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One of the many joys of living in the Midwest – Making your own wine from Michigan grapes!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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Have you even been to Lawton Michigan? If not, you are missing out on some amazing countryside and endless fields of a massive variety of grapes. I visit an old family farm that is the Cronenwett’s.

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They primarily supply commercial operations as do most of the growers in the area. If you have grape juice ever, it is very likely you are drinking Michigan grapes!

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I really enjoy the “hobby” of collecting points, but another hobby is wine. It is so much fun to tinker and play and see what you can produce with the help of nature.

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This year I think I have made my best batch ever. Now I do say that every year, but I really think this is the best batch ever.

lawton mi grapes from google maps

I have mixed 1/3 Delaware, a blush grape often used for Champagne, and 2/3rd Foch that is a VERY dark grape many compare to a Pinot Noir.

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Other years I have fermented each and crushed each separately, but this time I crushed and fermented them together.

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This is pure joy off the vine!

In early testing I am most pleased. Then, after pressing, I cheat a bit. There are number of ways to age your wine. The expensive way is in big oak barrels that are “lightly burned” inside to impart nice vanilla and oak flavors to the wine.

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No stomping grapes for me. I built a press.

After about a week, primary fermentation is done. I built the above rig, and use a 20 ton press to get all the goodness and color out of the grapes. Then they go into glass. The nice thing about glass is you can use it over and over again. Next, I add a few cups of toasted oak chips. Honestly, the wine does not know the difference. The important part is I like the finished product.

my wine

This is about my 5th year and it really is becoming fun to refine the process. The normal questions are always “how much do you make?”. Anyone who makes wine will always tell you “enough” and that is the right answer. I make enough that I can enjoy a glass of “table wine” with dinner now and then for a year or so.

I add NO chemicals to my wine so it needs to be consumed in a year or two after finishing, that is, letting it rest to pick up flavors from the oak chips and to allow the sediment from crushing to settle out to the bottom (that is discarded later).

winerys in southwest mi

If you happen to live anywhere near the Southwest Michigan coast there are a number of vineyards in the area that you can visit if you want to see what it is all about. NOW is an amazing time to see fall colors and enjoy some #PureMichigan! For all the flying we do – driving can be amazing this time of year at a slower pace that 500 MPH! – Rene

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

6 Comments

  1. My nephew was married at the round barn winery 10 years ago. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in that area. Living in NW Ohio. Any thing within a 150 mile radius makes a nice day trip. Up to 350 mile radius is a nice weekend.

    Some of my favorite memories is the day trip and weekend’s I have done over the years.

    If you haven’t drove up to Sault Sainte Marie Ontario to take the Agawa Canyon train trip. This is best for a long weekend. I’ve done it in the summer and the snow train in the winter.

  2. I think an awesome idea for a blog giveaway…one lucky winner gets a 2015 #keepascending private Rene stock bottle…one gets a #keepdescending bottle of sadness!

    • @Paul – LOL I think that would be against the law of most states but happy to share a glass maybe at a RenesPoints DO some day.

  3. Marilyn Bamford Reply

    Love that you featured this wonderful area in my birth state – near where I attended K College in Kalamazoo a zillion years ago….Think you should also visit Marquette in the UP, on the southern coast of Lac Superior …
    the beaches there off M-28 are exquisite!

    • @Marilyn – Oh my I agree. And the sunsets over the lake are to DIE for. Txs for sharing yours 🙂

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