Explore the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail: Southwest Michigan Wineries
Have you tried some of the wines coming out of Southwest Michigan lately?
Deep reds full-bodied and rich with flavor? Sparkling, light whites with just the hint of fruits?
If your answer is no, start planning now for a road trip or quick getaway to southwest Michigan, for some pure Michigan perfection in a glass.
We’re sharing our favorite stops along one of our favorite wine trails in Michigan, along with a map to help to locate these special spots.
Read on to learn more about southwest Michigan wineries and the amazing Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
About the Wineries in Southwest Michigan
As the largest of Michigan’s grape-growing regions, the southwest corner of the state is home to some of the best wineries in Michigan.
Located in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA ( American Viticultural Area), this wine region produces some of the most diverse wines in the state, thanks to the “lake effect” weather along the Lake Michigan coastal area.
Collectively, these southwest Michigan wineries make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, a cluster of wineries surrounded by endless Michigan vineyards, farms, and orchards.
Marked by the gently rolling hills of Michigan’s “Fruit Ridge,” this scenic area is dotted with sprawling farmland and quiet inland lakes.
Explore the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail
This southwest Michigan wine trail guide will introduce you to fabulous local wineries in the fruit ridge area.
The expansive variety of wines produced by the vineyards and wineries in this scenic corner of Michigan are diverse: you’ll find rich, full-bodied reds; light, sparkling whites and a variety of rich flavors that only Michigan grapes can create.
If you’re looking to do some wine tasting Michigan style, consider wine tasting tours along this magnificent and bountiful wine trail.
Wineries near New Buffalo, Baroda and Berrien Springs
The trail begins in the southwestern-most corner of the state where New Buffalo and Union Pier, Michigan wineries, as well as those in the lovely neighboring towns, make a fantastic first impression.
Set in the midst of some low-lying sandy dunes on along the Lake Michigan shoreline, this fun Michigan beach town is a great spot to start your tasting tour along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
The charming Baroda area is home to many interesting historic sites in addition to wineries, so you can add a little extra to your Michigan travel and wine tours.
A small but comfortable tasting room with outdoor deck for the larger St. Julian Winery in nearby Paw Paw, MI.
You’ll find all of your St. Julian favorites and some cocktails here, too.
This unique small-batch winery produces classic, European-style wines made from locally grown grapes.
Visit this tasting room or comfortable patio and be sure to try an exquisite Syrah or their Blue Star White wine, named for the historic Blue Star Highway.
Tiny Baroda, MI is the heart of southwest Michigan wine country and this pretty winery produces some award-winning wines at their small-batch winery.
They make some deeply-flavored rich reds here: we like the Carmenere.
This winery is fun and lighthearted, just like their wines.
The contemporary tasting room is a perfect setting to try different wines – some of which are aged in rum, tequila, cognac and bourbon barrels.
Choose between a tasting in the Estate Room or on the spacious patio with stunning vineyard views, or opt for a meal in the full service restaurant.
We recommend the Traminette, a light, white semi-sweet.
A turn-of-the-century Amish round barn is the eclectic setting for this fun spot that even has its own hiking trails on the grounds.
The Round Barn features live music every weekend May through October.
Free Run Cellars
This boutique winery and sister to the Round Barn offers a laid-back and intimate tasting experience in two location in Union Pier and Berrien Springs.
Their small batch wines are creating some big flavors: you’ll want to try the Free Run Fusion, a light fruity white.
This popular stop on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail has been producing flavorful wine for more than 20 years with grapes from their 40-acre vineyard.
Known for their dry reds, you really can’t go wrong with any of their offerings.
Domaine makes a Red Satin that is really delicious. They allow leashed dogs on the grounds, too.
Lemon Creek Winery is the quintessential family business. The same family opened the farm in 1834 and began crafting decadent wines 150 years later.
With plenty of open space for outdoor seating, add Lemon Creek Winery to your list of must-visit wineries.
While you’re there try their cabernet sauvignon assortment which they take great pride in.
Chill Hills wines are produced by Arrowhead Vineyards, a Baroda-area commercial grape producer that grows grapes on almost 400 acres in the middle of the Lake Michigan Shore AVA.
Chill Hill opened the doors to their winery in 2019, and offer a laid-back, friendly vibe at the tasting room
Try the Ice Wine, a spectacularly sweet treat.
The beautiful surroundings of this spot and their spacious, comfortable deck adds to the allure of this southwest Michigan winery.
There are many flavorful wines from which to choose; we are fans of the Chocolate Cherry Dessert wine.
St. Joseph and Kalamazoo-area Wineries
Next stop, scenic St. Joseph, and any St. Joseph winery will offer lovely coastal or hilltop views and have wine just as lovely to pair it with.
At St. Joseph, the trail veers inland towards Paw Paw and Kalamazoo.
Despite being farther from the beaches the wine produced here has the same high-quality local flavors the rest of the trail offers. Here, the St. Julian Winery claims its place as the oldest winery in Michigan.
Additionally, the Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery and the Lawton Ridge Winery bring lovely winds to the people living in inland western Michigan.
Kalamazoo makes for a great place to find Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail lodging, but great hotels can be found all along the trail.
Here’s some other spots you won’t want to miss:
Owned and operated by an award-winning wine-maker; this winery focuses on producing classic wines. The charming downtown St. Joe’s tasting room is fun: lots of wine-themed gifts to shop while you taste.
Try the white sangria- it’s one of the best we’ve had.
For almost 100 years, this southwest Michigan winery in Paw Paw, Michigan has been making wines in the fruit-growing region along the shores of Lake Michigan.
St. Julian’s portfolio of award-winning wines has over 100 products and include distilled spirits, ciders, and every type of wine from internationally recognized dry wines to award-winning sweet wines, classic dessert wines and wines using innovative wine-making techniques.
If you visit, seek and find the Blue Heron in the telltale blue bottle – it’s a Michigan favorite.
This small, boutique winery specializes in hand-crafted wines produced at their vintage 1882 homestead.
All the grapes used in their wines are grown in the Lake Michigan Shore area, showcasing the versatility and delicious capabilities of Michigan wine.
Wines available for tasting in out Tuscan-Inspired tasting room will include: Chardonnay, Traminette, Riesling, Vidal, Rose, Cabernet Franc, and a House Red Blend.
The semi-sweet 2016 Traminette is worth the trip.
This small-batch winery is comfortable, friendly and focuses on food-friendly wine.
This is one of Michigan’s oldest wineries: they’ve been producing wine from their grapes since 1974.
We like the slightly spicy, white Traminette.
This wine cellar and tasting room is located in the middle of a pristine vineyard and orchard setting on one of the highest points in Michigan’s southwest fruit belt.
Their Ryno Red is semi-sweet red for cooking and drinking and has become a kitchen staple for many.
Located in Coloma, southwest of South Haven in Michigan’s fertile wine valley, Contessa Wine Cellars is a small winery featuring a wide variety of wine.
Visit the elegant tasting room reminiscent of an Italian villa and enjoy the spectacular orchard vistas from the European-style terrace overlooking Coloma Valley.
Try the sweet red Dolce Vita; it is perfect for Sangria.
Lazy Ballerina winery in downtown St. Joseph is Southwest Michigan’s only women-owned winery with a tasting rooms in St. Joseph and Bridgman, Michigan.
The Weko Beach White, named for a local beach, is light and refreshing.
Wineries from South Haven to Holland and Grand Rapids
The trail extends between South Haven and Holland, with a few wineries that will satisfy any taste.
In South Haven, Cogdal Vineyards takes great pride in their local family business.
Meanwhile, further north, Fenn Valley Vineyards has that perfect wine-country atmosphere.
While known for its colorful tulips, the Holland area is also home to the Annual Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, one of the most anticipated Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail events of the year.
This makes it a popular place to stay when exploring the trail.
Sample wines from this award-winning vineyard, a 115-acre estate planted with both vinifera and hybrid grapes.
The 12 Corners tasting room serves Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer and more at their downtown South Haven location.
The oak barrel-aged Marquette, a dry red wine with savory notes of blackberries and cherries followed with a soft kiss of black pepper is a favorite.
Experience innovative wines in an intimate setting just a 1/2 mile from the shores of Lake Michigan at this small family-owned winery.
In addition to traditional reds and whites, they also make a special Maple wine made from maple syrup harvested at the vineyard.
Their “Little Man” wines are award-winning blends; try the Nana’s Kiss, a fruity rose.
North of South Haven in Fennville is this award-winning vineyard and an important stop on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail map.
In addition to wine tasting and educational wine tours, guests visiting the gorgeous Fennville Estate can enjoy a glass of wine and a small plate, stroll through actual production vineyards, or even have a picnic.
The dry, red Capriccio is very good: add it to your list.
Grand Rapids Area Wineries
If you’re feeling lonely in those small coastal towns, there is even a Grand Rapids winery or two not too far from the festival grounds.
Consider such downtown locations as Cascade Winery for a taste of the oldest winery in the city, or if you’re hungry experience the best food and wine pairings at the Forty Pearl.
Be sure and use our Ultimate Guide to Grand Rapids when you plan your visit.
About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.