When Pour Michigan Wine Barn opened its doors this past spring, owners Jeff and Brenda Miller had one goal in mind: to support local businesses. The Cedar Springs tasting room sells exclusively Michigan-made wines, featuring classics from makers like Chateau Grand Traverse and Black Star Farms and newer picks from Henderson Castle and Heavenly Vineyards.
“At 61, I’m a little too old to start my own vineyard, so we figured, ‘Let’s help out the small wineries and wine businesses in Michigan instead,’” Jeff says.
Here, he talks about the development of Pour Michigan’s local wine collection and what guests can expect from a day at the barn.
Q: What was the initial inspiration behind developing Pour Michigan Wine Barn? What drew you to open the barn in Michigan?
A: Brenda and I grew up in Michigan; we’ve lived here our whole lives. I’ve always loved the serenity of wineries and the quietness that comes when you go to them. I wanted to surround myself with that. We started the business so that we could act as a remote tasting room for small wineries and businesses across Michigan. It’s been a great way to support local businesses.
Q: You opened the tasting room this past spring. How has business been since then?
A: We opened a week before Memorial Day, and business has been phenomenal! They’re doing roadwork right out front — just what a small business needs right after COVID — but we’ve still been doing great. People love it because they can come here and taste wines from all over Michigan: Up North, down south, the middle, everywhere! They can come and compare different wines, and when they find something they really like, they might say, “Hey, I want to go visit this winery.”
Q: What do you like best about working with smaller wineries in Michigan? Have they been welcoming to you as you’ve entered the field?
A: I love the small wineries because they are small businesses just like us! They pour their hearts and souls into their dream; they have such passion and creativity with what they are making. The wineries like to work with us because we’re providing a remote tasting room for their wines. We literally have wineries that call us up to showcase their wines and to come be a part of our Bar Takeover series so that they can share their history with an audience.
Q: What can customers expect when they visit Pour Michigan Wine Bar?
A: A trip to Pour Michigan is full of a lot of fun and a lot of relaxation. We have great food, too, [and] phenomenal charcuterie. We even have a jerky plate and ice cream. There’s a firepit where we can do s’mores, and there are games outside as well. Our location is great because we are pretty far off the main road, so there’s no noise and beautiful scenery. The property is on a hill that looks out over an 8-acre duck pond, so you can have an amazing view while you enjoy the wine.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your Bar Takeover series. Do you have any other events coming up?
A: The Bar Takeover series gives the local businesses a chance to show off. We’re inviting people from the wineries to come down and take over the bar area. They can promote their wines and share the backstory of their business with our customers.
We have a lot of events: the Bar Takeover, a Halloween party, and our Thanksgiving Food Pairing. We’re going to have turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, all paired with wines that will complement them! Our Facebook page is a great spot to find any updates on upcoming events.