With almost 20 Southwest Michigan wineries to choose from, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail makes for a great day or two of fun and relaxation. Michigan is 5th in the nation in wine grape production and the southwest part of the state has produced some excellent wine.
I went with my mom and her husband, Doug, for a day of wine tasting. My mom mapped out three wineries that we would try. All of them were just a few minutes drive from each other near the town of Baroda. Each of the wineries had a unique feel and atmosphere, and each had one thing that stood out over the others.
Round Barn Winery
The first one we stopped at was Round Barn Winery. This was easily the most entertaining winery with a live band and even livelier atmosphere. Round Barn features live entertainment every weekend from June through October. We went in and paid the US$5 cover charge and opted not to take the wine tasting tour (US$15). It would’ve been a 90 minute wait until the next tour with openings. Reservations for the wine tasting are recommended.
We ended up going to the food truck and getting some lunch. I had a Cuban pulled pork sandwich and they had burgers. Everything was delicious. Round Barn also has a brewery and distillery on-site, and we washed our meals down with some very good beer. We had the Reverse Psychology, Indecision Ale, and Grape Expectations. The beers were US$5 each and the food cost about US$10 per meal.
We sat outside at a table and enjoyed the live band play in front of the vineyard as we had our meals. We were perfectly happy sitting and enjoying the music and scenery, but it was getting late and we had to head out to the next winery. In the end, we never got to the wine but I’ll take my mom’s word for it that it’s very good.
The second winery we stopped at was Gravity. This was our best overall wine tasting experience. Firstly, the winery is set on a beautiful property with a small pond near the main building. We stopped in and bought the US$11 wine tasting package and headed to the bar to choose our wines.
Gravity has a different tasting system than the other wineries. You’re given a sheet of paper and choose four wines to taste. They are poured into glasses and given to you on a flight tray with two cheeses and two crackers, all of which pair well with each of the wines. Then, you can head to the patio and taste them at your leisure. It’s very relaxing and enjoyable.
Our third and final winery was Dablon, which was founded in 2009 and sits on 57 acres. They tout their superior location at the highest point in Baroda as the key to their excellent wine. In our opinion, Dablon had the best wines out of the three wineries we visited (my mom thinks they’re better than Round Barn).
The tasting room is nicely decorated with comfortable couches around a fireplace in the sitting area and a wooden bar. Tastings are US$11 and give a choice of six different wines. The wines are poured at the bar one after another like a typical tasting. My favorite was the Cabernet Franc.
It was a nice day and I was very happy and somewhat surprised with the high quality of wines we tasted. When you think of good wine, Michigan doesn’t immediately stand out, but it was well worth the time spent. I’d like to go back and try more wineries when I get a chance. Also, it’s best to check the winery websites to see hours before planning your visits. Some are seasonal only and others are closed on certain days of the week.