Michigan Wine Series: Sandhill Crane Vineyard

Sandhill Crane Vineyard is a beautiful family owned winery in Jackson County Michigan.   Even though the winery is nestled into the countryside it is still just 5 minutes off of I-94 making it very easy to get to.  They are one of several Wineries that make up  the Pioneer Wine Trail.


Starting this Winery when he retired was the next step for wine making hobbyist, Norman Moffatt.  He had been making wine for years, but as his family became involved, it turned into a business.

Norm Moffatt

Normans daughter Holly Balansag is the Wine Maker and daughter Heather Price heads up the Cafe and Business side. But everyone who works there or visits regularly truly BECOMES part of the Sandhill Crane family.  It is an incredibly welcoming and inviting place.

Wine Maker – Holly Balansag


The Winery is open Wednesday through Saturday 11-7 and Sundays 12-6.  It is also open  until 10pm on Fridays from May until October. Tastings are $6 for 8 pours.  You can also order wine by the glass or bottle to enjoy on the lovely wrap around deck.


Sandhill Crane Vineyards has an onsite Cafe that offers appetizers and foods that pair well with wine.  They are proud to say that all the food in the Cafe is house made and locally sourced.

Try a Build your own Charcuterie Board.  My husband and I enjoy customizing a board and pairing it with a bottle of wine to share out on the deck.


Our Build Your Own Charcuterie Board


Their vineyard is planted with Cold hearty hybrids that can stand up to the often harsh Michigan winters. Sandhill makes all of their wines from Michigan fruit and grapes.  Although not all of the grapes are grown on site, those that aren’t are sourced from no further than 2 hours down the road.  Several of their wines, however,  are made from all Estate grown grapes.

Chambourcin Grapes growing in the SCV Vineyard

Holly and Team have won many awards over the years for their amazing wines.  She creates well crafted small batch wines ranging from beefy reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chancellor (my favorite) to classic whites like Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio.  Holly also makes several Fortified wines and a barrel aged Port style Wine.

Sandhill Crane Vineyards Award Winning Wines

People also look forward to the releases of Night of the Living Red a sweet spiced red blend and Revenge of the Living Red which is fermented with hot peppers. They come out  each year around Halloween and just to keep things fun, the bottles get new Zombie themed labels each year designed by Holly’s daughter Lani.

Night of the Living Red & Revenge of the Living Red



Sandhill Crane offers a wide array of fun Events and live music.

  • Late night Fridays – open until 10pm May through October
  • Second Sunday Jazz Brunch – the second Sunday every month
  • Raspberry Festival, Wine & Wool Festival, Jazz and Mead Festival
  • Wine & Yoga Classes
  • Running Through The Vines (Races sponsored by Running Fit)
  • Dinner Theatre & Cabaret (done in conjunction with local Performance Groups)
  • Wine Releases parties
  • Holiday Events

The Sandhill Crane Winery even has a Private Events Room with a Bar and Stage that is perfect for hosting Showers, Birthdays, Meetings and Receptions (with food Service by the Cafe).  There is also a great spot in the Vineyard that is ideal for holding Weddings.

Final Thoughts

When you visit Sandhill Crane Vineyards, not only will you will find stellar food and fabulous wines, you will also discover a staff who are very knowledgeable and who really care about your Guest Experience. They are a fun loving and mischievous bunch who will become some of your best friends if you aren’t careful.

I hope you get a chance to visit them soon!







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