Paw Paw, about 25 minutes west of Kalamazoo, is such a hidden gem for wine lovers (like me)! Eric's band booked shows here at a local country venue for two nights, so I decided to make a weekend out of it and explore the area. I really had no idea that Paw Paw is in the heart of Michigan's grape country! Wine is 100% my beverage of choice. I'm typically a sweet drinker, and I was pleasantly surprised at the vast sweet options offered at all of the wineries we visited! But wine tasting is so much fun, and you're able to have a little sample of each of the wines you're curious about. We visited St. Julian Winery, Warner Vineyards, Lawton Ridge Winery and Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery.
ST. JULIAN WINERY
Our first stop was to St. Julian Winery! This is Michigan's oldest winery and has been family-owned since the beginning. They offer over 50 varieties of wine! This winery is located right in the "hustle and bustle" of Paw Paw. It was a quick mile from our hotel, and they were open until 7pm, which I loved! We got there, explored the grounds for a bit, snapped a few pictures, and headed inside for tasting! Eric prefers beer/cider over wine, so it's nice when there are some cider options for him to try too! But we both ended up loving their Sweet Nancie Peach and Sholom, which is a sweet concord wine, and brought a couple of bottles home with us. Plus, if you can get Jennifer, she was amazing! So sweet, knowledgeable and gave us a few extra tastes of wine. Definitely a favorite winery in Michigan.
Our next stop was right next door at Warner Vineyards. Warner Vineyards is the second oldest winery in Michigan. One of my favorite things about this winery was the grounds. Beautifully landscaped, with a creek running through the property. Built in 1898, their building was originally built as a waterworks station for the village of Paw Paw. Warner purchased the structure in 1967, and restored it to what it is today. They have outdoor seating, a beautiful stage with live music, and so much beautiful greenery and flowers to enjoy! Our favorite wine we brought home was the Peach and Honey. So tasty!
Lawton Ridge Winery
Lawton Ridge Winery was our third stop on the Paw Paw winery tour. It's about a 15-minute drive from Warner Vineyards, closer east toward Kalamazoo. Lawton Ridge was a bit smaller than the first two wineries, and had a smaller selection of wines, but they were incredibly delicious nonetheless. They've been growing grapes and operating since 1974 and opened their tasting room in 2008. Our favorite wine here was their Sweetheart Red. Typically I'm a Moscato gal (sweet white) but after this trip, I think I'm more of a sweet red gal! I ended up buying three bottles of sweet reds from each of the wineries!
CODY KRESTA VINEYARD AND WINERY
Cody Kresta was our fourth and final stop on our Paw Paw wine tour. It was about a 10-minute drive from Lawton Ridge. Cody Kresta is a small, family-owned winery focused on hand-crafted wines at their 1882 homestead (which is absolutely beautiful). The landscaping, the grounds, and the outdoor patio are worth the trip alone, let alone, the tasty wine! Their inside tasting room is very tuscan-inspired. Eric and I opted to sit on their outdoor patio because it was such a beautiful day. My favorite wine ended up being a sweet red again, and I think this was my favorite sweet red of them all - 2014 Rudy's Red Semi-Sweet Red Wine. SO yum! I even had a glass after our tasting because I loved it so much.
I hope you enjoyed the little southwest Michigan wine tour, and hopefully if you're local, you can take the adventure for yourself! I know Traverse City and St. Joseph area are more well-known, but I'd honestly have to say, the wines here are tastier! I've never brought home so many bottles of wine. Our rack is going to be full for quite some time! Plus, we're headed off to Traverse City this summer as well! I love that Michigan is the best for so many of my favorite things. Wines, lighthouses, beautiful beaches, fun cities, incredible views, and all four very distinct seasons. I'm a happy Michigander, that's for sure.