Michigan Wineries To Visit

August 29, 2014

My sister's birthday present to me this year was a two-day trip Up North to go wine-tasting. Michigan actually has a huge wine production industry -- just another reason to love The Mitten! =) We visited seven different wineries on Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. These peninsulas are stunning, jutting out into the Grand Traverse Bay. Sipping some wine while staring at rolling hills of "wine vines" (as I like to call them) and staring at that gorgeous blue water? Sign me up for another two days, please (and two more after that). Here's a quick review of where we stopped, and some things you can look forward to at each! 
Some things to note:
  • Together, these peninsulas are home to approximately 40+ Michigan wineries. 
  • I would say the Leelanua wineries are more "quaint," while Old Mission wineries are more polished and grandiose -- they are "in to win it," so to speak and are home to the wines you're most likely to find in Michigan grocery stores (or Walgreens because we're classy). They've been around longer, so they tend to be bigger. 
  • You can plan on most of them having $3-$5 tastings, with 5 pours per tasting. A few have pre-selected flights, but most you get to choose. 
  • For the most part, zero food other than cheese and crackers. Take that as you will, people prone to hanger.
  • You can plan your own trip here and here.
Leelanau Penninsula

+Willow Winery
The most adorable little cottage with a great view! While there isn't much seating inside, this winery has wonderful seating outside with a killer view. They have pre-selected wine flights for $3. There half-bottles are excellent for taking a little break to enjoy the view, without getting too wined-out for the next stop! Also, this cottage just really makes for the most adorable pictures thanks to their outdoor decor. You could easily convince yourself you're in a little European village (and after a half bottle, that becomes way easier to believe). 
This was just too awkward not to include.
+Shady Lane
This place is....enchanting. While no view of the water, it has exquisite outdoor seating including a fireplace, patio, and outdoor tasting bar. 
+L. Mawby
This is connected to two other wineries, so you can get a "three in one" visit. The unique element of these three is that they only specialize in bubbly wine! Also, they definitely had the cutest tasting trays ever that I was obsessed with. They give you two free pours at the beginning to help you gauge what you like. Then, you pick two samples (a very generous pour, I'd add!) AND you get to pick a snack! They bring it out on an adorable tray. But like for realz....adorabbbbbbble. Snacks, fizz and free pours? Win.
It's Madonna's mom's winery, which is probably the biggest appeal. Slash at this point, all the wine was starting to taste the same. It doesn't have as much outdoor seating as the rest, but it's still good.
Old Mission Peninsula
Like the name implies, this one is housed in an old schoolhouse originally built in the 1890s (and used as a school through the 50s!). They have GREAT tasting wine and a big patio. Win win. 
This one is described by other wineries as "snobbish," but it is a class act. If any a winery had it's shit pulled together...it's this one. From the moment we pulled up, my jaw DROPPED. They have a huge, luscious green lawn with flowers and lounge chairs for you. When you go inside, you can taste in the dark, cool bar area before going out back to their giant patio (which is just classy and beautiful and gorgeous with all white everything and little flower vases for a pop of color). Their patio is perched above the vines, so you get an excellent view. I just adored this place. Pricier than the rest, but oh so worth it. 
+Chanteau Chantall
This was definitely the biggest one we saw (by size, same popularity/knowability as Grand Traverse). It is a GIANT house (dare I say villa?) that has a tasting room, restaurant and inn. This one has really cool events, so if you go I'd suggest looking at their events beforehand! Also, since it is perched on the highest point of the peninsula, you get a killer view of each bay on both the left and right (so many views, where to look?!). They have a huge selection, and make their own brandy as well. Since it's more popular, it's pretty busy but well worth the stop. 
Which winery would you visit? 
Do you prefer a more quaint setting, or a bigger winery?
Any wineries I should add to my to-go list?
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  1. You need to come down so we can do the Virgina Wine Country tours.

  2. Fun! I haven't been to much of Michigan. South Haven, basically. I need to find these wineries, clearly ;)

  3. I had no idea there were wineries in MI! I live in Ontario and Niagara is my go to, but maybe I'll have to check out the wineries in Michigan one of these days.


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