Michigan ranks among the top 10 states in wine production. With more than 140 wines located in five regions, Michigan challenges any state in producing some of the best-tasting wines in the United States. With its own “Napa Valley,” Old Mission Peninsula is second to none in winemaking. The soil and temperature at the 45th parallel produce perfect grapes. Wineries in Michigan offer guests an experience beyond just a bottle of wine.
With Grand Traverse Bay in the background, Chateau Chantal on the Old Mission Peninsula provides an elegant wine tasting experience. Surrounded by woods, the vineyard and winery (about 4.5 hours north of Traverse City) is the place to enjoy a flight featuring more than two dozen wines, created with homegrown grapes. Reserve a wine tasting for yourself or a group, along with a cellar tour. You can also enjoy the view from the “winery on the hill” with a weekend stay at its bed and breakfast, as well as dinner featuring fine wines. This is a fine example of Michigan wineries that are doing it right!
Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery
Enjoy a glass of wine as you stroll along a bridge overlooking rows of Michigan-grown chardonnay grapes. You can also enjoy a view of the 35 acres of grapes and Traverse Bay at the Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery. Located among the wooded area of Old Mission Peninsula, Brys Estate offers one of the area’s most elegant tasting rooms, featuring mahogany wood and brick trimmings. With about 6,000 fragrant lavender plants, you can enjoy a serene walk through the Secret Garden. Why not make your visit into a weekend event, with a stay in the 1,100-square foot guest house? The converted barn features a master suite with a king-sized bed and a second room with two queen beds. With amenities such as a full-sized kitchen, outdoor furniture and a 42-inch HD television, a stay at the barn also includes a complimentary wine tasting. Wineries in Michigan should all take note of this luxurious locale.
Chateau Aeronautique winery
Despite being located near an airpark community, you cannot fly a private plane in for a wine tasting at Chateau Aeronautique Winery. Featuring Michigan-grown grapes, wines are handcrafted in a hangar, using French oak barrels. A boutique winery north of Jackson, the Chateau offers private tastings in the Gazebo, the original tasting room. Tastings can also be hosted in the Gallery, which features a barrel-designed bar, cork flooring and a mural highlighting Tuscany vineyards. Chateau Aeronautique also has a winery at Irish Hills if you want to explore even more Michigan wineries.
Black Star Farms
Black Star Farms combines a beautiful view of northern Michigan with great wine for an elegant stay, minutes from Traverse City. With about 160 acres of sprawling beauty, Black Star Farms winery kicks off its third decade of offering wine tastings featuring grapes grown on both the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas. Wine tastings are available at their three wineries in Michigan. But, you need to book a stay at the Inn when visiting the winery at the Suttons Bay estate. Each room is luxurious and features a fireplace or a spa tub. A stay also includes a gourmet breakfast, bottle of house wine and a VIP wine tasting at the Barrel Room.
With its tasting room located in a building resembling a Spanish villa, Traverse City’s Mari Vineyards is beautifully situated among the woods near the East Bay on Old Mission Peninsula. Starting with seven rows of grapes planted haphazardly, Mari created its anchor wine, Row 7, in honor of those rows. Today, 60 acres produce about 20 varieties of grapes in order to create some of the best wine in Michigan. Mari is known for its unique growing method of using temporary greenhouses or “hoop houses” to help ripen grapes. This also adds four weeks of growing time. The vineyard was the first of all Michigan wineries to have its own barrel aging area with a cellar kept at 55-60 degrees, perfect for winemaking. While you visit Mari Vineyards, be sure to also arrange a private tasting and tour.
Michigan offers wine enthusiasts five trails to test their palates, with wines providing an Old World feel, as well as new grape opportunities. With wineries in Michigan located from the southeast to the northern tip of the state, you’ll find wonderful opportunities to enjoy the most elegant wines in the United States. Want more wine ideas? You might also want to try these Italian wines!