Michigan food and wine celebrated at annual Gold Medal Reception --A record 399 wines judged during the competition

EAST LANSING, MI,-- Michigan's finest wines and foods were celebrated as part of the annual Gold Medal Reception hosted by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. The event featured award-winning Michigan wines, specially created couture foods and artisanal cheeses made by local creameries.

"There continues to be strong recognition at the state level of the importance of the wine industry to the state's economy, and I 'm thrilled to see the industry's rapid growth in the past decade," said Don Koivisto, Michigan Department of Agriculture Director. "Being able to honor our excellence in wine and spirits and pairing it with amazing food is truly a tribute to all the best that Michigan agriculture has to offer."

There was a great showing of wines from areas throughout the state, with gold medals split evenly between the Northern and Southern growing regions. Silver medals were awarded to wineries from all major growing regions, including the Upper Peninsula where there are now three commercial wineries producing wines from grapes grown in Michigan.

Forty-four of the state's 73 wineries entered a record 399 wines for this year's competition, which is open only to wines produced from Michigan grapes and other fruit. Gold medals were awarded to a wide variety of wines - from bone-dry reds to deliciously sweet ice wines - from all of Michigan's major grape-growing areas. At the end of the day, judges awarded the top ''Best of Class'' awards to eight wines from a group of 52 gold medal winners, including eight double gold.

Additionally, the reception featured a Michigan Artisan Cheese Gallery sponsored by Meijer, Inc. The Cheese Gallery showcased members of the new Michigan Cheese Makers Cooperative who served conversational samples to guests. The Michigan Cheese Makers Cooperative was developed by the Michigan State University Product Center to promote the tasty cheeses made in Michigan by creameries using Michigan milk.

"Meijer is proud to help sponsor the Gold Medal Reception and the Michigan Artisan Cheese Gallery, said Mark Murray, president of the Grand Rapids-based retailer. "As the number one wine retailer in Michigan, as well as an avid supporter of the Michigan Cheese Makers co-operative, it was a natural place for us to be to demonstrate our support for Michigan products."

A complete list of medal-winning wines is available online at www.michiganwines.com. The Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition is sponsored by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, which is administered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. For more information about the wines and wineries of Michigan, contact the council online, or by phone at 517-241-4468.

Copyright © 2010 State of Michigan

Published: Thu, Aug 12, 2010