What started out in 2002 as a small group of winery owners and wine makers who elected to collaborate and promote the wine, wineries and tourism industry in general and came to be known as The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, is now celebrating 15 years of serving the wineries that produce quality wine from Michigan’s Great Southwest. focusing specifically on the wines and wineries of this region.
Today, Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail has grown to 21 distinct, award winning, wineries to provide the best tasting experience for everyone who visits here.
We all know about the positive benefits that the Lake Effect has on not only the vineyards, but on all crops along the shores of the Great Lakes. The winter season allows water to maintain colder temperatures long in to the spring, protecting the plants from late frosts. The warm water temperatures linger in the the fall, so the grapes benefit from an extended ripening and harvesting period. The combination of the surrounding Great Lakes, the beautiful rolling hills, and sand dunes along with the lake-effect snows protect the vines during the cold winter months.
The 21 wineries that comprise the wine trail are not well known for their location. Many of the wineries in southwest Michigan and specifically those of the Lake Michigan Shore Appellation have been recognized by the experts and wine lovers from all over the globe. All wines produced by the member wineries are exclusively from grapes grown in this region. Thus, you taste all the components that are unique to this area. Michigan wines, overall, are receiving increased national attention for their quality, and wines from southwest Michigan are among the best the state has to offer.
Whar’s great for the tourism, lodging and hospitality industries is that the wine trail’s location here in southwest Michigan makes for an easy day trip. Visitors can take the time to visit the different wineries at their leisure. I makes for a great time to explore and find favorites, not only in the wines, winery, but in the winemakers, beaches and beach towns.
Visitors can spend a day touring wineries and tasting rooms and be back home in time to let the dog out. Others can spend a weekend and add time to visit the many quaint, unique, and fun filled beach towns along the shoreline. Bridgman, Union Pier, St Joseph, Coloma, Paw Paw, Mattawan, South Haven, and Saugatuck/Douglas to name a few. Anyone who has spent their summers here in southwest Michigan, may already know about the amazing wine that is produced right here.
If you’re not familiar with the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, it is a secret that needs to be discovered.
You don’t have to wait until summer to do your touring, either. You can visit many of the wineries year round. All wineries are a reasonable distance from many of the towns and cities here in Michigan as well as Chicago, northern Indiana and Ohio. Many visitors return frequently as they navigate and experience the 21 wineries and 9 satellite tasting rooms that make up the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
Those with more time to spend here in southwest Michigan, can stay for the spectacular sunsets on the big lake. Wine tasting, inviting tasting rooms, winery tours, flights, pairings, acres and acres of vineyards and beaches, and exceptionally friendly ambassadors all work to make the wine tasting experience one to remember.
It’s amazing how many people have driven I-94 and I-196 without even realizing they could visit so many wineries in a short span of time? How many times have you looked at the billboards and thought “we’ll have to do that sometime.” Well, now is a good time. The wineries are open and waiting for you to visit, taste and and take some home, and the entire Wine Trail is celebrating its 15th Anniversary year.
Learn about the wines of the region, all made from the grapes grown right here. Talk to the ambassadors and the winemakers at each of the wineries and attend the many events offered by each of the wineries throughout the year.
For a map and information on each winery, click this link: miwinetrail.com
The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the development of the outstanding wine producing and tourism industry in southwest Michigan. Its mission is to stimulate interest in wine in general and specifically the wines of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, and to assist local wineries in becoming industry leaders.