When many people think of Michigan wine, they think of the Leelanau Peninsula.
While there’s good reason to associate the Grand Traverse Bay with a nice glass of wine, Southwest Michigan has plenty of its own vineyards near the lake.
In fact, the Lake Michigan Shore American Viticulture Area — located at the 42nd parallel and toward southern end of Lake Michigan — is the state’s largest winemaking region.
There’s even a Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, which has 16 wineries dedicated to using locally-grown grapes. All 16 are within 40 miles of Lake Michigan.
RELATED: Drink and dog-friendly walking trail links up two wineries in Southwest Michigan
While not an exhaustive list of wineries in the region, the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail will give any wine lover more than a few days of enjoyment exploring the region’s flavors.
Ordered by geography, here’s a look at each winery along Southwest Michigan’s shoreline trail.
1. Fenn Valley Vineyards
The northernmost stop on the trail, Fenn Valley was founded in 1973. The family-owned vineyard is dog- and kid-friendly, though neither are allowed on tasting tours.
Located just southeast of Saugatuck and 5 miles from Lake Michigan, visitors to this 240-acre winery, at 6130 122nd Ave. in Fennville, have an abundance of award-winning wines to choose from.
The winery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. From June 15 through Labor Day, the vineyard stays open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays. For more information, call 269-561-2396 or visit fennvalley.com.
2. Cogdal Vineyards
Located down the Lake Michigan coastline, but still on the northern part of the trail is Cogdal Vineyards, at 7143 107th Ave. in South Haven.
Founded in 2008, the small 7-acre vineyard’s tasting room opens at noon daily. The tasting room closes at 5 p.m. six days a week and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Wine is served in flights, glasses and bottles with cheese and chocolate pairings available. For more information, call 269-637-2229 or visit cogdalvineyards.com.
3. Cody Kresta Vineyard & Winery
Established in 2010, Cody Kresta Vineyard & Winery is based in an 1882 homestead at 45727 27th St. in Mattawan.
Run by a third-generation grape grower, the family winery specializes in hand-crafted Michigan wines. It gets its name from the family’s former Golden Retriever, Cody and the owner’s Croatian heritage.
The tasting room is open from noon until 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays April through December. Winter hours are noon until 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. For more information, call 269-668-3800 or visit codykrestawinery.com.
4. Lawton Ridge Winery
”The grapes are in Lawton, your fun is in Kalamazoo.” That’s what Lawton Ridge Winery has been saying since it opened its tasting room at 8456 Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo County in 2008.
The tasting room opens at noon daily, staying open until 6 p.m. with the exception of Wednesday and Sunday. On Sundays, things close down at 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays, wine lovers can stay until 8 p.m. and take advantage of the weekly food truck.
For more information, call 269-372-9463 or visit lawtonridgewinery.com.
5. St. Julian Winery & Distillery
The oldest and largest winery in the state, St. Julian has been owned by the same family for four generations. For the past 25 years, the vineyard has also been home to its own distillery.
Known as St. Julian since 1941, the winery has called Paw Paw home since 1936, but got its start across the Canadian border during prohibition in 1921. Home to more than 150 products and a large tasting room, the doors are open to visitors seven days a week at 716 S. Kalamazoo St. in Paw Paw.
St. Julian has six locations in Michigan, including one in Union Pier, north of New Buffalo.
In Paw Paw, St. Julian is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays. For more information call 269-657-5568 or visit stjulian.com.
Related: Michigan has 3 of the Top 10-ranked wineries in the entire Midwest
6. 12 Corners Vineyards
With tasting rooms in three different locations in Southwest Michigan, 12 Corners Vineyards all starts at an estate winery located on 115 acres at 1201 N. Benton Center Road in Benton Harbor.
Known for its sweeping views, the property opens at noon daily and closes at 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays. The vineyard features live music every Saturday, May through September. For more information, call 269-927-1512 or 12corners.com.
7. Contessa Wine Cellars
Operated by another third-generation winemaker, Tony Peterson, Contessa Wine Cellars is nestled in the hills of Coloma at 3235 Friday Road.
Boasting a vast selection of fine wines, Peterson serves them in an elegant tasting room, reminiscent of an Italian villa.
The winery is open from noon until 5 p.m. seven days a week from February through December, and Fridays through Sundays in January. For more information, call 269-468-5534 or visit contessawinecellars.com.
8. Karma Vista Vineyards
The Herman Family, which owns Karma Vista Vineyards, has been growing fruit in Southwest Michigan for seven generations. The family was among the first in the state to eliminate the use of herbicide in the vineyard and focus on soil health.
Located at 6991 Ryno Road in Coloma, Karma Vista is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, call 269-468-9463 or visit karmavista.com.
9. Lake Michigan Vintners
Located on the north side of Lake Michigan College’s campus in the Welch Center for Wine & Viticulture, Lake Michigan Vintners prides itself on training the next generation of winemakers.
All fruit is purchased from local growers and pressed in house. The public tasting room, at 2774 E. Empire Ave. in Benton Harbor, is open from noon until 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 269-927-4731 or visit lakemichiganvintners.com.
10. White Pine Winery
After getting their start planting grapes at St. Julian, Dave and Sandy Miller ventured on their own and created White Pine Winery.
Located at 317 State St. in St. Joseph, White Pine is open seven days a week March through September and Thursdays through Sundays in January and February. For more information, call 269-281-0098 or visit whitepinewinery.com.
11. Baroda Founders Wine Cellar
This winery’s founder, the late Leonard Olson, is known for obtaining the first new post-prohibition winery license in Michigan, when he did so at Tabor Hill in 1972.
Years after leaving Tabor Hill, he eventually found his way back to his passion for crafting wine in Southwest Michigan. His son, Gunnar Olson, now runs things at Baroda Founders, keeping the tradition alive at 8963 Hills Road.
The winery is open seven days a week March through December and closed Mondays through Wednesdays in January and February. For more information, call 269-426-5222 or visit founderswinecellar.com
12. Chill Hill Winery
A winery with a beach vibe? Welcome to Chill Hill.
Located at 8986 1st St. in Baroda, this spot keeps things casual and twice a month closes down the alley for pop-up tiki parties.
Its products come from its 400-acre family farm, Arrowhead Vineyards, where it grows over 30 different varietals. Expect to find sangria and cider when you stop in for a visit.
The winery is open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and noon until 5 p.m. Sundays. For more information call 269-326-7173 or visit chillhill.net.
13. Golden Muse Winery
Channeling the free-spirited lifestyle from the golden age of Paris, Golden Muse features its own art gallery and a small stage for live performances and special events.
The winery offers vegan-friendly red, white and rosé wines, ranging from dry to semi-sweet. Located at 8903 Stevensville-Baroda Road in Baroda, Golden Muse Winery is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays and Thursdays, 1 to 7 p.m. Fridays and noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays. Golden Muse is closed Mondays through Wednesdays.
For more information, call 269-422-5336 or visit goldenmusewinery.com.
14. Domaine Berrien Cellars
Established in 2001, Domaine Berrien Cellars is nestled among the grapevines of an 80-acre family farm.
The tasting room also features windows to view the winemaking area and barrel-aging cellar.
Located at 398 E. Lemon Creek Road in Berrien Springs, Domaine Berrien Cellars is open daily from noon until 6 p.m. April through December. In off months, the winery is open from noon until 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call 269-473-9463 or visit domaineberrien.com.
15. Hickory Creek Winery
A small, award-winning winery, Hickory Creek is located on 38 acres of rolling farmland at 750 Browntown Road in Buchanan.
The dog-friendly vineyard offers a quiet and idyllic setting and the winemakers are always happy to give visitors a peak behind the curtain into the process. Group tastings, events and winemaker dinners are all options here.
For more information and seasonal hours, call 269-422-1100 or visit hickorycreekwinery.com.
16. Lemon Creek Winery
Located on a family farm with 170 acres of vineyards and 24 wine grape varietals, Lemon Creek Winery is just 6 miles from the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The Berrien Springs winery, at 533 E. Lemon Creek Road, is open seven days a week with hours changing seasonally. For more information, call 269-471-1321 or visit lemoncreekwinery.com.
Looking for more to do along Michigan’s Great Lakes? Check out MLive’s Lakeshore Travel series.
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