A Guide to Wine Tasting in Michigan

I spent a lot of summers in Michigan growing up, visiting my dear Auntie, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I discovered how truly delightful the wine scene is in Michigan.

Thanks to a cooler climate year-round, the grapes are grown here are often tart and more acidic. Because cooler climates have inconsistent temperatures and growing seasons, it’s hard to be successful in this venture.

However, when the vintner gets it right, you won’t want to pass up the chance to explore wine tasting in Michigan.

The unfortunate reality is that many wineries in this area aren’t successful, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find the best of the best still making it work. And trust me, if anyone has two thumbs and can find a good winery, it’s this girl.

With every sip, you can practically taste the weather on the day these grapes ripened. It’s pure Michigan in every glass.

Wine Tasting in Michigan

  1. Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyards
  2. Lehman’s Farmhouse
  3. Yooper Winery
  4. Gravity
  5. Shady Lane Cellars
  6. Henderson Castle Winery
  7. Whole Hearted Winery
  8. M22 Glen Arbor

1. Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyards

brengman brothers crain hill vineyards

The truly remarkable thing about this vineyard is the location. Its scenery is beyond compare. If the terms rustic, charming, and elegant appeal to you, this should be your first stop.

But there’s more to it than aesthetics. The wine is of excellent quality and the staff is very knowledgeable.

As they say, location, location, location. The owners of Brengman Brothers assert that they’re located in one of the earth’s erogenous zones where the perfect combination of soil and sunlight creates an explosive effect and encourage their grapes to grow better than they do anywhere else.

Location matters so much that most European wines don’t even list the type of grape on the label. They simply list where it was grown. This practice is loosely observed here, because of the excellence of the terroir.

This family of vineyards produces wines from three separate locations including Crain Hill, Timberlee, and Cedar Lake. This nutrient-rich soil crushes out dozens of  familiar varietals, including:

They also have several unique options like:

  • Semillon
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Muscat Ottonel
  • Rotgipfler

If you’re looking for a well-rounded experience with a lot of variety, this is the place for you.

2. Lehman’s Farmhouse

lehmans farmhouse

This place has a more relaxed vibe, perfect for enjoying a quiet afternoon with family or friends. It’s a working farm, so you can take a tour and see how everything is done. The wine is delicious and reasonably priced.

The founder, Ed Lehman, was born and raised on the farm that his family has owned for six generations. In fact, many of the buildings on the property are original to the farmstead.

The farmhouse store was opened in 2017 and featured wine, spirits, beers, and ciders, made from fruits grown in their own orchards.

Today, you can pick your own fruits that they will then use to make their next vintage. It’s a great family adventure that teaches kids about farming and sustainability.

The taproom features more than just beverages. Stop in for lunch and enjoy appetizers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. All of their food is made from scratch with ingredients sourced from local farms.

3. Yooper Winery

yooper winery
Image: yooperwinery

Yooper Winery is the first and only winery in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They focus on small-batch, handcrafted wines made with Michigan-grown grapes.

Their mission is to create high-quality, affordable wines that reflect the uniqueness of the UP and its people. The owners are passionate about their wine and their community.

These cold-climate grapes and other Northern Michigan fruits turn out crisp citrus flavors that present very well in white wines like Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and a bubbly demi-sec.

However, they also have excellent reds like the Smashing Red, Merlot, and Cheesehead Red (an homage to the residents just south of the border).

All production facilities are on location and you can tour them or simply enjoy your wine by the water.

4. Gravity

gravity
Image: gravitywine

With two different tasting room locations, you can pick the one that’s most convenient for you. No matter whether you go to Baroda or South Haven, you’ll get a great experience.

Baroda welcomes you with meticulous vineyards and a modern, but classic feel. Located in the heart of wine country, this is the perfect place to start your exploration of Michigan wines.

Their knowledgeable staff will guide you through a tasting of their award-winning wines. You can also sample their ciders, meads, and spirits. Plus, an expert wine consultant knows exactly when to cater to you and when to hang back and give you some personal time.

Gravity’s South Haven location is in the heart of downtown, so while it has the same wines as the Baroda location, it’s a bustling, contemporary hotspot.

This is the perfect place to people-watch and enjoy a glass of wine and a snack after a long day exploring all that South Haven has to offer.

5. Shady Lane Cellars

shady lane cellars
Image: shadylanecellars

Shady Lane Cellars is a destination. There are wines, a winery, a vineyard, and fantastic people. This estate winery is on a historic, 100-year-old fruit farm, and sits atop a picturesque hill.

The vineyards were planted in 1989 and in 1999, the fieldstone chicken coop was transformed into a tasting room.

If you don’t want to experience your tasting in the elegant chicken coop, there’s a cultivated outdoor landscape with plush furniture, a pavilion, and a fireplace.

What started as eleven acres of vineyard has grown to 150 and the people of Shady Lane love to show off their knowledge in an entertaining blog covering all things wine.

While the cellars offer private parties, you can also check out an extensive schedule of public events such as wine and cheese tasting, music on the patio, a wine club brunch, a harvest BBQ party, and more.

6. Henderson Castle Winery

henderson castle winery
Image: hendersoncastle

Who wouldn’t want to do a wine tasting in a castle? If you don’t, stop reading now, and we can longer be friends.

This historic castle, built in 1895, has been completely renovated and is now a working winery. The setting is beautiful and the wines are delicious.

The castle offers many different types of tours, including a Behind the Scenes Tour, a Ghost Tour (if you’re feeling brave), and of course, a Wine Tasting Tour.

The Wine Tasting Tour includes a guided tour of the castle, followed by a wine tasting in the Cellar. You’ll get to try six different wines, plus a souvenir glass.

If you’re looking for a unique and romantic setting for your next wine tasting, Henderson Castle is the place for you, but it’s also a great place to stay the night. There are a dozen distinct bedrooms from which you can choose. Each will make you feel like royalty.

As if that’s not enough, you can attend a high tea service, eat in the savory chophouse, and wake up to a full breakfast.

7. Whole Hearted Winery

whole hearted winery
Image: winethatgives

I can’t get enough of this name. I don’t know about you, but I put my whole heart winery into choosing the perfect wines, so I think these people get me.

In fact, their catchphrase is “life is too short for bad wine.” I couldn’t agree more.

Along with the wines they source locally, they have a decent selection of Italian and Chilean wines. Their unique selection has something for everyone.

Once you find your favorite, you can order a case and even customize the labels for free. These make great gifts or party favors.

UnWINEd with events like Yoga & A Glass, karaoke night, and live music. And when it’s all over, be sure to load up on swag from the clothing shop.

8. M22 Glen Arbor

m22 glen arbor

There’s something about the word arbor that just screams Michigan to me. The authentic M22 experience is for the adventurous at heart.

M22 Glen Arbor’s laid-back approach to wine tasting leaves room for other activities like kayaking, canoeing, lounging on the beach, biking, hiking, and shopping.

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail loops around the Leelanau and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Along the way, you’ll find 24 different wineries, each with its own charm.

Glen Arbor is home to two of those wineries, Black Star Farms and 45 North Vineyard & Winery.

Black Star Farms has a cozy tasting room with a fireplace, perfect for chilly winter days. They also have an extensive events calendar, offering everything from live music to cooking classes.

45 North Vineyard & Winery is nestled in the woods and offers stunning views of Lake Michigan. Their philosophy is simple: good wine starts in the vineyard. They use sustainable practices and let the grapes do the talking.

Both wineries offer free tastings, so you can try before you buy.

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