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Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries and Vineyards Guide

(Last Updated On: May 27, 2023)

Leelanau Peninsula Wineries Produce World-Class Wines

Picture yourself strolling through picturesque acres of vineyards in northwest Michigan, glass of wine in hand, as you embark on a journey to discover the hidden gems of Leelanau Peninsula wineries.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on an unforgettable tour of the Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – from Sleeping Bear Loop to Northern Peninsula Loop and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. Along the way, we’ll introduce you to some notable wineries that offer not only exquisite boutique wines but also unique experiences beyond your typical tasting room visit.

We will delve into the fascinating history of Leelanau Peninsula’s wine industry and explore how it has evolved over time. You’ll learn about Bernie Rink’s pioneering efforts in vine and grape cultivation and how the unique climate of this region shares similar characteristics with other renowned wine-producing areas across North America.

Furthermore, we will discuss various grapes grown on the peninsula including European Vinifera Grape varieties, French-American Hybrid Grapes, and Native Variety Grapes – each of these varietals contributing their distinct flavors to create exceptional local wines that are unique to Leelanau Peninsula wineries.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Last but not least, our guide will highlight exciting events and attractions along the wine trail such as Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes or annual festivities like Sips & Soups event or Toast The Season event – ensuring your visit to these incredible Leelanau Peninsula wineries is truly memorable.

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The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: A Scenic Adventure

Are you ready to embark on a wine lover’s dream?

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail offers an unforgettable experience, showcasing Michigan’s thriving wine region north of Traverse City and its stunning landscapes.

Let me guide you through the three distinct loops that make up this incredible trail:

Sleeping Bear Loop

This picturesque loop takes you along Lake Michigan’s coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore while visiting award-winning wineries such as Good Harbor Vineyards and Chateau Fontaine.

Northern Peninsula Loop

A true gem for Pinot Noir lovers, this loop features boutique wineries on the Peninsula like Verterra Winery and Brengman Brothers nestled among rolling hills and lush forests.

Grand Traverse Bay Loop

Last but not least, explore Suttons Bay area wineries like Aurora Cellars, French Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago Vineyards, and Leelanau Cellars while soaking in the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay – one of North America’s largest freshwater bays.

Craving some wood-fired pizza with your Cabernet Franc? Many tasting rooms offer delicious food pairings or even outdoor patios overlooking vineyards. The tasting room staff will ensure you have a memorable experience.

Book a guided tour to 4 Leelanau wineries and leave the driving to someone else!

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Embark on a wine lover’s dream with the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail in Michigan. Explore award-winning wineries and stunning landscapes. #LeelanauPeninsulaWineTrail #MichiganWinesClick to Tweet

Notable Wineries Along the Trail

Attention, wine lovers. Let’s dive into the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, which boasts a delightful mix of well-established and newer wineries.

Get ready to explore gems like Aurora CellarsBlustone VineyardsGood Harbor Vineyards, and Laurentide Winery. But wait, there’s more. You’ll also find amazing wines at Chateau Fontaine, Verterra Winery, Brengman Brothers French Valley Vineyard, Bel Lago Vineyards, and Leelanau Cellars.

Highlights:

  • Aurora Cellars: Boutique wines crafted with love – don’t miss their estate-grown Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc.
  • Laurentide Winery: Tasting room staff that make you feel right at home as they guide you through your tasting experience.
  • Verterra Winery: An outdoor patio perfect for sipping on a glass while enjoying views of Lake Michigan and North America’s largest freshwater dune system.
  • Leelanau Cellars: Tasting room on the sandy beach of beautiful Omena on West Grand Traverse Bay with spectacular views.
  • Blustone Vineyards: Modern, sleek tasting room that offers panoramic views of the vineyard.
  • Good Harbor Vineyards: Delicious wines crafted from estate-grown grapes – their Good Harbor Fishtown White is a must-try.

These wineries showcase clean, crisp, and balanced flavors due to their cool climate location on the Leelanau Peninsula. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and its unique offerings.

leelanau wineries grapes
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Plan your visit today and enjoy a wine-tasting adventure in Northern Michigan.

Explore the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and indulge in boutique wines with stunning views of Lake Michigan. Plan your visit now. #MichiganWineTrail #LeelanauPeninsulaWineriesClick to Tweet

Unique Offerings at Black Star Farms & Shady Lane Cellars

Let’s dive into the extraordinary experiences offered by two standout wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.

Black Star Farms is a must-visit destination, boasting more than just exquisite wines.

This picturesque estate features a charming bed-and-breakfast-style inn, perfect for an unforgettable getaway. But that’s not all. You can also explore their scenic hiking and biking trails or indulge in equestrian activities at their on-site facility.

Moving along to Shady Lane Cellars, this gem sets itself apart, Shady Lane Cellars is one of only two SIP certified establishments outside California. Their commitment to sustainability in winemaking shines through with 100% estate-grown grapes used in crafting award-winning wines.

A visit to these unique Michigan wineries will leave you with lasting memories of your time spent exploring Michigan’s wine country. Cheers to discovering new favorites while supporting sustainable practices in the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula.

leelanau peninsula wineries
Image by robinsonk26 from Pixabay

Explore Michigan’s wine country on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Visit Black Star Farms and Shady Lane Cellars for unique experiences and award-winning wines. #MichiganWineCountry #LeelanauPeninsulaWineriesClick to Tweet

Exploring Other Beverage Options in Leelanau County

While the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is undeniably amazing, let’s not forget to take time to explore other fantastic beverage options within this beautiful region.

Buckle up and get ready for a delicious adventure.

Breweries

The peninsula boasts several craft breweries offering unique flavors and experiences. One of the best is Hop Lot Brewing Co., located in Suttons Bay. They offer an outdoor beer garden with fire pits and live music during summer months – perfect for enjoying their diverse selection of brews.

Cideries

If you’re more into ciders than beers, fear not. You’ll find delightful cideries like Tandem Ciders, which specializes in artisanal hard ciders on tap made from locally-grown apples. Their tasting room is housed in a charming red barn – talk about picturesque.

Distilleries

Last but certainly not least, spirits aficionados will also find their haven on the Leelanau Peninsula. Northern Latitudes Distillery, for example, crafts small-batch spirits using local ingredients such as Michigan cherries or maple syrup. Enjoy a glass of their signature Deer Camp Vodka or Manitou Passage Rum.

So, there you have it – the Leelanau Peninsula offers a diverse range of beverage experiences to suit every taste. Don’t forget to explore these delightful breweries, cideries, and distilleries nestled among the picturesque vineyards of this beautiful region.

Explore more than just wine on the Leelanau Peninsula. Discover craft breweries, artisanal cideries and small-batch distilleries. Cheers to a delicious adventure. #LeelanauPeninsula #CraftBreweries #ArtisanCideries #SmallBatchDistilleriesClick to Tweet

leelanau peninsula wineries and vineyards

Award-Winning Wines and Unique Blends

Let’s talk about the hidden gem of Michigan, the Mawby Elm Valley Estate Vineyard.

Established in 1976 by Larry Mawby, this 14-acre vineyard has been producing award-winning estate grown wines for decades.

Fun fact: Elm Valley is known for its clean, crisp flavors in every glass thanks to Leelanau Peninsula’s unique cool climate.

Moving on to another local favorite – Two K Farms.

This innovative winery also produces hard cider alongside their delicious wines.

Their signature creation? The Leelanau Radler – a blend of estate Riesling and heirloom apple juice that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight.

  • Elm Valley Estate Vineyard: Experience award-winning wines from one of Michigan’s oldest vineyards.
  • Two K Farms’ Leelanau Radler: Sip on a unique blend of wine and cider crafted from locally grown ingredients.

Beyond just these two gems, there are countless other wineries along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, each offering an unforgettable experience in beautiful Northern Michigan settings.

“Discover award-winning wines and unique blends at the hidden gems of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wineries, Elm Valley Estate Vineyard and Two K Farms. #TravelMichigan #WineTrail”Click to Tweet

Wine Events and Entertainment on the Peninsula

Leelanau Peninsula is not just about Leelanau wine; it’s also a hub for events and entertainment.

With over ten year-round wine events, there’s always something happening to keep you entertained.

To make your trip even more memorable, consider attending one of their year-round events like Sips & Soups or Toast to the Season – just check out their events calendar for more information.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond these fantastic events, many wineries host live music performances throughout the year.

A perfect example is Live from Hilltop at Shady Lane Cellars every Sunday and Thursday during summer evenings – what a better way to unwind?

If outdoor activities are your thing, Rove Estate has got you covered with their tasting room located atop Leelanau County’s highest point.

You’ll find fire pits, dance areas, trail loops – all designed to make your visit memorable while enjoying some of North America’s finest wines in an idyllic setting overlooking Lake Michigan.

“Experience more than just wine at Leelanau Peninsula. Enjoy year-round events, live music performances, and outdoor activities while sipping on North America’s finest wines. #LeelanauPeninsulaWineries #TravelMichigan”Click to Tweet

National Recognition for Leelanau Peninsula Wines

Did you know that the Leelanau Peninsula wine region has been making waves on the national stage?

In both 2018 and 2023, it was nominated by USA Today’s 10Best.com poll, ranking second place behind Finger Lakes and Lodi respectively. This recognition showcases the growing prominence of this must-visit destination among wine enthusiasts and tourists alike.

  • Unique Lake Effect Climate: The Leelanau Peninsula’s cool climate conditions are influenced by its proximity to Lake Michigan, resulting in clean, crisp wines with real varietal character.
  • Award-Winning Wineries: With a diverse selection of wineries offering everything from boutique wines to estate-grown grapes, there is something for everyone along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, including Good Harbor Vineyards.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: Visitors can enjoy stunning landscapes while sipping on their favorite glass of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc at one of many outdoor patios overlooking vineyards or lake views.

If you haven’t yet experienced the magic that is Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wineries, now is definitely the time to plan your visit.

Use our interactive map to find and book places to stay:

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to explore the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – a true gem of North America’s wine scene.

“Discover award-winning wineries and breathtaking scenery at Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula wine trail – a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. #LeelanauPeninsula #WineTrail #TravelMichigan”Click to Tweet

FAQs in Relation to Traverse City and Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

How many wineries are in Leelanau Peninsula?

There are over 25 wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula, each offering unique wines and experiences. The peninsula is divided into three wine loops: Sleeping Bear Loop, Northern Peninsula Loop, and Grand Traverse Bay Loop. You can explore these scenic routes to visit various vineyards and tasting rooms.

What is the oldest winery on the Leelanau Peninsula?

Boskydel Vineyard was the first commercial winery established on the Leelanau Peninsula in 1965 by Bernie Rink. Although Boskydel closed its doors in 2017, it was a driving force in pioneering Michigan’s wine industry.

Who owns Leelanau Winery?

The term “Leelanau Winery” refers to any of the numerous individual wineries located within the region rather than one specific establishment. Each of these establishments has different ownership structures ranging from family-owned businesses like Brengman Brothers Winery, to larger entities such as Black Star Farms.

Why are there so many vineyards in Traverse City?

Traverse City’s location along Lake Michigan provides an ideal climate for grape cultivation due to its moderating effect on temperatures throughout both winter and summer months. Additionally, the Leelanau Peninsula’s latitude is similar to famous wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, allowing for successful growth of various grape varieties. This combination of factors has led to thriving Traverse City wineries.

Conclusion

Exploring the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is an experience not to be missed. This trail has three distinct loops showcasing some of Michigan’s best wineries, making it the perfect way to enjoy the Traverse City Area. Notable wineries like Black Star Farms and MAWBY Sparkling Wine House offer unique wine tastings, while Rove Estate and Leelanau Cellars provide picturesque locations for visitors.

The history of the Leelanau Peninsula wine industry is fascinating. Bernie Rink’s pioneering efforts led to a thriving community of Northern Michigan wineries. Visitors can also enjoy attractions like Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and events such as Sips & Soups along the way.

If you’re looking for a memorable getaway filled with delicious wine and beautiful scenery, make sure to visit Leelanau Peninsula wineries by booking your trip through Meet Me in Michigan.

Click for our comprehensive guide to the best wineries to visit in Michigan.

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