One of three official Michigan wine appellations, the Lake Michigan Shore is home to 21 vineyards and wineries nestled among scenic farms and orchards. Offering beautiful views, unique experiences and an impressive variety of wines, tasting on the trail is one of our favorite afternoon adventures.
The majority of Lake Michigan Shore wines are estate grown, produced and bottled in small batches. Sharing a similar latitude and climate with great European wine growing regions, the best Lake Michigan Shore wines tend to have an old world profile, making them exceedingly drinkable and easily paired with food. Sweeter fruit and late harvest wines are also in generous supply as a result of the region’s fruit belt heritage and extended growing season. As wine production grows – nearly doubling in the last ten years – so does range and sophistication. Each year brings tasty new vintages for every palate.
From casual self-guided exploration to curated, expert-led discovery, wine tasting is just the beginning of your experience on the trail. Enjoy lunch overlooking the vineyard at Tabor Hill’s restaurant, or pack a picnic and apple pick on Lemon Creek’s historic family farm. Take in a feature film by the fire at Dablon, or get your hands dirty in the field at Round Barn’s winemaking camp. Whether your speed is low key or high octane, patio gazing or festival dancing, memorable experiences abound.
Navigating the wine trail is easy as most of the wineries are located in clusters throughout the region. Of 21 wineries, nine are conveniently grouped in the southernmost portion, about twenty minutes from the New Buffalo lakeshore. Scenic in every season, the drive between wineries here is lovely.
But if your plan is to taste freely and take in the view from the passenger seat, private or group tours are a great choice. Limousines, luxury coaches and even a tractor-pulled open-air wagon allow you to relax and enjoy the trail’s most popular stops with minimal decision-making. Many include lunch stops or picnics on vineyard grounds.
Consistent with the lakeshore, wine tasting here is casual, friendly and fun, with plenty of opportunities to chat up fellow tasters, guides and the winemakers themselves. Some of the best vintages are only available here, where they are made, so we encourage you to engage and explore. Connecting land to craft to pleasure is every winemaker’s mission. Your enjoyment is their reward.