Next time you’re thinking about enjoying a glass of wine, Michigan’s wine industry has a suggestion for you: “Taste Michigan.”
That’s the brand name behind a new marketing platform launched by the Michigan Wine Collaborative, an association of wineries and wine professionals from around the state. Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the Taste Michigan campaign was created to help increase awareness, interest and consumption of Michigan wines.
“When it comes to making wine, Michigan has the geography, soil, climate and people to put something truly excellent in your glass,” said Brian Lillie, Vice President of the Michigan Wine Collaborative and Director of Hospitality and Distribution at Chateau Chantal Winery. “But a lot of wine drinkers simply don’t know that. Taste Michigan is an invitation to find out what’s inside the bottle … and the glass. We’re inviting people to explore the diversity and quality of Michigan wines.”
This fall’s introduction of the Taste Michigan branding is a “soft launch” ahead of a strong marketing push to support next May’s Michigan Wine Month, which will include a significant investment in advertising.
For now, Taste Michigan is being supported with a new website, TasteMichigan.org, and social media presence. Other promotional tactics will roll out over the next few months, with a campaign preview for industry professionals this winter. Michigan has over 150 wineries currently in operation – up from about 40 in 2000 – with over 3,300 acres of wine grapes being cultivated.
The Taste Michigan branding and Michigan Wine Month campaign were created by Factory Detroit Inc., a Royal Oak-based advertising agency. Factory was founded in 2013 by Mark Lantz, who was one of the creators of the Pure Michigan brand in 2006.
“We love Michigan and we love wine,” Lantz said. “So this was kind of a dream project. There’s a big story waiting to be told about Michigan wine. And the heart of that story is this: Don’t drink Michigan wines just because they’re from Michigan; drink Michigan wines because Michigan is making phenomenal wines, some of which you may not have heard of before. Taste Michigan is a tool for helping Michigan’s wine industry and wine drinkers come together.”
Added Lillie, “Michigan’s wine industry is where agriculture and tourism overlap. If you buy Michigan wine at your local retailer, restaurant or tasting room, you’re helping our agriculture economy. And when you visit Michigan wineries, you’re helping our tourism economy. And you’re also getting excellent Michigan wine. So everybody wins.”