Lake Michigan Wine Trail

The Leelanau wine trail was one of our favorite areas during our visit to Northern Michigan.   The drive from the downtown Traverse City area to Leelanau is lovely, on one side you’ll have grapevines, cherry trees and on the other the lake.   As we started planning our trip to Michigan, I started reading about all the wine produced in the area and again, had no idea that Michigan was considered a wine region in our country!  Apparently, the Leelanau Penninsula sits on the 45th parallel, which is the same parallel of the many wine regions of Europe that produce some of the best wine. I’m no wine connoisseur ( maybe, one day!) but we had some great white and red wines during this trip – so much so that we brought back 5 bottles!  Make sure to add wine tasting when you visit Traverse – is a must!  These are the little joys of travel…making discoveries and finding pleasures in places close to home.

Big Little Wines 

This was our favorite – not only because of the story behind the wine but also because the wine was just really really great.  Big Little wines was founded by two brothers with a passion for family, nostalgia and good wine.  The tasting room was smaller than all the others but it warm and cozy with an expansive outdoor area that will make you want to lay out and just enjoy their wine for hours…we can’t wait to go back!

Bonobo Vineyard

This tasting room/vineyard was also one of the top favorites during our trip.  The tasting room was spacious, airy and elegant. The outdoor was also really nice because it was perched up and gave you a beautiful view of the land. We also found the staff to be extremely knowledgeable about the wine – I advise you to also eat here! Unfortunately, we didn’t know they had food since many of the tasting rooms do not have and had already picked up a bit to eat at a cafe,  but we did get some small bites that were delicious!

Brys Estate

Brys Estate had a good variety of wines but what I loved the most was the upstairs bar that served Froze! This could be because it was almost 100 degrees on the day we visited so having Froze made me happy. 🙂 They also have a “secret garden” with a shop full of lavender! The Secret Garden at Brys Estate consists of lavender plants, a fresh flower garden, a strawberry patch, a blueberry patch, and an herb garden. Needless to say, I was in heaven and couldn’t get enough of this place.

Bluestone Vineyard

This one is a local favorite and even though Thomas didn’t really care for it, I actually enjoyed it!  The rose was good and the grounds were lovely. A perfect vineyard to bring friends and family – they have games and fire pits with plenty of space to hang.  My only complaint is that it was understaffed and busy so the tasting felt rushed.

Chateau Chantal

This was our first stop and probably the most touristy out of all the ones we went to. It’s important for us to experience locally-made products so we stayed away from the mainstream wineries.  Chateau Chantal was also the only one we took an actual cellar tour and it was insightful…maybe a little too long but it was definitely cool to learn about this history of the people who started this vineyard and learn more about the process of wine production. The wine is not the only reason to come, the views are amazing!



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