Lake Michigan College teaching winery closes in on liquor license

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP – A commercial teaching winery scheduled to begin at Lake Michigan College this fall is close to getting its state liquor license.

The Great Lakes Wine Institute, the Midwest’s first commercial teaching winery, received approval from the Benton Township Board of Trustees to apply for a liquor license. The small winemaker’s license would be used at the college, but held in the name of Lake Michigan Vintners LLC.

The main question trustees had was how the wine would be sold.

“The focus of the winery operation is a teaching winery,” said Patrick Sturdy, an attorney for the college. “There will be some selling, but that will be limited to the Mendel Center, where the college already has a Class C liquor license. The college has experience with liquor operations. It will be employing those same types of rules.”

While the license would be held in the limited liability company’s name, they have an agreement that the college will operate the facilities.

Beginning this fall, students can begin earning an Associates of Applied Science in Enology and Viticulture, which is the science of wine making and the production and study of grapes.

Lake Michigan College has already invested in the program by building a small, teaching winery in the Mendel Center for Arts and Technology.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on June 4, 2015)


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