I’m a natural born wanderer. I want to travel as far as the eye can see and completely immerse myself in as many cultures that I can get my hands on. Aspirational trips include Italy, Greece, Morocco, France, Spain. The mere thought of exploring lands across the pond makes my heart explode. It’s like a dream or a fantasy.
Realistically though, I do have a full-time job, responsibilities at home and my bank account would weep numerous tears, so I improvise. In order to feed my traveling soul, I often have to remind myself that there are countless destinations right here in the U.S., heck even in the Midwest that are both beautiful and enriching. That’s why when my mom wanted to travel up to Michigan for the day to go on a winery trip, I was the first to volunteer as tribute.
Going up to Michigan is always a treat. I honestly think their wineries are impeccable. You can drive through fields and fields of grapevines and going this time of the year allows you to experience early Fall foliage. I would say that I make a trip up to explore Michigan wineries about 5 times a year. It’s one of the easiest ways to escape daily life and not have to travel that far away. Since we go so often, I have developed quite the laundry list of some of my favorite wineries to stop at on our excursions. Here are my top 5 favorite wineries in Michigan if you are thinking of taking a weekend trip anytime soon!
1. Tabor Hill: An elegant, yet relaxed venue with expansive vineyard views, delectable wine tasting and dining options and beaming with natural light. I love doing a tasting at the bar, sitting outside with a charcuterie spread and then wandering the grounds lined with grape plants. I recommend tasting the Classic Demi-Sec (their best-selling wine) and the Pinot Blanc. You will love it here, it’s a little taste of heaven.
2. St. Julian: This is the oldest winery in Michigan, and you can definitely tell given their outstanding hospitality while you enjoy a tasting of six award-winning wines. The staff currently servicing customers are 3rd and 4th generation wine makers and let me tell you they’ve perfected the art over time. The tasting room is nothing special, although, they do have a cute little seating area outside if you visit during the warmer months. Enjoy the Gruner Veltliner and the Chancellor wines while perusing the store tasting nibbles of homemade jams, sauces and salsas along the way.
3. White Pine: White Pine winery is situated in one of my favorite towns in the U.S. St. Joe, Michigan is one of the cutest, quaintest, seaside town I’ve ever been to. Streets are lined with cafes, boutiques, home décor shops and obviously choice wineries. It almost looks like one of those East Coast towns from a Halloween movie where everyone knows everyone, where it’s charming but a little spooky. White Pine is one of the better wineries I’ve been to in St. Joe. It’s small on the inside, but the flavors pack a punch. My personal favorite, not available on the tasting menu but you can sample if you make friends with the ladies behind the counter, is a warm, malt wine It literally reminded me of Christmas in a glass. We bought the malt wine kit and I CANNOT wait to whip it up on the first snowfall this year!!
4. Round Barn: If I’m being completely, 100% honest, this place is not one of my favorites in terms of their wine BUT it is hands down the best place to go for the entire experience. Go with a group and make a reservation to do a private tasting upstairs in the actual round barn. It is absolutely beautiful. You get 7 tastings in total, 5 wines, 1 vodka (which they make from grapes) and then a creamy dessert-style wine. I think the best time to go to Round Barn is in the Summer because their property is so enormous that they constantly have things going on like pop-up boutiques, festivals and live music. There are tons of places to sit outside if after your tasting you want to buy a bottle and enjoy some food truck magic. I could easily spend a whole day here. My favorite wine on their whole tasting list is their Sauvignon Blanc.
5. Shady Creek: Shady Creek Winery is actually located in Michigan City, IN but is a great pit stop location on your way up to Michigan since it’s so close to a lot of the wineries listed above. The building is cute on the inside and if you have a big enough group, you can reserve a private room right off the main tasting room. You have the opportunity to sample six different wines while visiting and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. I love the wild, eclectic names the wines have, some of my favorites include T-Wave and Beach Glass. The food here is also another staple as I recommend having the flatbread pizza and getting the meat and cheeses plate.
Finding places to travel to right outside of your hometown is kind of like fining a hidden treasure. It really isn’t all about flying thousands of miles just to get away but finding an oasis close to home allows you to escape more often for less. With the crazy busy, work-driven lives we lead, we need something we enjoy to take our minds off of things just for a bit. For me, that’s enjoying nice wines in a beautiful state. I’d love to know if you have found any other great wineries in Michigan or what your hidden gem travel spots are near where you live! If you travel to any of the above place, I’d also love to know what you think!