For effervescent breakfasts on a Northern Michigan deck, midday sips on the dock or dinner in the dunes, this month we bring you a bevy of Northern Michigan wines to match the frivolous pleasure of summer picnics. This is your time to branch out and take risks: drink pink wine, fruit wine, red wine with a slight chill, or ride the bubble train; above all, have fun with it.

Tasting rooms are just beginning to roll out releases from the limited 2009 vintage, but plenty of great reds, whites and pinks from 2007 and 2008 are still in the pipeline and drinking beautifully.


Ham sandwiches, hummus, strawberry Jell-O: bubbles go with everything. Check out the new brut rosé from Bowers Harbor, Forty-Five North’s Peach Cremant or, of course, L. Mawby’s blanc de blanc.


A beautiful compromise between red and white, dry rosés made from cabernet franc or pinot noir boast bright strawberry and sour cherry notes and play nice with smoked salmon, charcuterie or nothing at all. Check out the new cabernet franc rosés from Two Lads and Left Foot Charley, or vin gris of pinot noir from Chateau Grand Traverse.

Dry Whites

Round or racy, there is nothing so fine as summer thirst slaked with a bright sip of dry white. Summer salads, smoked fish and artisan goat cheese beg for dry riesling from Black Star Farms, chardonnay by Bel Lago or Brys Estate pinot gris.

Off-Dry Whites

Sometimes a measure of sweetness is needed to complement orchard fruits, pâtés and cold Thai noodle salad. Go for gewürztraminer from Peninsula Cellars, the tropical trio of riesling, seyval and vignoles in Good Harbor Trillium or the aromatic Whitewater from Gill’s Pier.

Light Reds

When the picnic cooler yields leftover barbecue, hard cheeses or eggplant muffalettas, sometimes only red will do. Don’t be afraid to put a slight chill on light and lithe summer reds like Shady Lane’s Blue Franc, Chateau Fontaine’s pinot noir or the off-dry Nice Red from Chateau Chantal.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski