The Southern Loop – Southwest Michigan Wine Trail & More

Posted on: September 23, 2015   |   Posted in: Uncategorized

Brewery, Brewery Tours

Wine, Wine Tasting, Vineyards, Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail

Fenn Valley Vineyards, Wine, Wine Tasting

Virtue Cider, Crane Cider, Apple Cider, Cideries

Whiskey, Distillery, Cocktails

Cheers! Wine Toast

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Wickwood Inn | Saugatuck Boutique Hotel

Chapter 4: The Southern Loop | Greenbush Brewing, the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail & More

If you missed any of our earlier chapters in this series, catching up is easy. Simply visit our blog page, The Cooks’ Notes

For those of us who live in Saugatuck year round, it’s good to be reminded of what’s so special about this little town. There are many possible answers to the question of what draws people here. The arts and culture. The great beaches. The vibrant and unique downtown. The friendly people. The lively music scene. The absence of chain stores. The abundance of outdoor activities. The overall idyllic charm. Each of these answers are correct.

However, we think people come to Saugatuck for something else. Something less tangible … yet visible. Call it The Saugatuck Effect. Something simply happens when people arrive here. They slow down. Take an extra breath. Laugh more. Hug more. Relax more completely. Plan your next visit to Saugatuck and take in the Effect. A getaway to Wickwood Inn during Indian Summer is your perfect opportunity to relax, rejuvenate, and restore. And we think a day of tasting wine, beer and spirits along the lakeshore may be just what each one of us needs. Grab your Google Map and get ready for an outstanding adventure. It’s time to head south and taste the day away.

If you’re not yet convinced to get out there and try some Michigan wines, we appreciate the initial resistance. Allow us to offer some assurances. The climate along the lakeshore is perfect for growing grapes: cool temperate breezes and sandy clay soils shelter the fruit from the harshness of Michigan winters. Farmers have been successfully growing fruit in this micro-climate for decades, and today, this same region is home to many wonderful wine grapes.

More in the mood for a great beer or handcrafted cocktail? No problem. We’ve got that too.

Here are some of the places we recommend you try:

Greenbush Brewing Company Sawyer, Michigan 

Greenbush Brewing has only been on the scene since 2011, they have already expanded and made their mark. Specializing in complex beers that are full bodied and full of character, the excellent vibe of this taproom will draw you in and make you want to stay a while. If you do, just keep an eye on that ABV … these flavorful pints can pack a punch.

Warner Vineyards Paw Paw, Michigan 

Founded in 1938, Warner Vineyards has been family operated for three generations and is one of the oldest vineyards in Michigan. Their 2 Cab Merlot is a special blend reminiscent of a Bourdeaux, while their Grapes of Love, a silky smooth white, is their bestselling wine. If it’s available for tasting, be sure and try the Warner Brut … their award-winning, limited edition sparkling wine.

Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant ~ Buchanan, Michigan 

Take a relaxing walking tour through the vineyards and one of the country’s most modern winemaking facilities. Try their gold medal award winning Gewurztraminer, silver medal Pinot Noir, or one of the many bronze medal winners. We also like their Lake Michigan Shore Cabernet Franc, Lake Michigan Shore Estate Grown Syrah Reserve, and the

12 Corners Vineyards Benton Harbor, Michigan 

Started by a group of friends who recognized the uniqueness of the land near the lakeshore, 12 Corners Vineyard is a 115 acre estate is home to several varieties, including: Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Traminette. We especially like their 12 Corners Meritage or the 12 Corners Riverstone blends. They are easy drinking and we like both the red and the white.

Journeyman Distillery 3 Oaks, Michigan

Everything here is handcrafted and steeped in history. The original building, founded by EK Warren in 1883, opened as a buggy whip and corsets factory. The maple floors you see today are factory originals. There’s lots more we could tell you about the architecture and its lore, but let’s get down to the hard stuff: whiskey. Whiskey is the first love here, but there’s no reason to shy away from the gin, vodka, and rum. Know that Journeyman is one of the few organic distilleries in the United States makes everything taste that much better.

One final super secret, expert tip:

Wyncroft Winery Buchanan, Michigan

It’s our favorite Michigan wine. We cannot explain to you how good it is; you simply have to try it for yourself. James Lester has been growing vines and making wines for more than 30 years. Wyncroft wines are served at discriminating restaurants throughout Michigan and in Chicago. Lester believes in small production of very high quality, so his wines are challenging to get a hold of. Tastings at Wyncroft Winery are by appointment only and are recommended for 8 people. The wines and the experience are well worth the effort.

These are just a few of the places you can stop and taste your way through these small towns. Check out the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail as one place to learn more.

No matter where you taste, we’ll be ready for you at Wickwood when you wind your way back up the lakeshore.

See you in Saugatuck this Indian Summer!

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