Debbie: Tell us a little about yourselves.
Lorri: Growing up on Leelanau Peninsula gave me the appreciation for Michigan and all it has to offer. (OK, so it wasn’t until I was adult that I really appreciated it, but I got to this point nonetheless!) After getting a business degree from Central Michigan University, I became a commercial real estate broker, a position I greatly enjoyed until I became a mom. I decided to chuck the corporate world to stay home with my babies and began to focus on writing and photography. Before kids, I had traveled to Europe several times and saw amazing landscapes and realized that Michigan has that, too. I also began to explore the wines and foods here and was amazed that Michigan was producing great wines and growing great agriculture. Today, I live in East Lansing with my husband and four kids and continue to write and take photographs, mostly inspired by our Great Lakes state. I also travel the state with Sharon giving presentations on Exploring Michigan Wineries, the History of Michigan Wines and Michigan Agricultural Experiences.
Sharon: I enjoyed an idyllic childhood in Charlevoix on Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Throughout my youth, my parents instilled in me a love of adventure and travel. After earning a communications degree from Central Michigan University, I moved to Colorado to start my public relations career and ski. After two years working in radio and television, I moved to California and worked in PR in the high-tech industry for five years. Travel experiences in the U.S., Latin American and overseas reinforced my love for travel – and a new appreciation for Michigan’s four seasons, fresh water lakes, rivers, rolling hills and beauty to which I returned in 1997. I love travel, local wines (Michigan wines and wines from whichever region I am visiting), real maple syrup, fresh blueberries and grilled whitefish, and am an aspiring gardener, outdoor enthusiast, writer and photographer. I live in charming Chelsea with my husband and two girls.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your books!
Lorri and Sharon: From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries is a full-color, hardcover book that takes you to wine country before you visit, introducing you to many of the winemakers and more than 50 agricultural destinations. It is divided into four wine trails and beyond, making it easy to plan your route to visiting a handful of tasting rooms at a time. Many readers take the book along to the tasting room and collect winemaker signatures on the various pages. It’s great for first-time tasters to wine enthusiasts, travelers and anyone passionate about Michigan. This was our first book, and we were so excited when it won the 2008 Michigan Notable Book award.
The History of Michigan Wines: 150 Years of Winemaking along the Great Lakes provides insight into Michigan’s rich wine history, which ignited in 1863 along Lake Erie with the state’s first commercial tasting room. Highlighted are the rollicking era of Prohibition and a raid on red wine in the Upper Peninsula that garnered national headlines, and the surprising wine industry boom of the 1930s in Detroit, following Michigan’s repeal of Prohibition. The book takes you through the decades to present day, showcasing both historic and modern photographs.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Sharon and Lorri: Yes, we are currently working on a book about Michigan agriculture called Delicious Michigan. We’re very passionate Michiganders and love supporting “all things Michigan.” We’re excited for its release in the spring so that we can share info about all the exciting things grown in our Great Lakes state.
Debbie: Sounds like a great book - can't wait to see that! How about any upcoming appearances?
Lorri and Sharon: Yes, we are presenting at:
Saturday, August 6, 2011
TawasUncork'd and Untap'd
12:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Celebrity wine pouring and book signing
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Presentation and book signing
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Presentation and book signing
Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26
The Palace of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Presentations and book signing
Debbie: Favorite Michigan library or bookstore?
Lorri: The East Lansing Public Library has wonderful children’s programs. And, a huge bonus for us is that my daughters’ former preschool teacher, Mrs. Thode, works there, making it an extra special visit.
Sharon: My favorite bookstore is Round Lake Bookstore in Charlevoix for its quaint, small town appeal, diverse fiction and nonfiction book selection and personable owner. I have two favorite libraries: the Charlevoix Public Library, which is in my old middle school that has been renovated and adapted to its new use. The library features a charming section for children and lovely outdoor garden. I also love the Chelsea District Library for its friendly staff and creative programs for children, teens and adults. Both libraries feature stunning outdoor artwork, connecting art and nature with literature.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Lorri: I love the Empire Bluffs. The views are just as amazing as anywhere in the world, and the lake breeze is so refreshing. Glen Lake is my favorite lake. I also love having dinner in Detroit’s Greektown.
Sharon: I can easily spend hours walking along the dunes and flora of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, particularly along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, along Lake Michigan in Charlevoix and at the Grand Sable Dunes in Grand Marais along Lake Superior. I also enjoy experiences in Detroit’s sports arenas and theaters, and Grand Rapids’ vibrant downtown.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Lorri: I rarely miss the Leland Wine Fest on the second Saturday in June. The fest itself is great, but I mostly enjoy sitting on the deck next to the waterfall at Ric’s Cafe and having dinner at The Bluebird. Art’s Bar in Glen Arbor at midnight on New Year’s Eve is another annual tradition.
Sharon: Growing up fifty miles south of the Mackinac Bridge, I enjoyed jaunts to Mackinac Island nearly every summer as a child. A tradition my family now enjoys is our annual trek to the island, which consists of riding around the 9-mile island on our bikes and rewarding ourselves with several slabs of fudge. It’s the one time of the year we wholeheartedly embrace our inner Fudgies. Favorite festivals include Charlevoix’s Venetian Festival for the lighted boat parade and fireworks extravaganza and Chelsea’s Sounds & Sights Festival – three nights of music and dancing under the big tent.
Lorri: Michigan doesn’t get enough credit for how beautiful it is with its gorgeous coastline of massive freshwater lakes surrounding two peninsulas. We are also the second most agriculturally diverse state, and wine is one of our top commodities. With a rising trend for agricultural experiences, Michigan is one of the best places to achieve that.
Sharon: Michigan offers abundant world-class culinary and agricultural destinations and diverse recreational options. It’s easy to unwind here thanks to the lake breezes, sandy beaches, bucolic scenery, award-winning wines and creative food artisans. Water and hills abound for kayaking, fishing, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.
Debbie: Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you "Michiganders or "Michiganians?
Lorri: Oh, no question at all on that one! I’m definitely a Michigander! I’m not really sure what a Michiganian is.
Sharon: Michiganian-who? I am a proud Michigander.
Debbie: I'll add you both to the Michigander column! Finally, a bonus question: I’m not knowledgeable about wines, but I do very much enjoy red wines that are dry and a bit murky. Any particular wine you’d recommend for me to give a try to?
Lorri: Hmm.... I’m not sure I should refer to anyone’s wine as “murky,” but certainly for some dry, deep wines, try any at Brys Estate. They make delicious reds. Many other wineries do as well. The best way to taste wines is at a wine tasting where you can try small sips to find something you love.
Sharon: In addition to Brys red wines, try Domaine Berrien Cellar’s Crown of Cabernet or Syrah.
Debbie: Thank you for the recommendations! (And I promise not to use the word "murky" anymore to describe a wine...) It's been a pleasure to have you both here for Michigander Monday - thank you!