Saturday, August 22, 2015

Exploring the Pioneer Wine Trail

There’s no need to travel to Napa for great tasting wines, just head across the border to Southeast Michigan’s wine region and hit the Pioneer Wine Trail.

The trail, made up of a cluster of eight wineries, stretches north from Adrian to Haslett, a suburb of Lansing. There’s no real start or finish to the trail though – you can begin your tour at either end or right in the middle. 

And traveling between wineries is half the fun. Along the way, you’ll encounter rolling hills, antique shops, quaint boutiques, and cozy bed and breakfast inns in case you’d like to stay a night or two.

Award-winning wines proudly displayed at Sandhill Crane Vineyards.

Having visited several of the wineries along the trail, I can vouch for the fact that each one has a vibe all its own – much like the wines they produce. 

For example, the Flying Otter Winery is an off-the- beaten-path, mostly outdoor setting with beautiful views of the vineyards while Pentamere Winery is an urban venue and tasting room right in the heart of downtown Tecumseh –they’ve got some great wine-related gifts too.  

Thanks for the cellar tour, Dan Measel.

From left: Susan Serafin, event coordinator for the Pioneer Wine Trail, and Maria Measel, Nathan Sparks and Dan Measel of Pentamere Winery are happy to share their wines and stories with you.

Here are highlights from a few more locations we visited:  Housed in the historic Hayden-Ford Mill, also in Tecumseh, is J. Trees Cellars, an industrial-farmhouse style tasting room designed with old barn wood, metal chairs and factory pendant lighting.


Cherry Creek Winery is in an old schoolhouse.

Cherry Creek Cellars is located in a historic 1870s brick schoolhouse near Michigan International Speedway where visitors can sample wines like Raceway Red at the knotty pine bar.

Vines at Sandhill Crane Vineyards.

Wander through the rows of maturing grapes then grab some lunch at the cozy café before or after wine tasting at Sandhill Crane Vineyards.

The cafe' at Sandhill Crane Vineyards offers a variety of sandwiches, salads and appetizers to complement its wines. 

While each winery along the trail is unique, they all have one thing in common – friendly and knowledgeable proprietors who are happy to share their stories and award-winning wines with you.

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