Wine Trails You Need to Discover in Pure Michigan
Combine the growing conditions with Michigan’s natural beauty and it’s easy to see why millions of people visit the state’s more than 140 wineries each year.
Michigan has become well known for its wineries – and for good reason. The region is blessed with a climate ideal for growing wide selection of grape varietals, some that are made to withstand harsh winters, and others that need a long growing season with ample sunshine to develop complex flavors. Not to mention, Michigan boasts a diverse range of soils, including sandy, loamy and clay-based soils, which are all well-suited for different grape varieties.
And with so many to choose from, visiting new wineries can be a great way to experience destinations for the first time, especially by hitting a wine trail. Check these trails out to discover some new favorites:
Located in southwestern Michigan in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA (American Viticulture Area), the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is a collaboration of 15 wineries each with their own charm, intimate tasting rooms and quality wines. In Michigan, this may be the best area for red wine lovers.
Due to its location at the southern end of Lake Michigan near the 42nd parallel, the region is prime for fruit growing because of its protection from the extreme cold of winter and spring frosts. This also extends the growing season later into the fall.
Whether you call it the Blue Water area or Michigan’s Thumbcoast, there is no question that the Port Huron region is quickly becoming a hotbed for craft beverage industry. Along with distilleries and breweries, the wine scene offers a slice of life among small towns, rustic farms and beach villages along the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.
Begin on the southern end of the trail at Two Rivers Winery in Marine City, which sits downtown near the St. Clair River. From there, drive north along the river to hit Mannina’s Wine House in St. Clair before hitting Port Huron which has multiple stops on the trail.
If you’re on your way to Alpena to explore Michigan’s “Sunrise Coast,” don’t forget this area also has its share of Michigan wineries that deserve a visit. Whether you want something sweet like the Country Corner Winery’s Morning Mist Moscato or Thunder Bay Winery’s sparkling Blanc de Blanc, the wineries of this region offer a little bit of everything. Most of all, they offer fun tasting rooms with plenty of activities for those who are passing through or staying for a few days.
Another area worthy of discovery is the Petoskey Wine Region, which is made up of 14 unique wineries, all located along the Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan coastal region. It is in Northern Michigan’s newest American Viticultural Area, the Tip of the Mitt AVA. The rustic beauty of these wineries alone is worth spending some time in the area.
You will also appreciate the variety of experiences from the lively atmosphere of the Mackinaw Trail Winery and MicroBrewery where you will find weddings on the weekends to more intimate tasting rooms like Maple Moon Winery, which is America’s first and only maple winery, where the wines are fermented with the sugars in the maple syrup.
About the Author: John Gonzalez is a Michigan journalist with more than 30 years of experience. He is a member of the Central Michigan University Journalism Hall of Fame. He is originally from Capac and based in Grand Rapids.