Frequently Asked Questions
Where in Michigan are you?
Southwest Michigan...We are 90 minutes from downtown Chicago; 30 minutes from South Bend, Indiana; one hour from Kalamazoo; and 1.5 hours from Grand Rapids. Towns to stay in include New Buffalo, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, South Haven (all beach towns), etc. Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail.
How many people can we have on our Tour?
All of our tours can accomodate 12 - 14 people, that is the LEGAL CAPACITY of our vehicles and under no circumstances can we take more than that on a single vehicle. In addition, most of the wineries prefer groups 14 or less in order to deliver the best service possible, which is another reason we limit tours to 14 people.
We do have multiple vehicles, and in RARE occasions will allow two vehicles to travel together in order to keep a larger group together. This can only be done on weekdays and with the special permission of all wineries involved, with Fruitful Vine reserving the final decision. If you want to take a group larger than 14 people, you need to call and talk with us first.
What if the weather is bad?
We never cancel the Vino Coach due to rain. If you reserve a tour on the Wine O Wagon, we run that unless there is a dangerous thunderstorm with lightening, in which case we will cancel the tour and refund your full purchase price.
Sometimes we deem the weather to be too dangerous to run a tour, and it will be canceled. This happens only about once each winter. You will receive a full refund if we cancel the tour. If you decide not to come even though we are still running the tour, our normal cancellation policy applies.
Do the wineries have tasting fees?
All wine tasting fees and souvenir wine glasses are included in the price of the tour.
Are kids allowed?
The short answer is no (unless your "kid" is over 21). Although kids are allowed at the wineries, we have made the decision to keep our tours adult only; therefore no one under the age of 21 is allowed on a Fruitful Vine Tour.
Is there Tasting Room EtiquetteYes! Please see the following points:
- DRINK RESPONSIBLY - THOSE LITTLE OUNCES ADD UP
- As you enter the tasting room head for the tasting bar. A host will greet you and get you started with wine glasses and explain what wines are available for tasting and if there are any tasting fees.
- White wines are tasted first, followed by red wines, and then dessert wines.
- Normally you would not ask for a second taste of one particular wine unless you indicate that you are interested in purchasing the wine.
- You do not have to drink all the wine in your glass. Toss the unwanted wine in your glass into the dump bucket provided for this purpose.
- Sometimes a neutral food will be provided, such as plain crackers. The purpose of the food is to clear the palate after tasting each particular wine.
- Have patience with the wine pourer - they'll get to you.
- Purchase wine - assuming it is in your budget and you like it, then spring for it. This is especially true in small wineries where the winery itself may be the only place to purchase the wine.
Is there a schedule?
Yes. We have designed the best tours possible based on years of experience and thousands of customers. All of the wineries have been notified of our arrival time and the number of people we are bringing so that they can make special arrangements to accommodate our groups.
Can we consume alcohol while traveling?
Our goal is to deliver fun and informative tours. We have learned over the years that this is best accomplished if alcohol consumption is reserved for your time at the wineries, therefore no open alcohol will be allowed on any of the vehicles. You will get plenty of wine at the wineries, we promise!
Are there any extra costs once the tour starts?The only other things you may need cash for are:
- Lunch, we stop at a deli or winery that also has lunch, where you can order sandwiches, salads, soups, and other items of this nature. Normally guests will spend less than $10-$16 per person.
- All of the wineries sell wine by the bottle or glass, and you are more than welcome to purchase some to take home with you.
- You don’t have to tip your driver, but if he/she does a great job and makes your day enjoyable, a small gratuity is definitely appreciated. Most guests will tip about $10 per person, but this is completely up to you.
What is your cancellation policy?
Please review our Payment & Cancellation Policies page for details.
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