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Monday, 10 July 2023 10:54

Destination Wineries: Vineyards Worth the Road Trip

Written by  Allison Kay Bannister
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Chateau Grand Traverse. Chateau Grand Traverse. Courtesy Photo

Did you know…? Michigan ranks number seven of the top 10 wine producing states in the U.S. That’s impressive! There are more than 140 wineries, and the five American Viticultural Areas in The Mitten all have something in common: proximity to Lake Michigan. That lake effect that we might gripe about during the winter months is also responsible for creating a suitable microclimate for grape growing, in combination with sandy soil with good drainage. 

From Buchanan to Fennville, up the coast to Traverse City, Leelenau, and beyond, there are wineries and tasting rooms galore; some just small, roadside setups and others with sweeping acreage, national notoriety, and added attractions that make them more than just a stop, but a destination.

Here, we’re spotlighting a few favorites worth a trip.

Tabor Hill

Award-winning wines, fresh and locally sourced meals served at their on-site restaurant, and live music on Sundays make this Southwest Michigan winery a must on your wine tasting expedition. Take in stunning sunset views or explore the nearby Mt. Tabor Trails as part of your visit—or both! Note they’re open Thursdays through Sundays, so plan accordingly! 

185 Mt. Tabor Rd., Buchanan, MI 49107  |  taborhill.com

Round Barn Winery & Estate 

Sister winery of Tabor Hill, Round Barn is not only a winery, but also a distillery and brewery, making it appealing to a variety of tastes. Its centerpiece is the turn-of-the-century Amish round barn, which creates a unique setting for tastings, live music, and special events. They have a light food menu and are open daily during the summer months. Make it an overnight stay at nearby Among the Vineyards Bed and Breakfast. 

10983 Hills Rd., Baroda, MI 49101  |  roundbarn.com  |  amongthevineyardsbandb.com

Lemon Creek Winery

This historic family winery dates back more than 160 years, and features wines that are 100% estate grown and bottled. They’ve earned hundreds of national and international awards since establishing the winery in 1984, and they boast 170 acres of wine grapes on the property, as well as about 60 acres of a variety of fruits, which are available pre-picked or U-pick, in season. 

533 East Lemon Creek Rd., Berrien Springs, MI 49103  |  lemoncreekwinery.com

Fenn Valley Vineyards

Celebrating its 50th year in 2023, this longstanding vintner offers world-class wines made from grapes grown on a 240-acre farm the family hand-selected for its Lake Michigan-influenced soil and climate. They host a variety of events year round and also offer tours. Kingsley House Bed & Breakfast is about a five minute drive, for those who want to make it a getaway. 

6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408  |  fennvalley.com  |  kingsleyhouse.com

St. Julian 

Of course, this largest, most-awarded, longest-operating winery in Michigan has to make the cut. Their main location is in Paw Paw, and it’s also their production facility, so be sure to add a tour to your tasting, available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at select times. They also have five other tasting locations scattered throughout the state. 

716 S. Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw, MI  |  stjulian.com

Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn

This picturesque hilltop estate not only has breathtaking views of the Grand Traverse Bays, it’s also home to a vineyard, winery, and bed & breakfast—and it was recently named Best Wine Country Hotel by USA Today! Come for the wine tasting; stay for the hospitality, plus enjoy seasonal events, tours, cooking classes, wine dinners, and more.   

15900 Rue de Vin, Traverse City, MI  49686  |  chateauchantal.com

Chateau Grand Traverse

Another Old Mission Peninsula fixture that also features on-site lodging is Chateau Grand Traverse. Catering exclusively to adult clientele, the Inn sits amid a wooded backdrop and offers panoramic Bay views. Naturally, they have wine tasting and they also give tours, which currently run Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day. 

12239 Center Rd., Traverse City, MI 49686  |  cgtwines.com

2 Lad’s Winery

Linger a little longer on the Peninsula with a visit to this modern and stately facility and tasting room. Walk in and get a flight or a glass, plus enjoy charcuterie and other snacks—and a spectacular vista. Add an in-depth, guided tasting experience, available for up to six and by reservation only. 

16985 Smokey Hollow Rd., Traverse City, MI 49686  |  2lwinery.com

Black Star Farms 

No visit up north is complete without a leisurely drive on scenic M-22. We’d argue the same about a stop and stay at Black Star Farms. This expansive vineyard estate in Sutton’s Bay serves up internationally award-winning wines and welcomes guests to its equestrian-inspired Inn and seasonal Hearth & Vine Café. In 2020, it topped USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Country Hotel. 

10844 E. Revold Rd., Suttons Bay, MI  |  blackstarfarms.com

MAWBY Vineyards

For those who loves their bubbles, this Suttons Bay darling is an obvious choice. In 2023, they’re celebrating 50 years, providing a great reason to reserve a seat and raise a glass—or do a full tasting—of their small-batch sparkling wines. And, don’t forget to take home a bottle of their 50th Anniversary Cuveé! 

4519 Elm Valley Rd., Suttons Bay, Michigan 49682  |  mawby.wine

Gabriel Farms and Winery 

The Up North wine experience expands beyond the Grand Traverse Region to Petoskey, where you’ll find this charming winery, vineyard, and brewery. All their wines, beers, and ciders are made on site. Visitors can stay overnight in the private apartment or in one their four farmhouse rooms, and, when in season, roam the property and pick raspberries, haskaps and apples.

2800 East Mitchell, Petoskey, MI 49770  |  gabrielfarmsandwinery.com

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