Wine is best enjoyed with food, and many Michigan wineries make sure visitors don’t leave hungry.
Most commonly, wineries offer a snack menu, such as a cheese tray or charcuterie board. Some collaborate with chefs for special event dinners with multiple courses designed to showcase their wines. A few have their own restaurants. And at least one winery does all of the above.
Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant, Buchanan
Open year-round in the southwest corner of Michigan, the full-service dining room at Tabor Hill features an eclectic menu to enjoy with its collection of wines. Its sister property, Round Barn Estate, serves a hearty snack menu with its craft brews, wines and liquors. On warm weather weekends, during the two-hour Sip + Savor Tour, a trolley shuttles between the locations. taborhill.com
Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay
Black Star Farms puts just as much care into the food experience as it does with its award-winning wine portfolio. Periodic prix-fixe dinners, set in the boutique B&B Inn or, weather permitting, in the vineyard, are inspired by seasonal ingredients from northern Michigan. Reserve a spot early, as they always sell out.
But not to worry if you can’t snag a seat. Grabbing a bite at Black Star Farms (BSF) during the summer months is easy and delicious. The fresh, farm-to-table menu at the casual Hearth & Vine Café draws from local artisan food purveyors as well as the winery’s large vegetable garden. Soups, salads and sandwiches are on offer, but the star of the show is the pizza—or more specifically, its unique crust “that brings people back for it,” says BSF owner Sherri Campbell Fenton.
The thin crust is made from grape skin flour, a delicious way to turn wine waste into treasure. Toppings could be various combinations of wild mushrooms, garden veggies and house-cured meats. The potato and bacon version features a fromage blanc from nearby Leelanau Cheese.This gourmet bargain is perfect for enjoying alongside a craft cocktail, glass of cider or one of BSF’s award-winning wines—may we suggest the internationally-lauded dry riesling?
On Thursday evenings in the summer, the chefs fire up the outdoor kettle for a Great Lakes fish boil, with aromas luring visitors from the nearby wine tasting room. Occasional paella nights are popular, as well as a Sunday brunch, for which reservations are highly recommended. An event calendar is available on the website. blackstarfarms.com
Fenton Winery & Brewery, Fenton
Just south of Flint, Fenton Winery & Brewery has a year-round taproom with a pub menu and an outdoor wine and beer garden open in the summer. For a decadent experience, try the house chocolate tasting board with a glass of port. fentonbrewery.com
Near the Lake Michigan shore south of Saugatuck, Crane’s is as midwestern as apple pie, which it serves up alongside its wines and ciders. The flagship of the family- run agri-enterprise is the pie pantry, where flights of pie can be enjoyed with flights of wine and/or cider, an experience that is uniquely Michigan. cranespiepantry.com
Photo: Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant