Wednesday, 26 August 2020 14:21

Wine Outside

Written by  Josh Veal
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Tabor Hills. Tabor Hills. Courtesy Photo

Wineries across Michigan offer spectacular sights, allowing you to sit amongst the grapes you’re drinking. 

There’s nothing better in fall than sitting down outside with a glass of Michigan vino. Red wine can warm you up on a cool day and chilled white wine will refresh you on a hot one. It’s a versatile beverage, made even better en plein air. 

While you can drive up north for excellent scenes on the Leelanau Peninsula, West Michigan has plenty of vineyards with a view. Here are a few of our favorites — and we’ll be honest: many them are far southwest, because it’s a great place for grapes!

 

FENN VALLEY VINEYARDS
6130 122nd Ave., Fennville
fennvalley.com

Fenn Valley is one of the most beloved wineries in West Michigan, thanks to consistently solid wine and an impressive vineyard. The location was carefully chosen for its climate and soil, and it happens to be beautiful too. Reserve a tasting ahead of time to get a socially distanced tabled overlooking the vineyards, all to yourself. It’s only $10 for a standard tasting of seven wines. Or take it to another level with a Vineyard Picnic — a highly scenic experience among the grapes, with private picnic tables, wine, charcuterie and a speaker all included in the price. It’s a little party for you and your loved ones, far away from anyone else.

 

MODALES
2128 62nd St., Fennville
modaleswines.com

Not too far from Fenn Valley, Modales is a cute little winery with a large, lovely outdoor space. A 2,800-square-foot patio overlooks a 76-acre farm, perfect for sipping vino anytime. Go for the classic Modales line of estate-grown wines, created onsite from conception, or try the Ooba line: wines and ciders born out of fun experimentation. 

ST. JULIAN
4425 14 Mile Road NE, Rockford
716 S. Kalamazoo St., Kalamazoo
stjulian.com

St. Julian has seen enough success to open six locations across the state. The wine is surely part of that, with a wide variety ranging from playful dessert wines to the excellent handcrafted Braganini Reserve line. The BR Gruner Veltliner is a perfectly light and refreshing white — citrusy, crisp and slightly dry. For a full-bodied red blend that’s just the right amount of dry, with potent raspberry and cherry flavors, try the BR Meritage.

The main winery in Paw Paw has a patio and the Rockford location’s outdoor space is sizable, set up against the woods. Head here for whatever grapes fit your taste. 

 

ROUND BARN & TABOR HILLS
1983 Hills Road, Baroda
185 Mount Tabor Road, Buchanan
moerschhg.com

We include Round Barn and Tabor Hill together not only because they’re owned by the same people — they’re also connected by the majestic Mt. Tabor Trails, 3.6 miles of woodland paths between the two wineries. You don’t have to walk all that distance, of course, but you can! If you’re in a hurry, it’s less than a mile from one to the other and you can drink along the way.

When you’re looking to sit, kick back, and relax with a glass, both wineries offer amazing patios, shaded tables, and huge green lawns. The wines are absolutely bountiful at both vineyards. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: Round Barn makes spirits and beer as well. Drinks all around!

 

COGDAL VINEYARDS
7143 107th Ave., South Haven
cogdalvineyards.com

Near the shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll find Cogdal Vineyards, home of Little Man Winery. A large patio looks over green grass and the vineyard, with plenty of distanced seating. It’s a beautiful break from the real world, with all kinds of wine, ranging from a dry cabernet franc to a special maple wine.

 

CONTESSA WINE CELLARS
3235 Friday Road, Coloma
contessawinecellars.com

If you’re at Cogdal, keep heading a bit south for Contessa. This modern/traditional winery is known for its scenic views, with a beautiful elevated outdoor deck overlooking the vineyard. The tasting fee is a mere $5, for a selection of excellent wines while taking in the surrounding verdant valley. 

 

LEMON CREEK WINERY
533 E. Lemon Creek Road, Berrien Springs
327 North Beacon Blvd., Grand Haven
lemoncreekwinery.com

Down in Southwest Michigan, Lemon Creek sits on more than 300 rolling acres of vineyards and orchards. Visiting means tasting all kinds of wine while out amongst the grapes, surrounded by tons of other great wineries. Plus, you get a keepsake glass with your tasting here! If you’re less concerned about scenery and simply want the wine, check out the Grand Haven tasting room when you have a chance.

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