Chef partners with wine experts for culinary adventure

Published 5:23 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. — Free Run Cellars is creating an enhanced customer experience with an innovative paired tasting adventure at its completely renovated tasting room.

Guests can delight in delicious food pairings from Culinary Director Ryan Thornburg alongside small batch wines and spirits, consistently rated among the best in the area. Not overcrowded or hurried and under the guidance of a personal tasting consultant, guests can release their worries and relish in this on-trend experience.


How it works

Guests will be led through a 45-minute tasting of four of Free Run’s preselected wines (2 oz. pours) or spirits, each carefully paired with seasonal gourmet creations (Thornburg created & updated monthly) using locally sourced ingredients designed to bring out the finest flavors of each.

“This year marks our 10th anniversary and we wanted to offer something entirely new, something that could elevate both the flavors and the experience for our guests,” said Nicole Moersch, marketing director. “We’re happy to create a destination designed specifically for wine and food lovers here in beautiful and bountiful Southwest Michigan. Many don’t realize we’re located in the second most agriculturally diverse area in the U.S. so tapping into this beyond winemaking has us over the moon.”

Guests (individuals, couples and groups) are encouraged to schedule their visit online at The option is available to sit at custom made high-top tables (seating up to eight people) or nestled in cozy bench seating (seating up to 12 people). Walk-ins will be happily accommodated based on availability. All guests, whether experiencing a tasting or not, are welcome to open a bottle and relax on the outdoor patio nestled among the vineyards and overlooking Free Run’s beautiful pond. Nosh options such as a charcuterie plate will also be available for enjoying outside.


About Culinary Director Ryan Thornburg

Southwest Michigan is no stranger to the cooking talents of Free Run’s new Culinary Director Ryan Thornburg. He first hit the culinary scene in the 1990s at Caffe Tosi as Lead Chef and then went on to serve as executive chef at Tosi’s restaurant for seven years as well as Bistro on the Boulevard for another seven years. T

hornburg and his wife Julie established Thornburg & Co. in 2011 where they took advantage of all the local produce that Berrien County has to offer. They produced locally made fruit jams, barrel aged syrups and vinegars, varietal honey and other chef driven retail products.

The Moersch family have been longtime fans of Thornburg’s culinary skills so they created a position for him in 2016 as culinary director for Free Run Cellars as well as at their Round Barn Public House restaurant.

“I’m grateful for this exciting opportunity,” Thornburg said. “In regards to Free Run Cellars, the new food pairing menus will each have a locally sourced element that will pair perfectly with the wine and elevate the overall tasting experience. The most successful food and wine pairings feature complementary components, such as our Dry Riesling with a mango-crab stack & wasabi mayo or the Lake Michigan Shore Syrah with a locally sourced smoked duck breast & whipped goat cheese on puff pastry.”

Free Run Cellars will be open Friday through Sunday, beginning Friday, July 8, 2016.

Like their Facebook page to stay abreast of the exciting details as they unfold. Be on the lookout too for a new website later this summer which will have the added feature of a wine shop so products can be ordered online and shipped.