The Awesome Mitten-St. Julian Winery

St. Julian Winery

The Awesome Mitten-St. Julian Winery
Photo courtesy of St. Julian Winery

For this writer, summertime just isn’t the same without sangria, and sangria sure isn’t sangria without a delicious red wine. This plain and simple fact got me thinking about all of the amazing wine we make here in The Mitten. St. Julian is among the oldest and largest wineries in Michigan, and they produce dozens of some of the best reviewed and award winning wines in the state! They have locations open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Paw Paw, Frankenmuth, Union Pier, Dundee, and South Haven. Their billboards and bottle’s ubiquitous art is everywhere fine wines are sold.

When I said that St. Julian was one of the oldest wineries in Michigan, I wasn’t being hyperbolic. These grape-manglers have been perfecting their craft for over 90 years. Their long history began in Italy–where they know a little something about wine–and traverses many decades, several continents, a few name changes, and contains evasion from both the strictures of prohibition and fascists! Who doesn’t like a little adventure with their wine, right? St. Julian settled in Paw Paw Michigan at the end of their long journey to make the most of the killer grape-growing season along the coast of Lake Michigan.

The Awesome Mitten-St. Julian Winery
Photo courtesy of St. Julian Winery

But it’s not just the winery itself that has an impeccable pedigree. Larry Gilbert, St. Julian’s cellar master, has over 35 years of experience making wine and distilling spirits. And Winemaker Nancie Corum-Oxley is a certified food scientist and enologist. For us non-sommeliers, enology is the scientific name for the study of winemaking. Now enough background, let’s get drinking!

As I mentioned, St. Julian pours some of the best wines in the area. Their Late Harvest Riesling recently trounced opposition to win “Best Sweet Wine”, “Best of Class,” and the “Chairman’s Award” at the Riverside International Wine Competition. The descriptions of St. Julian’s fermented finery are enough to make your palate water! The evocative names for each wine paint pictures in your mind, with phrases like B.R. Chancellor Noir’s, “chocolate covered espresso bean & sweet cherry vanilla aroma.” It’s enough to make you tipsy just reading it!

The Awesome Mitten-St. Julian Winery
Photo courtesy of St. Julian Winery

St. Julian offers more than just your favorite red and white delights. They also craft port, sherry, brandy, vodka, and even a salad dressing made from their own red wine vinegar. Just because a Michigander is under 21 doesn’t mean that St. Julian doesn’t have a drink for them. They produce a delicious and extensive line of sparkling fruit juices that make you feel like a classy grown-up and still able to drive home.

The libations aren’t the only reason to make the pilgrimage to Paw Paw. St. Julian also has live music and tours that will delight your taste buds with cheese and chocolate pairings for their famous vintages. St. Julian is truly a Michigan original, and one that should have a place in all of our wineglasses and sangrias.

Visit St. Julian Facebook to like them and stay up to date on wine news! You know you love wine news.

~Jasmine Zweifler, feature writer

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One Comment

  1. St. Julian does indeed make some terrific wines – from the single vineyard ones to the more offbeat ones like “All that Razz” I have enjoyed a good many. You might not think of a Michigan winery as producing good products, but you’d be surprised!

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