May is “Michigan Wine Month” and with a Pure Michigan summer just around the corner, St. Julian—the state’s oldest, continually-operating winery—introduces its two latest wines to celebrate both occasions. Michcato and Sunset Michcato will be available beginning May 1st at retail outlets around Michigan.
“We get asked all the time for Moscato, yet some of the traditional Muscat varietals do not grow well in Michigan,” said Nancie Oxley, Vice President & Winemaker for St. Julian. “We have now produced our own version of this popular, sweet wine—Michcato, made primarily with Traminette grapes with the addition of Valvin Muscat—both of which grow beautifully in the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation.”
The Lake Michigan Shore AVA is one of four American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Michigan. Spread out along the coastline of the country’s second largest freshwater lake inland as far as 45 miles, this “fruit belt” region has been home to commercial vineyards dating back to 1867. St. Julian has operated here since the mid-1920s, coming to Paw Paw from the Detroit area, and before that, Canada.
“I love working with Traminette in the winery,” Oxley said. “The versatility is amazing, whether producing a dry, semi-dry or even sparkling wine. Valvin Muscat is a new varietal for us and its aromatics are reminiscent of the Muscat varietal. When done right, the tropical aromatics blasts out of the glass and the sweetness balances perfectly with the razor-sharp acidity.”
Sunset Michato is a proprietary blend of several red varietals, encompassing the familiar aromatics that draws you back to your childhood—of driving through the southwest Michigan countryside as grapes ripen on the vines in the summer sun. It is sweet, packed with flavor and ideal for sharing along the Lake Michigan shoreline throughout the day—especially at sunset.
“As winemakers and consumers alike know, we can produce world-class varietals like Riesling, Pinot Gris and Cabernet Franc here in Michigan. Yet, oftentimes the sweeter wine blends from the French-American hybrids are overlooked,” Oxley said. “Every year, these vines produce, whether it’s the perfect weather conditions or a Polar Vortex year, and we are consistently creating beautiful wines from these varietals. The Midwest palate seems to prefer wines with a little sweetness, so we have created these two new wines to meet our customers’ tastes and demands.”
Both Michcato and Sunset Michcato embrace everything Michigan: Michigan-grown fruit, Michigan-produced wine, Michigan-proud label, and are expected to be the perfect summer sipper for sharing with family and friends, whether that’s at the beach, the cottage, on the boat or at the dinner table.
The family-owned St. Julian, Michigan’s oldest and longest-operating winery, was founded in 1921. In addition to the winery in downtown Paw Paw—where they produce award-winning wines, sparkling juices, spirits and cider—St. Julian operates tasting rooms in Dundee, Frankenmuth and Union Pier.