Michigan is well known for its gourmet wines. These are the top 10 destinations that are awaiting your toasts in 2021.
MICHIGAN—The summer of 2021 is shaping up to be one of the most adventurous and exciting in recent memory, and wineries are at the top of the list for Michiganders eager to toast away more than a year’s worth of pandemic-induced stress.
There’s no better way to relax and take the edge off than with a glass of wine in a beautiful setting, and the Great Lakes State offers nearly 200 wine makers ready and willing to host your next Pure Michigan get together (or getaway).
We’ve made a list of 10 unforgettable destinations for a much-needed tour of vino and good vibes, and what we love about them most.
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1. Detroit Vineyards
Explore the wine making scene in your backyard with a visit to this local gem, the brainchild of Detroit natives Chris Southern and Antoniues Gregory.
Their goal is simple, and well-executed: to continue the history-rich winemaking tradition of the region by sourcing the best grapes from vineyards across the state and serving them up with Detroit flavor.
Partnerships with local food artisans like PizzaPlex add to the emerging urban landmark’s local and collaborative feel.
Wines are produced locally in the historic Stroh’s building nearby.
If you’re looking for a change of pace and don’t want to travel too far, this is the perfect first stop on your statewide tour.
2. Flying Otter Winery
This under-the-radar 55 acre estate and winery has an Up North feel to it, just 35 miles from Ann Arbor and a little over 70 miles from Detroit.
Founded by the Utter family in 2005, the vineyard utilizes sustainable practices and a hands-on growing approach.
Customers rave about their unique selection and food pairings.
Open from April-October each year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, events are plentiful ranging from tastings, live music on weekends, wildlife presentations, wine education courses and more.
3. Sandhill Crane Winery
Based in Jackson, the third leg of our tour is within a morning’s drive of Detroit and about 40 minutes northeast of Adrian.
Sandhill Crane Winery is known not only for its namesake bird watching opportunities, but also for its family-run vineyard and award-winning wines.
Standouts include Vintner’s Select Riesling, a blend of apricot and melon flavors with hints of pineapple, pear, and lemon, along with a touch of minerality and Blushing Crane, a sweet and tart selection that won gold at the 2013 Great Lakes Wine Judging.
Live music is also on the itinerary Fridays and Saturdays.
4. St. Julian Winery
A little over an hour due west, you’ll come across Michigan’s longest-running and most-awarded winery, celebrating 80 years in business in 2021.
St. Julian features everything from internationally recognized dry wines to award-winning sweet wines, and classic dessert wines.
Tasting rooms can be found across the state ranging from Frankenmuth to Troy, and more, but the company’s home base in Paw Paw is the go-to for sampling local classics, and enjoying live music on weekends.
Location: Paw Paw
5. Lemon Creek Winery
Representing Southwest Michigan on our tour is this historic vineyard and winery, carrying on a family tradition of 160 years.
Situated on lush farmland bursting with 170 acres of wine grapes and 60 acres of freshly grown local fruits, you’ll find wine tastings here along with live entertainment, U-pick, and more.
If you’re looking for award-winning wines and a bevy of activities, this is the perfect spot.
Location: Berrien Springs
6. Burgdorf’s Winery
An award-winning hidden gem in mid-Michigan.
Burgdorf’s owners Dave and Deb Burgdorf boast nearly four decades of experience, and it shows in the outstanding quality of their wines.
The patio and tasting room are open throughout the summer, while upcoming events include sangria tasting parties.
7. Black Star Farms
Heading to the heart of Up North’s most majestic wine country now, we come across this 160-acre winery estate, emblematic of some of the region’s breathtaking countryside along with its masterful food and drink artisans.
Black Star specializes in award-winning Reislings with a menu that branches out to sparkling and sweet dessert wines.
It’s also a nature lover’s paradise with rolling hills, hiking trails, horse stables and more.
Location: Sutton’s Bay
8. Chateau Chantal- Known as much for its sweeping views of Lake Michigan as its top shelf reds, whites, and pinks, Chateau Chantal stands out as a must-visit landmark in a hotbed of first-class winemaking operations.
Location: Traverse City
9. Pond Hill Farm
Pond Hill incorporates grapes from across the Leelanau region, and from its own estate, crafting a simple-yet-elegant menu of complex aromas and flavors that are enhanced by the breathtaking local scenery.
The winery’s classic Pond Hill White won the 2020 Traverse Magazine Best of the Northwest award, but it’s far from the only standout here.
Come for the wines and the famous nearby Tunnel of Trees, stay for the farm tours, food and one-of-a-kind, drop-dead gorgeous setting.
Location: Harbor Springs
10. 1668 Winery
The last stop on the tour takes us to the Soo Locks area in Sault Ste. Marie, where beer and wine lovers alike can enjoy expertly-crafted selections along with a view of the big ships traversing the St. Mary’s River.
This low-key UP winery prides itself on its historic setting and balanced menu of whites, reds and fruits — the perfect final destination to relax and unwind after a long and satisfying trip.
Location: Sault Ste. Marie