Now that the weather is (FINALLY) warmer, our thoughts have turned to outdoor activities and spring and summer adventures. One of the great things about living in the South Bend Region is the easy access to the 2,650 acres of planted vineyards in Southwest Michigan. With a number of wineries just a short drive away, there’s so much to discover that you could spend the entire summer exploring them all! To help narrow down your list, the YPN Marketing Team is sharing some of our favorites – we’ve made sure to choose places that are great places to visit regardless if you’re partaking in the libations or not.
Domaine Berrien Cellars offers the full wine experience! This small, boutique winery on East Lemon Creek Road specializes in estate-grown, carefully handcrafted wines based on European methodologies. They are best known for their dry reds and Rhone varietals - all of which are made from the grapes grown, fermented, bottled, and aged on the property – and many of which are award winning!
To see (and taste!) for yourself, the tasting room and outdoor patio is open daily from Noon to 5pm. Don’t miss the Viognier and Marsanne wines when you visit – Domaine Berrien Cellars is one of the only wineries in the area to grow these delicious Rhone varieties. From the tasting room, you can see these and other grapes fermenting in the stainless steel and oak barrels for next year’s releases. And if learning about the process excites you as much as drinking it, the winemaking team is often in the tasting room to add a personal touch and make it fun!
The tasting room at Dablon Vineyards is spectacular. When you walk through the doors a floor-to-ceiling fireplace welcomes you in, and two chesterfield leather couches invite you to swirl, sip and savor some truly good wine. This location is going for a more rustic vibe, making the atmosphere in the tasting room romantic and cozy. At the tasting bar you can sit and marvel at the views of the surrounding vineyard grounds. On a warmer spring day, you can sit outside on the terrace and get an even better view.
Now to the important part — the wine. Dablon’s goal is to “marry European varietals with their unique terroir in Southwest Michigan to make extraordinary wine,” according to their website. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know what any of that means to enjoy a glass or two. For $12 you’ll get to sample 6 wines, and they’ll even wave the tasting fee with the purchase of a bottle. And trust me, you’ll want to buy a bottle.
Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery in Baroda is probably the most familiar winery in the area to many, but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of a highlight. The prime outdoor seating, and family- and pet-friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect stop for a warm afternoon. Round Barn is home to Jammin’ in the Vineyard, an annual music festival featuring the best live regional music over 26 weekends along with wines, spirits, and cold craft beers. For only $5 admission per person, you can sip on your glass of wine, cocktail, or cold brew as you look out onto the vineyard with live music filling the air around you.
The space is spacious, bright, and inviting to anyone who is ready for big, local flavor of a wide variety of wine, beer, and cocktails. Not a wine lover yet? No fear. The staff is equipped to offer wine tastings where you can taste various wines whether they are red or white and dry or sweet – there is something for everyone.
Delicious drinks, warm weather, and phenomenal music—it doesn’t get much better than a summer afternoon at Round Barn!
If you’d rather head South than North, a quick jaunt down US-31 will land you in Rochester, Indiana, at the region’s first artisan cheesemaker and farm winery, Schnabeltier. Don’t let the hard-to-pronounce name scare you away (it’s German for platypus) because the wine and cheese pairings are delicious.
The tasting room is cozy and either the winemaker or the cheesemaker is normally on hand to answer questions and make suggestions based on your preferences. The usually white and red wines are on hand, but the sweeter paired fruit wines are worth the drive – the Keesey White Cranberry Pinot Grigio is a great choice for a chilly day, while the Bruce Lake Blueberry Pinot Noir or Barr Lake Peach Apricot Chardonnay are refreshing on warm days.
Schnabeltier also hosts many events throughout the summer with live music on their patio, DIY wine and signs parties, and even a pampering party for Mother’s Day.