Driving into Michigan on Interstate 94, one of the first exits you come to, number 6, is home to the tasting room for the Round Barn Winery and Free Run Cellars (St. Julian has a tasting room next door). After working as winemaker at Tabor Hill until 1991, Rick Moersch opened Heart of the Vineyard Winery in August of 1992. In 1997, the Moersch family transported and rebuilt a turn-of-the century Amish Round Barn from rural Indiana--this historic building was the perfect home for the round copper pot still-- good "spirits" should be created in a structure where legend says that 'with no corners, evil spirits cannot hide.' The Moerschs changed the name in 2004 from "Heart of the Vineyard" to the "The Round Barn Winery." Along with wine, brandy and vodka, the Moerschs began brewing beer in 2007. Along with the Round Barn Winery wines, beers, and spirits for tasting, one can also taste wine from "Free Run Cellars," a boutique winery that specializes in producing single vineyard designate wines, launched in July 2006 by Matthew and Christian Moersch.
While their wine is certainly good and quite representative of the region, their beer is really outstanding. Generous pours and a reasonable price make the short walk to the back of the parking lot worthwhile.
So the next time you are heading up Interstate 94 in Southwest Michigan, take the time to swing off and taste some wine, beer, and spirits. Just a short trip up Union Pier Road is Milda's Corner Store, where you can stock up for a picnic lunch and then walk down to the public beach before continuing your trip.
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