Earlier this month, Rove Estate had the distinct pleasure of participating in the inaugural Judgement of Michigan wine competition that brought together Michigan winemakers, including Traverse City wineries. Each location proudly showcased their incredible home-grown wines to an extensive panel of industry experts from all over the country. It was truly one of the most diverse and impressive panels of educators and influencers. The Michigan Wine Collaborative and Lake Michigan College planned and hosted the event to bring the wines of Michigan together as a united front to promote and bring awareness to our state’s burgeoning wine industry.
Bringing Michigan Wine to a National Stage
The competition’s main purpose is to help wineries like Rove Estate expand their reach. “It’s more of an inclusive tasting evaluation with buyers and influencers from Michigan, Chicagoland, and the greater United States,” said Gina Shay, who is vice president of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that promotes the state’s flourishing wine industry and one of the partners in the new judging event. “We hesitate to say it’s ‘the new competition,’ because instead of the point being to pit Michigan wineries against each other, it’s more of an introduction or re-introduction of Michigan wines to relevant judges in the wine community who can help Michigan wine reach more consumers.”
Michigan Hosted a Diverse Group of Judges
The judges came from near and far with diversity in professions as well as palates. Among them were wine journalists, buyers, retailers, influencers, and educators. The 22 judges sat in groups and assessed the wines blindly (meaning they didn’t know what winery produced what wine, eliminating any bias). The group rated the wines on a quality tiered system of double gold, gold, silver, and bronze. Traverse City wineries stunned with winners across the board, validating our world-class wine region.
Rove Estate’s Mission
Although we love a friendly competition with our colleagues and peers, the sole objective is to band together and shout from the rooftops to show the world the incredibly unique and delicious wines of Michigan. The collective impact of this event has already turned heads among wine professionals throughout the country, and even the world. We may be a young region, but we are confident in the wines we can produce and varietals we can grow. As we say in the business, we will only get better with time. Each year, as an industry, we continue to push the envelope and raise our standards in both winemaking and farming practices. There is so much enthusiasm and passion behind our mission!
Rove Estate submitted three wines to this competition and proudly brought home two medals! Of course, it is always fun to be recognized for our quality wines—but the biggest reason we wanted to participate in the Judgement of Michigan was to show both our support and enthusiasm for elevating Michigan and local Traverse City wineries. A rising tide lifts all boats. And we couldn’t be prouder to be included in this fleet!