Successful Wine Tours – Wine Tours
Discover the vineyards of southwest Michigan through fruitful wine tours
Screenwriter / Julie Yates
From spring through fall, Southwest Michigan is a popular destination for those who appreciate beautiful beach sunsets, niche shops, crafts, and unique restaurants. Visitors to the New Buffalo and St. Joseph area have the wonderful option of touring a cluster of wineries. Fruitful Vine Tours offer an exceptionally fun and stress-free way to experience an afternoon of wine tasting.
Two types of tours are available, plus private booking. The Wine-O-Wagon with its padded seats and top cover is perfect for those who like to be in the fresh air. The Vino Coach is a closed luxury vehicle. Both have multiple pickup locations from hotels and other locations in New Buffalo, St. Joseph, and Stevensville. Fourteen people can be accommodated on each all-inclusive tour, which includes all tasting fees for three wineries plus lunch.
“One thing I wish I had known earlier in my life is that Southwest Michigan is about two hours and 15 minutes north of Hamilton County,” says owner Dan Madden. “You just got on US 31, have a good ride, get out and hang your feet in Lake Michigan.”
All tours must be pre-booked through the company‘the website. Customers specify a preferred vehicle and Fruitful Vine Tours does the rest of the work. Reservations are made for lunch at local restaurants and wineries are chosen based on their ability to accommodate the group on the selected day. The 14 seats can be reserved by a single party, but it‘It is not uncommon for three or four groups to share the wagon or coach.
“At the first stop, everyone is best friends,” Madden says. “One of the greatest tours we’ve ever had was half nurses and half teachers. This‘It’s a great activity for mothers and daughters, couples and to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays. We take care of our passengers by transporting and monitoring all the cases of wine they buy.
Visits begin in the late morning. Wine-O-Wagon passengers are picked up by one of the coaches and transported to their first winery, where their wagon meets them. The wagon riders then visit wineries on back roads and among fields. Coach tours allow you to cover a greater circumference. Venues for any given day may include 12 Corners Vineyards, Baroda Founders Wine Cellar, Gravity Vineyards and Winery, Hickory Creek Winery, Lemon Creek Winery, Local Pour, Shamrock Station Brewery & Winery, Vineyard 2121, and Lake Michigan College‘s Welch Center for Wine and Viticulture. Lunch options include Baroda Tap and Grille, The Local, and The Strand.
“The goal is to have fun, feel safe and have a good time,” says Madden. “This‘a memory maker.