Enjoying summer at a vacation rental in Southwest Michigan has some perks many out-of-state visitors may not be aware of… not the least of which is the wide variety of amazing, award-winning wines being grown locally at vineyards and wineries both new and old! In fact, this part of the country has not only become recognized and celebrated in the wine world—with Lake Michigan “blessing” the region with longer, warmer, more temperate growing seasons, allowing vineyards to flourish—a collection of 21 distinct wineries and vineyards have been sanctioned the Lake Michigan Shore AVA/American Viticultural Area, or more commonly known as The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
So besides the truly charming beach towns running up and down Lake Michigan’s magnificent stretch of sandy shores, there are also fabulous opportunities to be had for those who savor the thought of a fine glass of wine, some excellent food to accompany it, and the joys to be had from live music, trail walks, or simply reclining in the serenity which a summer day or night affords you.
We’ve gathered here a number of the most popular local Southwest Michigan wineries and vineyards in the vicinity of many of Juniper’s vacation rentals—FYI: some provide winery or vineyard tours, events and tastings—in the hope you’ll take advantage of what they have to offer… since where you’re staying isn’t the only “Piece of Paradise” in the area you can enjoy!
And BTW: Even if you’re new to the world of wine, consider planning a trip to a winery for a tasting tour, not just for exposure to the wide variety of different wine styles each is known for, but also to get out and have some fun! (Mingling at one of the wineries listed below has become one of the favorite summertime experiences Southwest Michigan has to offer, according to many vacationing Juniper guests.)
One last note: Fruitful Vine Winery Tours provides a safe, relaxing and informative
way to visit some of the wineries in Southwest Michigan. You can travel in their luxury 14-passenger coach for a 3-stop tour with lunch or opt for a private party. For details, check out their website: Vino Coach Tour Options – Fruitful Vine Tours
Some of Our Favorite Southwest Michigan Wineries
Lemon Creek Winery
Lemon Creek Winery – Tasting Rooms, Vineyard, U-Pick Fruit
533 East Lemon Creek Rd.
Berrien Springs, MI
Comprising 170 acres of wine grapes and another 60 acres of a variety of fruits, Lemon Creek Winery in Berrien Springs is built on 160 years of grape and fruit growing experience. Set upon rolling clay loam hills and enjoying the moderating effect of Lake Michigan, this winery grows some of the best grapes in Michigan. In fact, the Lemon family established the first commercial planting of Cabernet Sauvignon in the state of Michigan. Their most recent addition is a Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine, which complements their rich and diverse wine selection. Also, their farm-fresh produce is available seasonally — whether you pick your own or shop at their farm market, they’re open daily during fruit season. And yes, both the farm market and Lemon Creek Winery are open seven days a week (see website for times). One more feature: They have live music every Friday night!
Offering pre-selected flights of wine, an extensive Lake Michigan Shore wine list and cocktail menu, and tasty snack foods (charcuterie boards, chips & dips, etc.) and reserved vineyard seating on Friday – Sunday, Tabor Hill Winery in Buchanan is an excellent choice for your summer “escape from the crowd”! They also feature regular live music events, free trail and vineyard walks, and Vineyard Picnics and Couples Packages. (See website for details.)
Sourcing their award-winning wines from vineyard grapes grown locally in Van Buren and Berrien Counties, White Pine Winery in St. Joseph features some of southwest Michigan’s finest wines and warmest hospitality. Besides their delicious range of reds and whites, which grow particularly well given the lake effect, White Pine recently released a new “summer sipping” wine, a dry rosé called Ladyslipper Blush. BTW, membership is free to join their Wine Club, which provides you with first access to new releases, limited releases and other special wines. Members also get 10% off all club wines and any bottled wine purchases, plus complimentary tastings for themselves and up to 2 friends.
Having established Vineyard 2121 in Benton Harbor in 2015, Jeffrey and Deborah Pallas are proud of the swift success of their “destination getaway,” which invites wine lovers to relax and enjoy a delicious wine tasting experience nestled in a quiet and serene natural environment surrounded by hardwoods and pines. Besides the vineyard, there’s a raspberry farm and three duck ponds (perfect for hosting an outdoor wedding or event). Check out their weekly calendar that includes live music, karaoke and regular Happy Hours, as well as a selective menu of superb wines, as well as tasty ciders and sangria!