Our recent trip to Michigan surprised us with amazing wineries along the southern Lake Michigan area. The first stopping point was off I-94, exit 39 in Coloma—Contessa Wine Cellars. At the end of a winding drive uphill, sits an adorable A-frame house complete with multiple level decks for enjoying wine and the beautiful Michigan landscape. We tried several different wines before deciding on the Tres Tenores, a fabulous blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Wow! The blend was a perfect selection for my husband and me to settle on, since I prefer very dry and he likes it a little bit sweet. If you’re like me and drift toward the drier side of things, I highly recommend the Cabernet Franc.
We were also given a piece of homemade chocolate from the neighboring fudge shop to sample. Paired very nicely with their Merlot. Friendly staff, perfect setting for a fall day, and reasonably priced, great wine.
I only had time for one more winery on this trip, so I chose 12 Corners in Benton Harbor. I was not disappointed! This beautiful building nestled among thousands of grapevines houses an intriguing tasting room, an extremely large wine bar to accommodate a crowd, and many gift items and home décor ideas.
Although they have some tables on a tiny covered patio, I would like to see a big deck area overlooking the vineyards. And maybe that is in the future plans. I enjoyed all the dry reds I tasted. It was hard to choose. I took home a bottle of Merlot, which had some nice berry bursts and a flavorful finish. This place is large enough to offer food, which would make it an afternoon destination, rather than just a stopping point.
There are MANY wineries along this stretch of interstate, and I intend to visit more on my next Michigan trip! If you're looking for a great October wine weekend, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail is the place to be! http://www.MiWineTrail.com