Michigan Wine is Having a Moment

Tabor Hill Winery in Berrien County Michigan. Photo by Suzanne Magnuson
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On Saturday, May 11th I was fortunate enough to join Matt Moersch of Moersch Hospitality Group that runs the Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant, Free Run Cellars, and Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery for a tour of the many properties owned by this incredible operation.  Situated on the Wine Trail in Berrien County, Michigan, it’s in the perfect location — just a short jaunt down the highway from Chicagoland, Kalamazoo, South Bend and Fort Wayne. It’s a perfect day-trip destination, or a wonderful hub for a longer stay while you sample all the area has to offer.

I began my visit at Tabor Hill, the flagship location of the Moersch Hospitality Group operations, where the art of winemaking meets the beauty of Michigan’s countryside. You leave the highway and take a pleasant drive through the heart of Michigan farm country, just miles from its famous lakeshore. Along the winding lanes you’ll notice blueberry farms and apple orchards, but as you near the winery, you begin to see vineyards as well.  And there are plenty of those on-site at Tabor Hill’s main building, visible from the many windows in their lovely tasting bars and dining rooms.  The wine is also crafted and bottled on-site as well.

With over 30 varieties of wine to choose from, Tabor Hill invites guests to savor the flavors of the region while basking in the breathtaking scenery of the vineyard.  They are producing both red and white varietals there, from a sweet Riesling to a robust Pinot Noir, with Matt recommending the Pinot Blanc as the most popular. And while you’re there you’ll have the opportunity to take in The Tabor Hill Experience.

Wine Tastings: From the sweetest of whites to the driest of reds, Tabor Hill’s extensive wine portfolio offers something for every discerning palate. Explore the nuances of each varietal as you embark on a sensory journey through the vineyard.

Farm to Table Dining: Elevate your culinary experience with Tabor Hill’s new dinner series, Farm to Tabor, showcasing locally sourced ingredients and artisanal creations that pay homage to the region’s rich agricultural heritage. (My excellent Chicken Club sandwich and Sweet Potato fries, shown left.)

Hiking and Exploration: Lace up your hiking boots and set out to discover the beauty of Mt. Tabor Trails, a scenic oasis nestled between Round Barn and Tabor Hill. With over 3.5 miles of trails winding through vineyards and woodlands, it’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature.

Award-Winning Wines: Celebrate Tabor Hill’s recent triumphs at the International Eastern Wine Competition, where their Brut Rosé and Albariño clinched top honors, reaffirming the winery’s commitment to excellence and innovation. I have had the opportunity to sample the Brut Rosé and it is absolutely everything you’d expect from an award-winner, crisp, dry and the perfect accompaniment with a fine meal.

Weddings and Events: A permanent 4,000 square foot Estate Tent has been erected near the main Tabor Hill building including a pergola and 200 chairs. Two side cabana tents are included for bridal party use. Select vendors and catering make it a truly one-stop shop for all your ceremony and reception needs.

We then decamped over to the lively Round Barn Winery & Estate for their Sangria Weekend to enjoy the brilliant sunny day and all of their many outdoor activities.  The centerpiece of the place is, of course, the historic Round Barn itself, moved to its present location and reassembled by a skilled team of Amish artisans. It features a retail space and upper room perfect for relaxing and wintertime events.

Outside there are a number of locations ready for patrons to enjoy including an area full of family friendly games perfect for children to remain occupied while their parents sample the winery’s libations, food trucks with excellent snacks, and a number of private areas for private parties that can be secured by reservation. But many patrons just bring their own lawnchairs and set them up wherever they like where they can treat themselves to the winery’s many food and drink offerings while they listen to live music that is pumped in through the Winery’s installed sound system.  The Round Barn features:

Wine Tastings: Delight your senses with a flight of Round Barn’s award-winning wines, carefully curated to showcase the diverse terroir of the region. From crisp whites to full-bodied reds, each sip tells a story of passion and dedication. Matt especially recommends the Vineyard Red as a favorite of employees and patrons alike.

Craft Beer Exploration: For beer enthusiasts, Round Barn Brewery offers a tantalizing selection of handcrafted brews, ranging from classic ales to seasonal specialties. Immerse yourself in the art of brewing as you sample a pint of liquid gold straight from the tap.  I was fortunate enough to meet the Round Barn’s brewmaster and hear about some of this summer’s upcoming lineup including the new IPA debuting this weekend and the fact that all of the beers on offer are crafted using local hops grown in Michigan. There’s something exciting for every taste.

Spirit Sampling: Round Barn Distillery invites you to discover the rich flavors of Michigan’s Great Southwest with its unique collection of artisanal spirits. From smooth whiskeys to aromatic gins, each bottle is a testament to the distiller’s skill and expertise. There’s even a smooth limoncello for the summer months.

Live Music and Events: Experience the vibrant energy of Round Barn with live music performances, artisan markets, and seasonal festivities that celebrate the essence of Southwest Michigan’s wine country. There are multiple artists and bands on offer during the weekend days traveling from as far as Nashville to perform for the patrons.

Slightly down the road again is perhaps the Winery’s best-kept secret, the absolutely charming Free Run Vineyard and tasting room. This small venue is available for rental for events and features a tasting and outdoor spaces.  But it’s most notable for being the “experimental” winery in the lineup. And it’s yet another of the older buildings that’s been rehabilitated into something exciting and new.  It’s a very pleasant modern space and home of the only Sangoviese being produced in Michigan. Again, this wine is absolutely spectacular and well worth the trip to try it.

In the town of Baroda proper, the winery also runs a beer garden in the summer in the location of an old garden center and across the street, the very lovely Round Barn Brewery & Public House, which has begun serving breakfast this year along with its lunch and dinner menus.  You can enjoy a select menu of beer, wine and spirits along with finely crafted pub fare: sharables, sandwiches and specialty pizzas.

There’s so much on offer that you could easily spend several days exploring all of the various menus locations and certainly more than that to explore all the wines, beers and spirits.  Or you could make it a destination for several easy trips to get out of the city and into the lovely Michigan countryside.  Less than 10 miles from Warren Dunes, it makes a perfect stop after your day at the beach.

It’s truly a wine-lover and foodie’s dream with more varieties and special events added all the time. You should make it a destination for your next weekend away.

Learn more at the Moersch Hospitality Group Website.

All photos by Suzanne Magnuson.

Author

  • Suzanne Magnuson

    Professional writer with 20 plus years of experience. M.A., M.B.A. Travel Editor and Social Media Manager for Splash Magazines Worldwide. Senior Editor. Member of Advertising Team.

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About Suzanne Magnuson 138 Articles
Professional writer with 20 plus years of experience. M.A., M.B.A. Travel Editor and Social Media Manager for Splash Magazines Worldwide. Senior Editor. Member of Advertising Team.

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