Midwest Winemakers Get Respect From Chicago Tribune

July 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Always grappling for respect, the Chicago Tribune gave Midwestern winemakers some in an article in yesterday’s edition. Focusing almost exclusively on wineries in Illinois and Southwest Michigan, the article acknowledges the progress they have made in recent years, especially in moving away from sweet(er) wines. Many Midwestern winemakers are now focusing more on dry and semi-dry wines, such as Riesling and Pinot Gris, which are grown in the similar climates of southern Germany, Austria and the Alsace region of northern France. (This Tribune graphic describes the number of acres devoted to each varietal.)

In particular, the article features Wally Maurer, winemaker for Domaine Berrien, and Doug Welsch, winemaker for Fenn Valley, who have been mentioned previously on The Local Beet. As discussed before on The Local Beet, Maurer tells the Tribune about how his land is warmer, and allows him to grow a variety of grapes like Syrah and Merlot. (Many red varietals need warmer weather to ripen properly.) Known for its microclimates, Michigan wines vary greatly even if the geographical distance between wineries is not that large. Compare Maurer to Welsch, of Fenn Valley, who is known for his ice wine made from grapes that are frozen on the vine.

The full text of the Tribune’s article can be found here.

Note: Lynfred Winery’s wines are available at Binny’s in Chicagoland. Fenn Valley and Domaine Berrien wines will soon be available on the wine lists at Eno in the Hotel Intercontinental, and at Aria in the Fairmont Hotel. They are available for retail sale at House Red in Forest Park and Dobby’s World Wide Liquors in Palatine.