Follow the trail to award-winning wines

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 visitors.
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 visitors.

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

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.

Cherry Creek Winery, in an old schoolhouse, is in close proximity to Michigan International Speedway.
Cherry Creek Winery, in an old schoolhouse, is in close proximity to Michigan International Speedway.

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.
grapes-plentiful-1024x685

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.
Pioneer 3

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.
PioneerWineTrail_Rackcard_2

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 Pioneer Wine Trail also hosts many events throughout the year including The Big Grape Bus Tour on Oct. 31, when participants will travel to each winery by motor coach and experience wine and food pairings. 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.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog somedaycowgirl.blogspot.com

Pioneer Wine Trail Locations
www.pioneerwinetrail.com

Burgdorf’s Winery
5635 Shoeman Rd., Haslett, Mich.

Chateau Aeronautique Winery
1849 Rives-Eaton Rd., Jackson, Mich.

Cherry Creek Cellars
11000 Silver Lake Hwy., Brooklyn, Mich.
2199 North Concord Rd., Albion, Mich.

Flying Otter Winery
3402 Chase Rd., Adrian, Mich.

J. Trees Cellars
703 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, Mich.

Lone Oak Vineyard Estate
8400 Ann Arbor Rd., Grass Lake, Mich.

Pentamere Winery
131 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh, Mich.

Sandhill Crane Vineyards
4724 Walz Rd., Jackson, Mich.
3685 Central Dexter, Mich. (fall only)