Exploring Southwest Michigan Wine Country

Exploring Southwest Michigan Wine Country
Exploring Southwest Michigan Wine Country - Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Colleen Ryan

Many people think you have to go to Napa Valley in California or France’s many wine trails to find spectacular wine country. However, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail in Southwest Michigan offers ideal land for growing wine. The wind currents coming off of Lake Michigan moderate the climate in the region, creating an ideal environment for wine-making grapes.

There are dozens of wineries and tasting rooms to sample along the Trail. Some of them include:

12 Corners Vineyards and Winery  in Benton Harbor is a 115-acre estate planted with both Vinifera and hybrid grapes. They feature an on-site winery, and the Sarrett Nature Center is nearby.

Baroda Founders Wine Cellar in Baroda features wines for every palate — from classic varietals (Lake Michigan Shore Series) to fruit-flavor-enhanced (Baroda Antique Series) to delectable dessert wines. Enjoy “Wine Down Friday”: soft music, cheese & sausage plates, wine by the glass from 5 to 8.

Karma Vista Vineyards and Winery in Coloma features acres of grapes nestled in rolling hills in some of the most spectacular vineyards in the state. The tasting house overlooks the property offering gorgeous views as well as an array of wines and cheeses.

Exploring Southwest Michigan Wine Country - Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Karma Vista Vineyards

Domaine Berrien Cellars in Berrien Springs was established in 2001 and the winery sits on 80 acres. All wines are made on-site, and self-guided tours of the winemaking are available all day. Enjoy homemade cheeses and sausages on the deck overlooking the vineyards.

Hickory Creek Winery in Buchanan has over 15 varieties of European-style wines, many of them are served in fine dining restaurants in the area. Come sample a selection in the homely red barn tasting room, and feel free to make it a whole family affair.

Exploring Southwest Michigan Wine Country - Awesome Mitten
Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail also hosts a festival every year that celebrates the region’s awesomeness. This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at picturesque Weko Beach in Bridgeman. “The atmosphere is light-hearted, fun in the sun/beach coupled with awesome live music all day plus dancing, wine tasting and education – folks get to interface directly with the winemakers and winery owners all day.  It’s family-friendly because the beach is right there so guests can hang at the beach and then come in to the fest at any time during the day.  Wine tasting is for 21 and older, of course,” said Colleen Ryan, Marketing Specialist for the festival. In its 9th year, the event draws more than 4,000 guests and features live music under a “Big-Top Tent” from 1pm-10pm. The lineup includes:

•Top Secret Band (1:00pm).
•Slim Gypsy Baggage (2:45pm)
•Duke Tomatoe (4:15pm)
•Lady Sunshine & the X Band (6:15pm)
•PS Dump Your Boyfriend (8:15pm)

Admission to the festival $15, 12 and under are FREE and tasting tickets are $1 per ticket. Like their Facebook page for more information.

If you love wine and the West Michigan coast, why not check out the wine trail and all its fun events and attractions?

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My name is Anthony Homolka, age 22 and a Writing major at Grand Valley State. I grew up on five acres in Ada, just outside of Grand Rapids. I am writing for the Awesome Mitten for an internship through Grand Valley. In my spare time I enjoy playing tennis and enjoying the great outdoors in Michigan. My favorite spots in Michigan would be around Lake Michigan, either in Grand Haven or the sand dunes around Saugatuck.