Winter on the Makers Trail will be even cooler this year! Many of our wineries, breweries and distilleries are creating unique seasonal outdoor experiences. With firepits, heated patios, private greenhouses or domes you can rent, rewards programs and more your winter tasting tour will be unlike any other. Read on for a list of all of the fun new things you’ll find on the trail this winter that will allow you to enjoy it safely.
Round Barn Winter Village
Round Barn Estate in Baroda has transformed its property to be outdoor friendly even in the wintertime. Reserve a private igloo that seats up to six people while you sample your favorite wines and cocktails. Plus, you can place an order with the nearby Round Barn Brewery & Public House and have appetizers or meals delivered right to your igloo door. Rentals are available in two-hour increments, Friday-Sunday, and include a dedicated server. The igloos are a comfortable temperature but aren’t heated so you’ll still want to dress warmly. Each igloo is fully sanitized with food-safe, medical-grade disinfectants between reservations.
If you don’t want to reserve an igloo, bring a blanket and snuggle up by one of the outdoor fire pits that seat up to four people. These are first come, first served so no reservation is necessary.
The estate also has a new trail system that connects Round Barn Estate to Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant called the Mt. Tabor Trails. You can hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski after grabbing your favorite drinks to go. The 3.5 miles of trails through the woods and vineyards will be beautiful after a fresh snowfall!
Dablon Winery & Vineyard
The Baroda-based winery offers a beautiful view of their vineyards from its outdoor patio that now has five private igloos and three greenhouses that are all heated. There is also an outdoor wine bar and fire pit to keep you toasty during your tasting. Your reservation fee for an igloo or greenhouse goes towards any wine purchases you make during your 1.5-hour reservation. Igloos seat up to six and greenhouses seat up to four and each one is sanitized between reservations to keep you safe. Make a reservation on Dablon’s website.
The Livery in Benton Harbor is offering a heated, covered outdoor beer garden and curbside to-go options so you can still enjoy your favorite Livery staples. It also has a fun new rewards program, the “Chillin' In The Beer Garden" punch pass. Purchase nine pints in the winterized beer garden throughout the month, receiving a punch with each pint, and then turn in your completed punch pass to receive your tenth pint for $1. You’ll also be entered into the monthly prize giveaway! Each completed pass equals one entry.
Hickory Creek Winery
Hickory Creek Winery in Buchanan has set up the “HCW Basecamp,“ a winterized tent with heaters, fire pits and cozy blankets for a fun outdoor wine tasting experience. Try mulled wine by the fire or socially distanced tables and don’t forget the s’mores! Ask for a s’mores kit for dessert and toast marshmallows over the fire pit.
North Pier Brewing Company
North Pier Brewing in Benton Harbor has its outdoor beer garden open with three igloos for rent Fridays through Sundays. They can each be rented in one-hour increments, with 15-minute gaps in between groups to properly sanitize. If one hour isn’t long enough you can reserve back-to-back time slots; each one costs $15. North Pier’s kitchen is currently closed but they have plenty of craft beer and cocktails and take-out is available at the local favorite, The North Shore Inn, across the street. Order a famous burger basket to enjoy in your private igloo with your favorite beverage. Reservations can be made on their website.
River Saint Joe
River Saint Joe is a new brewery in Buchanan that opened in 2020. It offers on-the-farm outdoor dining overlooking their hop fields with fire pits to keep you warm. It also has a fun, unique game, River Rocks, which is a shuffleboard-like game on ice you can safely play outdoors in their beer garden.
Lehman’s Farmhouse in downtown Buchanan serves craft-made beers, wines, ciders, whiskey, gin and brandies. It has a full-service restaurant and sells local products in their farmhouse store, including jams, jellies, pies and desserts made from fruits grown at Lehman’s Orchard. It currently has a heated patio open for outdoor dining with a peaceful setting overlooking the creek. This is a great spot to enjoy locally made products made from fresh produce!
Niles Outdoor Dining Experience
The NODE is a new outdoor dining experience in downtown Niles. It’s located on Main and Second Street, with sections of the street blocked off for dining. It has socially distanced picnic tables and a fire pit that is lit during lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. for dinner. Order takeout, to-go cocktails or craft beer from Iron Shoe Distillery or Niles Brewing Company and enjoy it outdoors by the fire.
Arclight Brewing Company
Bundle up by the fire and enjoy your favorite sours at Arclight! This downtown Watervliet brewery has a fire pit set up in their outdoor beer garden and will occasionally have food trucks on site. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Haymarket in Bridgman also has their fires going! Order a six-pack and a wood-fired pizza to indulge in out in their beer garden. Order online here.
Get some fresh air on Vineyard 2121’s heated patio overlooking its vineyard in Benton Harbor. They now serve beer, wine, cider and food! Check Vineyard 2121’s Facebook page for dinner specials you can enjoy safely outdoors. The patio is warm but dress in layers to stay comfortable.
Earn Rewards at Each Stop
Don’t forget to have your Makers Trail passport stamped at each location! Every stamp you collect goes toward a reward. Redeem 10 stamps for a Makers Trail t-shirt, 20 stamps for a Makers Trail hoodie, 30 stamps for two Makers Trail Festival tickets and entry to our grand prize drawing, and earn a bonus prize for staying overnight at one of our hotels.
Bring Home Your Favorites
While not all wineries, breweries and distilleries along the Makers Trail currently offer outdoor dining, most have take-out or curbside pickup options available so don’t pass them up during your visit! You can still earn a Makers Trail passport stamp for making a purchase. See the full list of breweries, wineries and distilleries in our area here.