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Dablon Winery and Vineyard
Kathy Sullivan

Dablon Winery and VineyardSummary: Dablon Winery and Vineyards is located in Baroda, Michigan. This adult-only winery is located amid vineyards. In addition to a tasting counter, it offers visitor seating near a stone fireplace and on the large outdoor patio. Among the numerous wines they offer, many are produced from estate grown grapes.

We enjoyed a delightful walk with Rudy Shafer and Chad Hartline, winemakers and vineyardists for Dablon. It was a beautiful spring day as Rudy and Chad took time to show us the extent of the vineyards at Dablon. We learned that they grew up on farms nearby the present site of Dablon. Therefore, they knew the climate and the soils of the region. Rudy grew up on a peach, apple and juice grape farm. Later he worked in the construction business. They also enjoyed home brewing and winemaking. They were able to turn their passion for brewing and winemaking into a career.


Dablon Winery and VineyardRudy and Chad talked about the Lake Michigan effect that moderates the spring and winter temperatures. These help the grapes in the vineyard. According to Rudy and Chad, the first vineyards were planted in 2009. Currently, the vineyard is planted with Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbac, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. The Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted one meter apart. They believe that this close planting gives the fruit from the vines more intensity. To protect the vines from the deep cold of winter, they protect the vines with straw. At harvest time, the grapes are hand harvested. At the time of our May visit, new growth was showcased.


Dablon Winery and VineyardAfter our walk through the vineyards, we walked through the winery. Today Dablon is producing 8,500 to 10,000 cases. Stainless steel tanks adorn the production space while wine rests in oak barrels. One unique setting has a table for two made from an oak barrel. The table is set next to rows of barrels stacked four high. It is a romantic setting in a non-romantic production area.

Tasting Room

The stone stairs from the parking area to the entrance are beautiful but steep. There is also a dropoff and handicapped parking near the entrance. The tall grayish building blends in well with the country environment. The facility is surround by vineyards. At the back of the tasting room a large patio is available for enjoying warm weather and vineyard views while sipping Dablon wine.

Dablon Winery and VineyardThe tasting room includes two large, leather sofas in front of a stone fireplace. Tables are also available for enjoying a glass of wine and conversation. Rustic-style chandeliers add to the ambiance of the room. The tasting counter is granite with green and brown colors.

Dablon Winery and VineyardBe sure to notice the tall column that showcases the type of soils in the vineyards. The types of soils are clearly marked with: Chalk, Limestone, Granite, Quartz, Flint, Gravel, Monitor Loam, Riddles-Oshtemo Complex and Ockley Loam.

We tasted wines in Riedel stemware. We discovered the reason behind the name Dablon. A back wine label notes, “Claude Dablon, French explorer and Jesuit priest, was one of the first Europeans to arrive in Michigan when it was still a part of New France in the 1600s. History describes Father Dablon making wine from grapes he found in the New World. Today, we honor him with our wine as we explore and realize the potential of marrying French varietals with our terroir to make extraordinary wine.” Father Dablon's image is on the front label of the Dablon series of wine bottles.


Dablon’s portfolio includes dry whites, dry rosé, dry reds, semi sweet and sweet wines. In addition to the Dablon wines, the winery also produces another line of wine, Music Box, named for their sister company located in Chicago. Music Box wines are produced with grapes sourced from SW Michigan, California and Washington.

The Chardonnay 2012 Moraine Vineyards Lake Michigan Shore AVA estate grown was a yellow color. The aroma was of apple with some tropical fruit notes. The wine was full-bodied. The finish was crisp with notes of fruit and mineral. Riesling Dablon Vineyards 2015 was off-dry. The pale yellow wine offered notes of floral and peach. The medium-bodied wine had peach and honeysuckle notes. The finish was dry.

Dablon Winery and VineyardPinot Noir Rosé Lake Michigan Shore AVA Dablon Vineyards 2016 was an orange-red color. This wine was produced with fermentation beginning after 20 hours of cold soaking. The aroma offered light red berry fruit. The taste had notes of strawberry with a hint of citrus. The wine was medium-bodied and had a very smooth mouthfeel. The finish was crisp, fruity and cleansing.

Pinot Noir Moraine Vineyards Lake Michigan Shore AVA 2012 estate grown was a translucent red color with a dark orange hue. The wine offered red berry and spice aromas. The taste was medium/full-bodied with chewy bold tannins. There were notes of mineral, cherry and cloves. The fruit yielded to mineral on the aftertaste. Pinot Noir Lake Michigan Shore Dablon Vineyards 2013 was cold-soaked for three days. This wine was a translucent dark red color. The wine had an aroma of pepper, raspberry and cloves. The taste was dry with bold tannins and notes of raspberries and cloves.The finish was long.

Sweet Riesling Lake Michigan Shore AVA Dablon Vineyard 2016 had a residual sugar of 8% (80 g/l). The delightful pale yellow colored wine offered notes of sweetness and yellow stone fruit especially peach.

Enjoy a visit to Dablon Winery and Vineyard. Plan to spend some time relaxing in the tasting room or outside on the patio.

Dablon Winery and Vineyard
111 W Shawnee Rd
Baroda, Michigan 49101

GPS: N41º 56.6826’ W86º 27.3750’



Article written June 2017







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