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Ultimate Guide to Michigan Wine Country

Michigan Shore Wine Trail

The Michigan Shore Wine Trail is a strip of about a dozen wineries along Lake Michigan, nestled close together. It's in the southwest region of Michigan wine country, and some call it "The Napa Valley of the Midwest." This wine trail is a great place to spend a long weekend or day trip. Not only will you enjoy the various wineries along the way, but some excellent restaurants as well.

Start your journey in Saugatuck, a charming community dotted with art galleries, eateries and -- of course -- wineries. Then continue working your way south through South Haven, Coloma, Benton Harbor and Bridgman. End to end, it's about a 60-mile (96.5-kilometer) journey. But you'll want to stop off and enjoy the sights of the sand dunes along Lake Michigan, as well as enjoy some of the area restaurants. Cottages and bed-and-breakfasts sprinkled along the Wine Trail offer various types of accommodations, from romantic getaways to family resorts to theme packages, like murder-mystery weekends.

Native varieties of grapes, like Concord and Niagara, make up about 3 percent of Michigan's wine grapes. You'll find the majority of these grapes used in grape juice. Finally, you'll find hybrid varieties of grapes, which make up about 35 percent of Michigan's wine grapes. Growers often cross European varieties with North American varieties because they're more resistant to the cold. These include Vignoles, Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Chancellor, Marechal Foch, Chardonel and Traminette.

Whatever variety you like, a Michigan winery most likely makes it. Thirsty for more? Check out the links on the next page.