Several weekends ago, we headed up for a weekend to Union Pier, Michigan, one of our favorite getaway destinations near Chicago. On the way, we stopped at our first Indiana winery, Anderson's, then continued on to Benton Harbor, Michigan, for a tasting at a newer winery in the area, 12 Corners. The 12 Corners referenced are the intersection of 3 roads: the Red Arrow Highway, North Benton Center Road, and Euclid-Hicks Road(s). While they also have a tasting room in South Haven, we always prefer to go to the source, when possible.
"12 Corners Vineyards was started by a small group of friends who grew up in Michigan and recognized the uniqueness of a site just four miles off Michigan's famed "Gold Coast". The hamlet of Twelve Corners, Michigan is our namesake. We have a 115-acre estate planted with both vinifera and hybrid grapes. Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer are but a sampling of the varieties we offer as wines for your pallet's [sic] pleasure."
We counted 23 wines on their tasting menu, pretty ambitious, with a mix of grape and fruit represented. All grapes are sourced from other sites within the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, with 2013 being their first harvest of estate-grown grapes. It will be interesting to see whether using their own grapes will result in any significant changes. With wines vinified from dry to ultra-sweet, most people will find something to like. At $5 for 5 Tastes (including a glass and complimentary chocolate), we tried 10 different wines. Funny enough, Laima and I liked exactly opposite wines, which just shows that having plenty of options is good. One odd thing is that the winery charges for the tasting (which other wineries in the area also do) and hand out stemless glasses to take home (I'm not a fan of stemless wineglasses), but there is no incentive to bring them back, as at the other wineries. Something for them to think about.
12 Corners is a good addition to the Lake Michigan Shore AVA -- beautiful building, lush vineyards, and easily seen (and gotten to) from the Interstate (I-94). Definitely worth a stop.
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