Blessed with a perfect blend of soil, climate, and terrain, Northern Michigan is quickly becoming known for its award-winning wines. With more than 20 wineries dotting the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas, wine enthusiasts are flocking to the area to travel the wine trails and see what all the hype is about; very few leave disappointed.
Not only is the wine highly acclaimed, but the food offered at several of these destinations is some of the best in the area. Many of these wineries are located within just 25 miles of Lake Michigan’s shores, and perched atop rolling hills, they offer spectacular views of both east and west bays. Here’s a closer look at just a few of the wineries in Northern Michigan.
Chateau Chantal (Traverse City, Mich.)
Chateau Chantal was voted by the New York Daily News as one of North America’s top 10 wine destinations for good reason. Chateau Chantal, a European chateau-style winery nestled on a 65-acre estate, is home to an 11-room bed-and-breakfast and a cooking school. Delicious views of the bay, vines, and cherry orchards can be savored on the patio while sipping a glass of house wine. The chateau’s Great Room and B&B are open year-round for wine tastings, sales, and overnight stays.
Black Star Farms (Suttons Bay, Mich.)
If you’re in the mood for more of an "agricultural destination," Black Star Farms is truly, just that. With two wineries, tasting rooms, a petting zoo, and an inn with views of vineyards and barns, your stay will be as eventful as it is delicious. After wine tasting, stroll down the lane to the Leelanau Cheese Company, located on the property, and sample their award-winning raclette, or kick up your feet at the cozy Hearth and Vine Café for wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches. Black Star Farms produces an extensive list of wines, ciders, brandies, and dessert wines that will keep you busy tasting for quite some time. Open year-round, the hours vary with each season.
L.Mawby (Suttons Bay, Mich.)
L.Mawby is a small company producing sparkling wines with one mission: to make the best wine possible. Producing less than 8,000 cases a year, these wines are well taken care of and it’s clear that the winemakers at L. Mawby love what they do. Owner Larry Mawby writes poems about each wine he produces and posts them around the tasting room to be read. Their most popular wine has an unusual name and racy poem to accompany it. You’ll have to take a visit to the tasting room to find out why this brut rosé sparkling wine has been named "Sex." While there, seat yourself on the covered patio, overlooking the vines, and enjoy a premium tasting served with cheese, pâté, and crackers. Open year-round, the hours vary with each season.
Tandem Ciders (Suttons Bay, Mich.)
If you’re not in the mood for wine but still want the wine tasting experience, try Tandem Ciders. Specializing in artisanal hard ciders, Tandem Ciders is run by a tandem-bike-riding husband-and-wife team, who are as friendly as they are enthusiastic about their cider. With a cozy and friendly tasting room, it’s easy to waste away an afternoon sipping ciders with names like Honey Pie and Smackintosh. Don’t be alarmed when regulars show up to get their big glass jugs refilled; it only takes one taste to be hooked. Open year-round, the hours vary with each season.