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It might not be Napa or Tuscany, but the American Midwest has some amazing wineries worth visiting too. With fertile farmland, temperate weather, and a hard-working spirit, Midwestern vineyards are producing some delicious wines and offering guests a friendly place to taste and explore.
Often-overlooked wineries in Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Ohio make for great weekend road trips throughout the summer months. Wineries and vineyards here often host festivals, live music performances, and meal pairing events to connect with the growers of these beloved grapes. So if you’re now a little curious about what Midwestern wine really tastes like, these are some of the best wineries in the Midwest to start planning your visit.
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Operated by the Lawlor family, the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery has been winning lots of awards for its red wines, fruit wines, and mead. The Lawlors got into winemaking back in the 1970s and now grow 22 different specialty grapes and produce 40 varieties of winemaking an impressive 60,000 gallons of wine each year! You can take a tour of the vineyard, and there’s even a guest suite and guest house onsite to stay overnight. If you’re spending time in historic downtown Galena, you can visit the downtown tasting room and sip some samples on the shaded patio.
St. Julian Winery has been producing wine at its present location in Paw Paw, Michigan since 1936. This winery works with growers in Southwest Michigan to grow and produce grapes – all locally grown within a 45-minute radius of the winery! Here you can find everything from cabernet sauvignon to merlot, chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling, and many more varieties. You can take a tour of the main winery in Paw Paw. Book a standard tasting with six samples along with a complimentary logo glass to bring home.
Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant is located in the Michigan town of Buchanan in Lake Michigan shore’s wine country. This winery specializes in dry white wines, dry red wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines. You can enjoy a wine tasting and choose from a full menu of Tabor Hill favorites, including six wines and a souvenir glass. There’s also a sip and savor trolley experience, with two hours traveling to Tabor Hill Winery, Round Barn Winery, Distillery and Brewery.
Another local favorite winery in Michigan is the Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery in the beautiful area of Traverse City. There’s a lot to see and do in this area for couples seeking a romantic escape and families traveling with kids. Travelers consistently love Brys Estate because its wines rival those grown in the world’s top winemaking regions, the staff is friendly, and the grounds are lovely too. The tasting room offers tasting that includes samples of four wines. You can even reserve the 1,100-square-foot guesthouse and stay overnight while enjoying views of the 91-acre estate and vineyards.
For a truly relaxing day in Ohio, head to Harpersfield Vineyard, which offers wine tastings and serves locally-grown dishes in the restaurant. This vineyard has been operating since 1979 and produces Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Gruner Veltiner wines. The wine farm also has an on-site restaurant that serves seasonal dishes and summertime favorites include smoked trout, cabernet braised beef crostini, hearty wraps, and flatbread pizza. Check the website’s music calendar to see if a band will be playing when you visit!
One of the best places to sample wine in Missouri is the Stone Hill Winery in Hermann. The winemaking tradition is strong in this region because German winemakers arrived in the area in the 1800s and there are over 80 wineries in the area today. Hermann is about 90 minutes from St. Louis, but a worthwhile day trip if you’re visiting the area. There’s a bed & breakfast on site with quaint cottages near the vineyards and Missouri River. The winery spans 182 acres and offers on site tours. You can also sample Stone Hill wines at the Vintage Restaurant in Hermann, the winery location in Branson, and the winery location in New Florence, Missouri.
Ackerman Winery is located inside the historic Amana Colonies region of Iowa, making it a great stop while sightseeing and dining in the area. The tasting bar offers complimentary samples of some of the most exotic varieties around. This is the oldest operating winery in the state of Iowa and has won national competitions for its fruit wines. This is a great place to try unique types of wine, such as Dandelion, Mango, and Pomegranate as well as Red Raspberry, Blackberry and Lover’s Wine which is a blend of Cranberries and Plum.
One of the very best places for wine lovers to visit in Indiana is the Oliver Winery & Vineyards. The story of this winery began in the 1960s, and it opened to the public in 1972. This winery specializes in dry red and white, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dessert, and sparkling wines. You can visit the tasting room surrounded by tranquil gardens and wooded landscape, and you can reserve a picnic spread.
Wollersheim Winery offers one of the very best winery tours in the Midwest, and this Wisconsin winery is open year-round. Wollersheim makes a lot of dry red and white wines, but some sweet and semi-sweet wines too. The winery is located in a very beautiful and historic area of the state, and it’s actually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Samples of featured wines are complimentary, while red and white flight tastings are available. While you’re in the area, check out the scenic Devil’s Lake State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, or Mirror Lake State Park – all prime spots for outdoor recreation!