like a specific type of wine or you didn't like something about the wine last year, but something clicked this time."
Got any memorable Michigan wine stories?
"We go to Boskydel every year. If you've ever been there, you know it's always a challenge to get Bernie to talk. One year, Bernie and son were in the tasting room. I made a comment that it's always fun to visit them for the stimulating conversation. The look on both father and son's faces was priceless.
I am a foodie at heart, so when someone offers me a taste of something, I jump at it just for the experience and education. We were visiting Madron Lake Hills winery (no longer open) in southwest Michigan when the owner took us in the back to allow us to taste wine at all of the various stages of fermentation/aging."
"We have a great variety. At most wineries, you'll find something you like. It's a great way to learn about wine. The tasting rooms are always friendly and willing to answer any questions. You don't have to feel like you have to know something about wine before you walk in."
"We drink the wines we bought on vacations. We've been to Niagara on the Lake several times, Finger Lakes, Washington State, Long Island, Texas, Germany."
About the photo ...
"This photo was taken fall 2002. Mark had broken his foot playing hockey, but we didn't let us stop us from our annual trip to Traverse City to shop for wine."
Interested in being the MBTB Michigan Wine Lover of the Week? E-mail us and request a questionnaire!