Friday, 30 April 2021 12:50

Vine Vibes

Written by  Josh Veal
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Robinette's Apple Haus and Winery. Robinette's Apple Haus and Winery. Courtesy Photo

There are dozens of wineries to visit in Michigan — so many that it can be hard to know where to start

If you’ve avoided the wine trails for this very reason, we’re here to help. Admittedly, it’s hard to go wrong with a wine flight and a patio, but certain spots will fit your sensibilities better than others

When picking a destination with friends, we always ask each other, “What are you in the mood for?” Wineries can be gargantuan or cozy, elegant or playful, adventurous or classic. 

If you’re looking for a day of grapes and adventure, we suggest heading to a place on this list and then asking your server where to head next. Nobody knows good wine better than a winery.

 

I’m Feeling… Adventurous

Vineyard 2121  /  4110 Red Arrow Hwy, Benton Harbor  /  vineyard2121.com

Wine slushees, cider, beer, a full food menu and more than 20 wines available — Vineyard 2121 has it all!

If you’re looking for somewhere to try a lot of new things at once, this is the place. The slushees are a fan-favorite, perfect for summer and made with wine and real fruit. But the wine menu is equally impressive — start with a crisp white like the Polite Disillusionment and work your way to the Fruit Belt Raspberry, a red wine infused with raspberry flavors.

Feeling extra adventurous? Swing by on a Friday in summer for wood-fired pizza and try something wild like the Porky Pear, a ‘za with ranch sauce, pulled pork, onion, pear and feta.

 

I’m Feeling… Royal

Chateau Chantal  /  15900 Rue Devin, Traverse City  /  chateauchantal.com

Visiting Chateau Chantal makes you feel more important, just by being there. It’s a huge, gorgeous estate perched on a tall hill with spectacular views of the Grand Traverse Bay. The tasting room inside is robust, but the patio is hard to resist. 

Chantal’s wine selection is fittingly huge, perfect for flights. You can keep it simple with a Naughty Red or Nice Red, depending on your mood, or get fancy with a Proprietor’s Reserve wine, featuring the best of the best.

Regardless of what you’re drinking, you’ll feel on top of the world here.

 

I’m Feeling… Cozy

Cody Kresta Vineyard & Winery  /  45727 27th St., Mattawan /  codykrestawinery.com

When you want an intimate environment at a small winery in a vintage homestead, you head to Cody Kresta. This is a family operation, run by a third generation of grape growers in Mattawan.

The Tuscan-inspired tasting room is cozy and memorable on its own, but then you step outside and are greeted by a small waterfall babbling away. If you feel less like a party and more like a date night, this is the place to be. 

Everything at Cody Kresta comes together to create a special, beautiful ambiance perfect for tasting wine with a loved one. 

 

I’m Feeling… Fruity

12 Corners Vineyards  /  1201 N. Benton Center Road, Benton Harbor  /  12cornersvineyards.com

To be clear, 12 Corners has a beautiful vineyard producing plenty of classic wines, if that’s your style. However, we're drawn to their friendly, flavor-packed fruit wines.

For instance, the Tropical Blanc is a “fun and flirty” grape wine that explodes with tropical fruit flavors like mango and passionfruit. Want something a little more tart? How about the Cranberry Wine or the Triple Berry? Or maybe you’re feeling sweet and sunny, like the Peach Wine. 

If you want something extra special, try the Vidal Icewine, made from frozen grapes. It’s a rare treat — bursting with fruity flavor despite no added fruit — that they can’t make somewhere like California. Maybe Coppola should’ve built his winery here instead!

 

I’m Feeling… Playful

Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery  /  3142 4 Mile Rd. NE, Grand Rapids  /  robinettes.com

When you want wine with the family in tow, Robinette’s has you covered.

This orchard can fill up your whole day. Start with a wagon ride, then grab doughnuts and cider for the corn maze, followed by a trip to the cellar for wine and hard while the kids are playing outside on the jumping pillow (with supervision, hopefully). Plus, you get to keep the tasting glass!

The wine is playful too, charting new frontiers with flavors like Strawberries & Cream or Chocolate Mint. If that’s not fun, I don’t know what is.

 

I’m Feeling… Relaxed

Cogdal Vineyards  /  7143 107th Ave., South Haven  /  cogdalvineyards.com

When we’ve spent a day in Fennville, we always like to cap it off with Cogdal Vineyards, home of Little Man Winery.

While not at all far from the lakeshore, Cogdal’s tasting room feels secluded and intimate, and that’s entirely on purpose. Visiting this little outpost in the middle of a vineyard is a bit like entering the Secret Garden — both exciting and soothing. 

This intentionality carries through to the winemaking and even labels, each of which has a story. Cogdal is really all about stories, and you feel like you’re in one when you’re here (especially after a day of wine tasting). 

 

I’m Feeling… Iconic

Leelanau Cellars  /  5019 NW Bay Shore Dr., Omena  /  lwc.wine

Leelanau Cellars is one of the most successful and impressive wineries in Michigan. It helps that they’ve been on the scene since 1974, but what people really love is the wine. Witches Brew, Winter White, Summer Sunset — Leelanau has created iconic brands and seasonal favorites that people know to reach for on the shelf. 

The tasting room is just as legendary, sitting RIGHT on a bay of gorgeous blue-green water. Giant windows let in the sun while you taste from a huge variety of wines and peruse the merch, which is actually stylish and cool, in my humble opinion. Some legacies are well-deserved.

Bonus: The restaurant next door, Knot Just A Bar, is a great spot to refuel before more adventures.

 

I’m Feeling… Bubbly

MAWBY  /  4519 Elm Valley Rd., Suttons Bay  /  mawby.wine

There’s lots of sparkling wine in Michigan, but MAWBY are the masters.

They take traditional techniques and mix them with a fun experimental style for high-quality bubbly wine that aims to please. Their best-selling offering is Sex, a fruit-forward rosé with light red berry aromas and a balanced finish. Or reach deep into the cellar with a vintage like Ca. 2013, a traditional method Brut made entirely with Leelanau grapes.

If you want to explore the vast world of sparkling wine, MAWBY is for you.

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