I’ve been very fortunate in recent years to travel for my employer. On two occasions I’ve traveled to California and Oregon/Washington state to visit College alumni.

Both of those trips gave me the chance to tack on some extra days, at my own expense, to visit those area’s famous vineyards and wineries.

This summer it sort of happened the other way around. Last year I took two days to drive along the Ohio River in Southern Indiana and ended up visiting nine Indiana wineries. I blogged each of the two days and you can read those entries here and here.

So this summer I wasn’t so sure I could pull off something similar. I’ve never traveled Michigan much and certainly never north of Grand Rapids. I was putting together a two-day trip into Michigan when our College magazine editor learned of my plans. It turns out there is an alum near Grand Rapids the editor wanted to profile for an upcoming issue. Additionally, one of the wineries I planned to visit has a general manager/alum from our little liberal arts school.

So long story made short, I have another work/wine week coming up starting July 13. I’ll be mixinig work with several winery stops.

Michigan’s wine story is really an interesting one. The state has more than 70 wineries and ideal climate conditions for cool weather grapes. I’ll be visiting wineries in Central Michigan up through Leelanau County and peninsula area.

I’ll be spending a night in Traverse City which has become quite the stop for foodies. I have already confirmed visits with three important Michigan winery owners and winemakers and working on a couple of more.

Riesling is the key grape in most of Michigan. The wineries are also producing a lot of Cab Franc. Most fascinating for me is the upper state Pinot Noir. The 45th parallel runs through northern Michigan. The 45th also runs through Willammette Valley in Oregon and Burgundy in France.

My main story will be about the emergence of Michigan wines for Palate Press. But I’ll also be doing a newspaper column or two, blog entries here, and as noted in the headline blogging about the trip here as it happens. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put up photo albums and maybe some videos each day from the stops.

I have to thank the Michigan Wine and Grape Council for some great suggestions on who to visit and an additional shout out for a great press kit.

I’ll post another reminder before departure, but follow along here for a look at Michigan wineries. A few weeks after the trip, my piece should be up on the national online wine magazine Palate Press. For my Hoosier readers, the newspaper column will probably be late July or early August.

All of this about wine and work and I haven’t even mentioned how the upper Michigan area captivates visitors with its beauty.

It should be some trip!

I know I’ll be visiting wineries and writing each night July 13, 14, and 15th. You can join me on the trip here on Grape Sense!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com