Fresh back from the 13th annual Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival at the Warren Dunes State Park in Southwest Michigan. It being my first wine fest, I didn't know exactly what to expect. Arriving in the early afternoon we were in a line up of cars three rows wide with license plates mostly from Indiana surprisingly enough. After about 20 minutes in line we checked in and drove up to the main parking lot in-between the dunes and beach. It was around 88 degrees with a UV index of 9 out of 10 at the dunes. We decided to walk down to the water before heading over to the will call tent.
Knowing we were hungry we stopped at one of the food trucks to grab a quesadilla and water to fill our bellies before sampling wine. It is important to have food in your stomach, especially when sampling different styles of wine.
Approaching the huge wine tent we had to pick up our wristbands and wine glasses from the will call tent and purchase tickets for samples. I was surprised that most of the tastes were two tickets compared to one. One ticket is $1 so that means most of the samples were $2. Some of the wineries have the samples based on popularity and quality. You can get a glass full of wine, beer or cider for 6 to 10 tickets.
There were a few other vendors in the roped off section that had different dips, chocolate, other products and wine slushies! Unfortunately by the time we arrived they were all out of the wine slushies.
We wanted to taste wine from wineries and vineyards we have not had time to visit when traveling through Michigan. These included Gravity, Fenn Valley, Cogdal, Contessa, and Vintner's. It was almost too hot to try the red wine, but some of them were actually quite light and surprisingly went well with the hot conditions. After almost getting overheated in the tent we ventured out to regroup.
After comparing the wines we sampled, we decided to sample some more wine from places we have been to use the rest of our tickets. Hitting Round Barn, Fenn Valley again, Baroda Founders and 12 Corners, we were all out! It was a fun experience, but very loud, me being a quiet guy made it hard for the pourers to hear me and all of the noise from other people and the live music made it hard for me to hear what they were saying. Also, you couldn't really get a good look at the bottle you were tasting, the pace was much faster than when you would be tasting at the winery itself. The pace was really fast so it was hard for me to actually remember what wine I had tried.
However, being my first Lake Michigan Shore Wine Fest, I had a great time! The weather was hot and sunny, the best kind of weather and everyone seemed to be having a great time! I mean who isn't in a great mood when there is great Michigan wine for them to try? I really liked the Warren Dunes location and I hope it stays there. The Warren Dunes brings back memories from when I was a kid running up and down the sand dunes all the way to the water and back!
Now we can enjoy great wine and fun each year at the dunes! Be on the lookout for my favorite wine from the wine fest on "Mark's Top Wine Pick of the Week" this Friday. Keep on enjoying that Michigan wine! Yum and cheers!