Family Winery Opens Vineyard-View Café and Banquet Room

Michigan's 92 wineries provide wildly diverse tasting experiences


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Michigan's 92 wineries provide wildly diverse tasting experiences. I relish the differences – from the unembellished tasting room where the winemaker personally pours and sells artisan wines to the bustling winery destination that entices you to order wine by the glass and leisurely linger over deliciously prepared local foods.

Just recently, the Moffatt family of Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson expanded their tasting room to create an even more exciting destination for wine, food, and special events. An expansive, wrap-around deck amid the vineyards encourages gatherings with friends over a bottle of wine. Live music on "Thirsty Thursdays" through Aug. 16 includes acoustical guitar, Celtic, honky-tonk, and country-soul sounds. A new onsite café provides the accompaniments to the award-winning wines. Goat cheese and tomato crostini, Michigan salad with dried cherries, and hearty sandwiches made with Zingerman's artisan bread are a sampling of offerings. Dessert selections include strawberry-topped ricotta cake, made with local Greystone Creamery cheese.

The Moffatts showcase their use of more than 25 local purveyors on a massive blackboard in the café. The family is dedicated to using ingredients from their farm and the surrounding region. Winemaker Holly Balansag, daughter of founding patriarch Norman Moffatt, crafts more than 40 types of wine in the cellar tucked below the tasting room. On the west end of the building is an intimate new banquet room available for private parties and special events. Pine trusses and sky-high windows mimic a charming barn interior, while numerous French doors invite plenty of light and viewing of the verdant vineyard and farmland landscape. A raised platform is perfect for highlighting a wedding party or live entertainment. A private bar is handy for service, wines by the glass, and special tastings.

The Moffatts have created a gem of a destination, just minutes off I-94 and easily accessible from Ann Arbor and metro Detroit. An escape to the vineyards is closer than you think.

This Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, Sandhill Crane Vineyards and eight additional wineries of the Pioneer Wine Trail in southeast Michigan are hosting their first-ever Summer Solstice Wine Release Party. Each winery will feature a new wine release and fresh dish by a local chef. Get the details here.

Sharon Kegerreis is co-author of the award-winning From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries and The History of Michigan Wines. Learn more and get autographed books at deliciousmichigan.com.
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