One-tank trips aren’t just for the summer. There is no better time in the Midwest to take a one-day drive or weekend trip than the fall and enjoy locally made wines. You might even catch some fall harvesting action!
You can find wine trail maps for Indiana and all surrounding states readily available on the internet. In this column, I’ll recommend a southern Indiana trip and an easily-accessible Michigan trip.
Huber Orchard, Winery, & Vineyards in southern Indiana is a real destination year-round. But during the fall they have a Fall Festival with live music, lots of special activities, and big crowds. The kids can pick out their Halloween jack-o-lantern while Mom and Dad enjoy Spiced Apple Wine or Fall Sangria.
Plan your day so you can go a quarter mile down the road to Joe Huber’s Family Farm & Restaurant for lunch or dinner. If Huber’s doesn’t have the best fried chicken, served family style, you’ve ever had then I want to know where you found better.
Another great Indiana wineries is nearby Turtle Run, west of Corydon. The folks there also have a bounty of fall activities and some of the most interesting wines you’re going to taste in the Hoosier State. One thing I like about Turtle Run is you’ll find wines there you’re not going to taste elsewhere. Turtle Run and Hubers make good dry wines to go with the expected sweeter wines you find all over Indiana.
Other fun trips would be to French Lick or Brown County wineries, maybe with a short run down to I-64 to take in Winzerwald. Oliver Winery is the state’s most popular but a good day trip would also include a visit to Butler Winery nearby. Or if you want to visit the Indianapolis area go to Easley Winery downtown and Chateau Thomas Winery just off I-70 in Plainfield.
For readers in the northern half of the state, or those a bit more adventurous, there are great Michigan wineries not far from the Indiana border. I’d recommend you visit a small cluster of wineries situated between Highway 31 and I-94 around Baroda and Buchanan for an easy day trip.
Round Barn Winery, Tabor Hill Winery, Domaine Berrien, and Lemon Creek Winery are all within a couple miles of each other. I visited all but Lemon Creek this summer. Round Barn also has a brewery so you can taste their wines and handcrafted beers. The winery tasting room is in an old Round Barn purchased in Fulton County, Indiana, and moved up to Baroda, MI.
The drive from Merrillville to the Baroda area is just over an hour. From Michigan City, it is under 45 minutes to these four wineries.
Round Barn makes some great dessert wines and a fabulous Gewurztraminer. Domaine Berrien does some Old World varietals you won’t find anywhere else in the Midwest. Go to Tabor Hill for the fabulous Norman Love chocolates and their lighter-style wines.
The links to all of these sites are listed below. You can read about the wineries, check out the maps and plan your trip. If you want to experience the Midwest’s best wines in Northern Michigan, it’s not a one day trip but drop me a line and I’d be happy to make some recommendations. That will also be a future column.
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine for 12 Indiana newspapers, a national wine blog – Palate Press, and his own wine blog at: http://www.redforme.blogspot.com
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