Michigan Wineries Should Be On Your List
If you’re looking to explore some of the best wineries in the United States, then Michigan wineries should definitely be on your list! With over 140 wineries across the state, Michigan boasts some of the best vineyards and wine regions in the country. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking for a fun and relaxing vacation spot, the Michigan wine industry has something for everyone.
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What Makes Michigan Wineries Stand Out?
One of the things that makes Michigan wineries unique is their location. Most of the wineries are located in the beautiful northern part of the state, where vineyards stretch for miles and the views are breathtaking.
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These wineries are often situated in areas with rolling hills that provide the perfect environment for grape growing. Additionally, many of the wineries are located near Lake Michigan, which provides a unique lake effect microclimate that is ideal for grape growing even at the northern latitude along the 45th parallel.
Another thing that sets Michigan wineries apart is the state’s wine trail. Beginning in Traverse City and stretching across the northern part of the state, Michigan’s wine trail is a must-visit for any wine lover. The trail guides visitors through some of the most beautiful vineyards in the area, and allows them to taste a variety of great wine from different wineries.
Northern Michigan’s Wine Trails
The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail is a drive consisting of three loops on the western side of Grand Traverse Bay. The Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail has 10 potential stops, and the Petoskey Region Trail has 14. On the northeastern side by Lake Huron, the Sunrise Side Wine & Hops Trail has half a dozen stops. Visitors can opt to stop at not just one but multiple wineries and spend days if they want to sample the wine varieties that the region offers. Click here for more details.
Beautiful Northern Michigan Vineyards
Northern Michigan has become a destination worth visiting for its acres of vineyards and award-winning wineries. The region is home to a variety of special grape varieties that grow on its rolling hills and overlook Lake Michigan that affect the flavor of each wine giving it distinct taste and aroma.
Traverse City: The Perfect Wine Country Destination
Traverse City has emerged at a top-notch wine tasting travel destination. Apart from the impressive winery choices, this region is favorable for its landscape, classy dining experience, and public beaches in downtown Traverse City.
Top Northern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss
When it comes to Michigan’s best wineries, there are a few that you absolutely can’t miss. These wineries consistently receive high praise from wine enthusiasts and critics alike, and offer a variety of wines to satisfy any palate.
Chateau Grand Traverse – A Flying-Themed Winery
Located in the heart of Traverse City, Chateau Grand Traverse is known for producing some of Michigan’s best wines, including their popular Riesling. The winery is also known for its sparkling wines, which are perfect for any special occasion.
Located on the picturesque Old Mission Peninsula, Chateau Grand Traverse is a family-owned winery that offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its aviation theme and diverse wine offerings. Specializing in Rieslings, this estate also produces other grape varieties native to Michigan, ensuring there’s something for every palate.
The Story Behind the Aviation Theme at Chateau Grand Traverse
The flying-themed atmosphere of Chateau Grand Traverse pays homage to the founder’s passion for aviation. Edward O’Keefe Jr., a pilot himself, wanted to incorporate his love for flying into his Old Mission winery. As you explore the tasting room and grounds, you’ll find various aircraft memorabilia and artwork adorning the walls – creating a unique ambiance that sets it apart from other Michigan wineries.
Popular Events Hosted by The Winery Throughout The Year
Beyond its exceptional wines and captivating theme, Chateau Grand Traverse hosts numerous events throughout the year designed to enhance your visit further. One such offering is their affordable five-wine flights which allow guests to sample an array of carefully selected wines without breaking the bank:
- Riesling Flight: Featuring five distinct Rieslings showcasing different styles and vintages.
- Estate Flight: A well-rounded selection of delicious wine = reds, whites, roses, and sparkling produced on-site using estate-grown grapes.
In addition to these tasting options, there are wine dinners held regularly at their onsite restaurant, The Inn & Restaurant. These events offer a multi-course meal expertly paired with Chateau Grand Traverse wines, providing an unforgettable dining experience. Be sure to check their events calendar for upcoming wine dinners and other special happenings.
For a more in-depth experience, explore the winery’s seasonal tours and learn about Chateau Grand Traverse’s history and sustainable practices while taking in the surrounding scenery. Offered seasonally, these guided excursions provide insight into the history of Chateau Grand Traverse and its sustainable vineyard practices while allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
No matter your reason for visiting, Chateau Grand Traverse offers an unparalleled Michigan wine-tasting experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on both novice and seasoned enthusiasts alike.
Black Star Farms Wineries and Tasting Rooms
Michigan’s Black Star Farms winery operates two wineries and three tasting rooms, offering visitors a diverse wine-tasting experience. Built on the bones of an architecturally refurbished cherry orchard operation, this destination provides a unique atmosphere for sampling award-winning wines.
Black Star Farms is a unique winery that offers not only wine but also farm-to-table dining and comfortable accommodations. The winery is known for its fruit wines, including paw paw fruit wine, which is a must-try for any visitor.
Exploring the history behind the cherry orchard operation
The origins of Black Star Farms date back to when it was a thriving cherry farm in Michigan. The founders saw potential in transforming the land into vineyards while preserving its rich agricultural heritage. Today, you can still find remnants of its past as you explore their picturesque property that seamlessly blends modern architecture with rustic charm.
Wine varieties available at the two wineries of Black Star Farms
Their flagship winery is located on Leelanau Peninsula, where they produce various reds, whites, sparkling wines, and fruit-based spirits using locally sourced grapes. Some popular options include Pinot Noir Reserve, Riesling, and Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine.
- Suttons Bay Estate: Situated near Traverse City, Suttons Bay Estate offers breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay while showcasing estate-grown wines such as Chardonnay Musque and Arcturos Late Harvest Riesling.
- Old Mission Peninsula: The Old Mission Peninsula location features a cozy tasting room where visitors can sample wines like Arcturos Pinot Blanc and Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine, made from Montmorency cherries.
Black Star Farms also offers various events throughout the year, such as wine dinners, vineyard tours, and harvest celebrations. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or new to the world of Michigan wines, Black Star Farms provides an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
Chateau Chantal Winery
If you’re looking for a beautiful view paired with fantastic wines, then Chateau Chantal is the place to be! Chateau Chantal is a unique and comprehensive wine development located in Northern Michigan. Situated 12 miles north of Traverse City, Michigan on the beautiful and historic Old Mission Peninsula, the 65-acre site is situated a beautiful ridge with sweeping views of Grand Traverse Bay, offering an immersive outdoor tasting experience in Northern hospitality.
The Chateau is known for producing a wide variety of wines. These include white, red, pink, and bubbly. Club members can receive discounts on their purchases, but the winery also maintains reasonable prices for non-club members. They offer a 5% discount for everyone who orders six or more bottles and a 10% discount for 12 or more bottles.
In addition to the winery and vineyards, Chateau Chantal operates a bed and breakfast, offering a unique combination of hospitality services. Ranked #4 of 21 B&Bs / inns in Traverse City according to TripAdvisor reviews, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5, showcasing its high level of customer satisfaction.
Special Experiences at Chateau Chantal
- Wine dinners: a multi-course, wine-pairing experience prepared fresh by their talented in-house chef. The dinner starts with a vineyard tour at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner seating at 6:30 pm. These dinners are held outdoors on their expansive patios which have spectacular views.
- Jazz at Sunset: Every Thursday evening in July and August during the scenic sunset hours of 7-9:30 pm, this family-friendly event provides a charming ambiance for wine enjoyment accompanied by local musicians and their special guests.
- Cinq a Sept: Visitors can take home their smooth, barrel-aged spirit, Cinq á Sept. This unique brandy is distilled from fermented Northern Michigan grapes and spends five years maturing in French oak barrels, gaining a rich caramel flavor and a golden color
Shady Lane Cellars: A Hidden Gem in Suttons Bay
Shady Lane Cellars is a destination estate winery located on the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. Established in a region rich in wine-making history, the winery is situated on a historic centennial farm, lending it a unique charm and significance. Michigan has been producing wine for over 50 years and Shady Lane Cellars is one of the more than 100 wineries contributing to the state’s position as the sixth-largest wine-producing state in the United States.
Unique Wines at Shady Lane Cellars
The winery produces white wine, red wine, rosé wine, and sparkling wine, each one unique and specially crafted. These wines are made from 100% estate-grown grapes, and include Grüner Veltliner; sparkling, skin-fermented and dry Rieslings; Pinot Gris; Muscat, Pinot Noir Rosé; Pinot Noir; Blaufränkisch (Lemberger in German); and Cabernet.
Special Experiences at Shady Lane Cellars
- Friday Night Live: Featuring a varied lineup of local musicians, the winery provides a charcuterie and hot soup menu to pair with its wines.
- Father’s Day Cookout: Planned with Dad in mind, this event will feature a brat and Gruner Veltliner pairing with a cigar lounge.
Note: Wines from Shady Lane Cellars and Chateau Chantal are available downstate in additional tasting rooms operated by Michigan by the Bottle in Auburn Hills, Royal Oak, and Shelby Township.
Grossnickle Farm – Conservation and Sustainable Wine-Growing Practices
Steve and Lori Grossnickle own a 100-acre farm devoted to conservation efforts while practicing sustainable wine-growing techniques. Visitors can learn about eco-friendly practices used in producing high-quality wines while enjoying picturesque views of rolling hills covered with vines.
Eco-Friendly Initiatives Implemented by Grossnickle Farm
At the heart of Grossnickle Farm, you’ll find a strong commitment to preserving the environment through various green initiatives. Some of these include:
- Solar Power: The farm utilizes solar panels for energy, reducing its carbon footprint and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Rainwater Collection: A rainwater collection system is employed to minimize water waste, ensuring that every drop counts when it comes to irrigating their vineyards.
- Natural Pest Control: Instead of using harmful chemicals, they rely on natural predators like birds and insects for pest control, maintaining a healthy ecosystem within their property.
- Biodiversity Preservation: By planting cover crops between rows of vines, they promote biodiversity among plant species which helps prevent soil erosion and maintains overall soil health.
Wines Produced Using Sustainable Farming Methods at Grossnickle Farm
Their dedication towards environmental stewardship extends into the winemaking process as well. At Grossnickle Farm, visitors have the opportunity to taste an array of wines produced using sustainable farming methods. Some popular selections include:
- Aged in oak barrels, Grossnickle Farm’s Chardonnay offers a full-bodied taste experience with creamy and buttery nuances.
- Pinot Noir: Known for its versatility, this red wine boasts fruity notes of cherry and raspberry with hints of earthiness.
- Dry Riesling: This aromatic white wine features crisp acidity balanced by flavors of green apple, pear, and citrus fruits.
Grossnickle Farm’s commitment to conservation and sustainable practices not only benefits the environment but also results in high-quality wines that showcase the unique terroir of Michigan. Visiting this sustainable winery gives you a chance to back local companies while savoring exquisite wines that were crafted with consideration for both your taste and the environment.
Top Southern Michigan Wineries You Can’t Miss
St. Julian Winery – Michigan’s Oldest and Largest Producer
Established in 1921, St. Julian Winery holds the title of Michigan’s oldest and largest winery, with a legacy that spans over a century. Continuously growing and innovating since its inception, St. Julian offers visitors an opportunity to explore a diverse range of wines crafted using traditional techniques while embracing modern trends.
The Rich History Behind St. Julian Winery
The story of St. Julian began when Mariano Meconi, an Italian immigrant passionate about winemaking, founded the winery in Windsor, Ontario before relocating it to Paw Paw, Michigan during Prohibition for better access to local grape varieties. Today, under the leadership of his grandson David Braganini as president until his passing in 2016 and now led by Nancie Oxley (the first female head winemaker in Michigan), St. Julian continues to thrive and appears on every list of Michigan’s favorite wineries.
Unique Wine Varieties and Styles Available for Tasting
With over 60 products available across various styles such as reds, whites, sparkling wines, and ciders, there is something for every palate at St. Julian’s tasting rooms located throughout Michigan including their main location in Paw Paw, as well as Frankenmuth, Dundee, and Troy. Some of their popular offerings include:
- Braganini Reserve Wines: A premium collection named in honor of David Braganini, featuring varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
- Gunga-Din Ciders: Crafted from Michigan-grown apples, these ciders are available in both traditional and unique flavors like cherry and blueberry.
- Cock of the Walk Red & White Blends: These easy-drinking blends showcase St. Julian’s commitment to producing approachable wines for every taste preference.
In addition to wine tastings at their various locations, St. Julian also hosts a variety of events throughout the year including live music performances on weekends during summer months and special releases exclusive to their Wine Club members. So whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the world of wine tasting, there is something for everyone at this historic winery that has been delighting visitors with its diverse selection for over 100 years.
Lemon Creek Winery: Award-Winning Wines and More
Lemon Creek Winery, nestled in the heart of Michigan’s wine country near Berrien Springs in southwestern Michigan, has a long and rich history. With over 160 years of grape and fruit growing experience, the winery is both family-owned and operated, boasting a tradition that has remained intact for more than a century and a half. This historic vineyard is known for its estate-grown wines, bottled to this day by the Lemon family themselves, illustrating a strong connection to their roots and commitment to maintaining high-quality standards.
Lemon Creek Winery is esteemed for the production of an extensive range of wines, with around 30 different wines produced annually. The winery specializes in French red varietals and German whites, showcasing an intriguing blend of traditional European winemaking techniques with local terroir. Their commitment to quality and excellence has been recognized on numerous occasions, with the winery receiving multiple international gold medals, in addition to several regional and state awards.
Special Events at Lemon Creek Winery
Lemon Creek Winery has a packed schedule for 2023, filled with a variety of events and activities.
The winery’s events kick off with the Memorial Weekend Wine & Art Festival. This is a free event that serves as a celebration of local art, music, and, of course, wine. Approximately 25 vendors are expected to display a variety of mediums, including painting, jewelry, stonework, ceramics, and woodworking, among others.
Throughout June, the winery will host a series of music events. The winery will celebrate its 39th Annual Father’s Day Festival on June 18th. In addition to these specific events, the winery’s calendar includes other activities such as wine tastings, U-pick fruit farm offers, and culinary events throughout the year.
Fenn Valley Vineyards
Fenn Valley Vineyards is a prominent family-owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973 on a 240-acre farm, situated just five miles away from Lake Michigan between Grand Haven and Holland in West Michigan. The site for the vineyard was chosen with care by evaluating local weather patterns, climate conditions, and the composition of the soil.
Since the beginning, Fenn Valley Vineyards’ objective has been to produce world-class wines and ciders using fruit grown along the shore of Lake Michigan. This focus on using local resources and attention to the quality of their products has resulted in national recognition for their fruit wines. They have experimented with a variety of grapes with the goal of making European-style table wine, which has a more delicate finish.
Wines available from Fenn Valley Vineyards
- Flavored – Spiced – Fruit Wine: Peach and Honey, Cranberry, Red Currant, Cherry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Mulled
- White Blend: Muscat Ottonel, Moscato, Lakeshore Demi-Sec, Vino Blanco, Sonata
- Red Blend: Nouveau, Briarwood, Lakeshore Ruby
- Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay
- Riesling: Sparkling, Sweet, or Dry
The range of wines showcases not just dedication to quality and tradition, but also versatility in catering to various wine preferences and palates. Wines span different styles, from robust red blends to light and refreshing white blends, and from the aromatic Riesling to the crisp Pinot Grigio.
Discovering Michigan’s Best Wine Regions
Michigan is divided into three main wine regions that produce different varieties of wine. Each region is unique, with its own climate, soil, and grape varieties.
Leelanau Peninsula Wineries
The Leelanau Peninsula has some of the best wineries in Michigan, known for exceptional Riesling wines. This region is perfect for visitors who prefer medium-bodied white wine. Leelanau’s vineyards are located on hillsides that overlook Lake Michigan, providing excellent growing conditions for the grapes.
Old Mission Peninsula Wineries
Old Mission Peninsula is known for its cherry orchards, but it also has an array of vineyards that produce red wine and white wine. The cool climate in this region overlooking Grand Traverse Bay creates the perfect place to grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc varieties of grapes.
Southwest Michigan Wineries
The Southwest Michigan wine region is located near the shores of Lake Michigan, and the region’s grape growers take advantage of the moderating effect of the lake. The area’s vineyards are planted with a variety of grapes, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
Michigan Wine Tasting Tips
When it comes to wine tasting in Michigan, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Michigan wine tasting experience.
The Best Wine Varieties to Try in Michigan
Michigan is known for producing some fantastic Riesling wines. In addition to Riesling, Michigan is also known for its Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir varieties.
Not-to-Miss Paw Paw Fruit Wines
If you’re looking for something unique to try, be sure to check out the pawpaw fruit wines in Michigan. Black Star Farms is one winery that offers this unusual and delicious variety.
Where to Find Sparkling Wine in Michigan
If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, then Michigan is the place to be! Many wineries, including Chateau Grand Traverse, offer a variety of sparkling wines that are perfect for any special occasion.
Note: Summer isn’t the only season to enjoy Michigan wines. Why not combine a wine-tasting trip with the Best Time to See Fall Color in Michigan?
What is Michigan Wine Country?
A: Michigan Wine Country is a region in the state of Michigan where many wineries and vineyards are located. It is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and delicious wines.
What is the best wine region in Michigan?
A: The best wine region in Michigan is located in the northern part of the state. This region includes the Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula, which have the largest concentration of wineries.
What are some of the best wineries in the state?
A: There are many great wineries to visit in Michigan, including Chateau Grand Traverse, Chateau Chantal, Shady Lane Cellars, Tabor Hill, Round Barn, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Lemon Creek Winery, and Chateau Aeronautique Winery.
What are the Michigan Wine Trails?
A: The Michigan Wine Trails are wineries and vineyards in the state of Michigan that have banded together to promote tourism and the local wine industry. There are several wine trails in Michigan, including the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail.
What is the best way to explore Michigan’s wineries?
A: The best way to explore Michigan’s wineries is by taking a scenic drive through the region and stopping at various wineries along the way. Many wineries offer a wine tasting room, tour, and wine dinner.
What kinds of Michigan grapes are grown?
A: Many different kinds of wine grapes are grown in Michigan, including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer.
What is ice wine?
A: Ice wine is a type of dessert wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they freeze. The grapes are then harvested and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a sweet, concentrated wine. Michigan soil – terroir in wine lover parlance – is ideal for this wine.
Are there any wineries in Traverse City?
A: Yes, there are many wineries in the region around Traverse City, including Chateau Chantal, Chateau Grand Traverse, and Shady Lane Cellars.
What is the Pure Michigan wine campaign?
A: The Pure Michigan wine campaign is a marketing initiative aimed at promoting Michigan’s wine industry and encouraging tourism from throughout the Great Lakes region to the state’s wineries and vineyards. Making wine a promotional tool to bring visitors has been a successful tactic for more than ten years.
How many wineries are in Michigan?
A: There are over 140 wineries in Michigan, with new ones opening every year. Producing wine is the dream of many aspiring vintners!
Wine Tastings Prove the Best Michigan Wineries Will Win You Over
In conclusion, Michigan’s wine country has so much to offer visitors. With its stunning vineyards, award-winning wineries, and unique wine varieties, it’s no wonder that the Michigan wine scene is rapidly gaining recognition among wine enthusiasts. So, plan your trip to Michigan for a good time to enjoy the best wine that the state has to offer!