I love wine as much as the next girl and I am a sucker for a good bottle of Michigan wine. So to celebrate the big 2-4, okay so it’s not that big, we went wine tasting at the Old Mission Peninsula in none other than Traverse City, Michigan. I want to give you all the details to maybe inspire a little trip of your own to Michigan’s very own, wine country!
Disclaimer! I definitely forgot my memory card for my camera at home so we’re going to make do with sub-par pictures that don’t do wine country the justice it deserves!
Where to Stay
Okay, so I was born in Holland, Michigan. For all you non-Michigander friends, that’s in the west part of the lower peninsula, right by the lake. I love west Michigan, but I am so totally in love with Northern Michigan… especially in the fall. Especially Traverse City. So we have stayed in countless different places in or around Traverse City during the last few years.
This time we stayed close to Bellaire at Shanty Creek Resort. Ya’ll. I couldn’t have stumbled on a better place to stay. We got there late & you literally could not see anything it was so dark, but when we woke up, it was the most breath taking, magical view I’ve ever seen. I would highly recommend staying at Shanty Creek. The best part is, during their off seasons (when you can’t golf or be a snow bunny), their rooms are really affordable. I think it’s also so fun to know that each room is decorated by a real person.
Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail
I have never been wine tasting before in my life. Unless you count sitting at home when you buy all the mini bottles and have them all in one sitting. I went in with no expectations, no thoughts about how many different kinds of wine we’d get to taste, nothing… I just knew this was where I wanted to go to celebrate being 24. I’m so excited to share some tips with you & of course my favorite wineries along the way! As an added bonus I’ve included the wines I tasted at each, my favorite wine tasted & how they ranked in overall experience on a scale from 1-10!
Black Star Farms
We started at one of my most favorite places, Black Star Farms. I’ve always been a huge fan of their wine & by accident none the less. We were able to taste 5 different types of wine. They had an added tasting bonus of hot, mulled wine — my gosh was that best wine I’ve ever had! This winery should definitely be on your must list!
Here I tried dessert wine for the first time paired with dark chocolate. Holy. Crap. It was the most delicious pairing probably on the entire planet. This is where I also discovered my love for Pinot Grigo/Pinto Gris & realized I really didn’t love Riesling as much as I thought. We ended up leaving with three bottles of wine from this vineyard & cups from our tasting!
Wines Tasted: Bedazzled, 2017 Pinot Gris, 2017 Pinot Noir Rose, Cherry Wine, Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine, Mulled hot wine
Favorite Wine Tasted: Bedazzled
Rating: 8.5/10 – It was extremely crowded when we were there & took forever to get up to the tasting counter, but that was the only downfall! The hot wine takes the cake for sure!
We got to try 5 different kinds of wine at this vineyard, but honestly this was at the bottom of my favorites list. It’s not that their wine was bad because my hubby did enjoy some of it, but it just wasn’t my kind of wine. Is that a thing? The food they had looked particularly yummy though!
Wines Tasted: 2016 Dry Riesling, 2016 Pinot Noir Rose, Hard Cider, 2017 Pinot Grigio Chardonnay 2017 Semidry Riesling
Favorite Wine Tasted: David’s favorite was the 2016 Barrel Aged Chardonnay
Rating: 6/10 – The tasting itself went really well, I just did not like the options they had to taste.
Chateau Grand Traverse
Chateau Grand Traverse was absolutely beautiful. Like when I say beautiful, I mean the view was mesmerizing. They had two different types of wine tasting, you could pay the minimum amount and taste from their signature wine list or for a few dollars extra you could taste from their Reserve list. My hubs & I both went with one or two exclusive wines, let me tell you… they were tasty. We did 5 tastings here as well & got a credit toward our purchase of a bottle of wine!
By the time we were done tasting here, we had at least 15 different samples of wine. Oh and I should add we had cereal for breakfast. If we learned anything from wine tasting, it was that you should definitely bring a snack or pack a lunch! Thankfully we were there around the time they were serving grilled pizzas, so you better believe we got some to soak up all that wine.
Wines Tasted: 2017 Pinot Grigio (Signature), 2015 Michmash White (Signature), GTS Semidry Riesling (Signature), Cherry Wine Sangria (Signature), 2017 Pinot Noir Rose Vin Gris (Reserve)
Favorite Wine Tasted: I think 2017 Pinot Grigio was the winner, but they were all great!
Rating: 8.5/10 – Overall the experience was great! It was an added bonus that they gave us a coupon! The pizza & cheese spread we had was delicious too!
Bowers Harbor Vineyard
What a quaint little vineyard! I loved it here, it just had a really home-y feel to it & their wine was delicious (which is obviously a plus!). Our “host”, if you will, was extremely knowledgeable about the wine he poured us and was really great at giving suggestions. I love Black Star Farms wine, but I think I might love Bowers Harbor more! Well, at least their bubbly wine & hard cider.
We had 5 tastings, which included hard cider. We left with two bottles of Bowers Harbor hard cider. The thing I love about wine tastings is that you can find the kind of wine you like without having to buy a whole bottle, BUT I hate that I can never find it when I get home! I fell in love with some of the wine from this vineyard, but of course have to order it from Traverse City if I ever want to have it again. I might just have to splurge and buy a few bottles soon!
Wines Tasted: Blanc De Blanc, Pinot Secco, Pinot Grigio, Unwooded Chardonnay Big Paw, Blueberry Hard Cider
Favorite Wine Tasted: Again another hard one, so I’m choosing 3, because I can! Blanc De Blanc, Pinot Secco & Blueberry Hard Cider
Rating: 9/10 – The only reason I didn’t give them a 10 was because the parking was rough, it was so busy (which is so good for them!). The tasting was great, they had a good system down & the wine was delish!
This winery takes the cake for most beautiful over look of their vineyard & maybe even the coolest looking winery. Had it been warmer, we probably would’ve enjoyed a glass of wine out on their gorgeous patio overlooking the vineyard.
The tasting itself was fantastic & we were able to taste 6 different wines. The hostess we had was extremely knowledgeable; she made great suggestions & even put the wine in the order of which we should try it. Dare I say it, I was kind of getting sick of drinking wine at this point & everything began tasting the same. This is where our day of wine tasting came to an end. Which is probably a good thing after 26 different kinds of wine. I think if we would go wine tasting again, we’ll probably start here and work our way back!
Wines Tasted: Tonight, Reserve Riesling, 2016 Pinot Grigio, Amour, Naughty Cherry Cider, Celebrate
Favorite Wine Tasted: Tonight & Celebrate, I found that I have a thing for sparkling wine!
Rating: 9/10 – Again the parking was a little congested because it was so busy (again, great for the winery!). We learned a lot at this winery!
Where to Eat in Traverse City
We have been to Traverse City so many times, but we always try to eat somewhere new! Here are a few of our favorites!
Bubba’s – Downtown Traverse City: Burger & Bar restaurant. Their California chicken sandwich & burgers are da bomb!
Mackinaw Brewing Company – Downtown Traverse City: Brewery. Their chicken salad wraps are my fave!
Cherry Republic – Downtown Traverse City: Retail. Okay so this is more retail than anything, but it’s on of my favorite places to stop for all my cherry salsa needs!
Aerie – Grand Traverse Resort: Fine Dining. My hubby took me here for our engagement. Their pork & fingerling potatoes are to die for!
Flap Jack Shack – Traverse City: Breakfast Diner. This is one of our favorite places for breakfast! Have their biscuits & gravy, you won’t be disappointed!
The Muffin Tin – Alden: Breakfast & Lunch Small Plates. We found this cute little place on our way to Traverse City from Bellaire! They have the most delicious muffins, try their strawberry cheesecake!
The Mayfair Tavern – Frankfort: Tavern. We always try to eat local on trips, so we took a chance on this tavern! It was well worth it. Their burger sliders are so delicious!
Pierson’s Grille & Spirits – Harbor Springs: Bar & Grill. This is where I fell in love with a good margherita pizza!
We hope that you’ll take our tips, tricks & recommendations to visit Northern Michigan and maybe even plan your own wine tasting trip!
Want other fall ideas? Check out our Fall Porch Decorating guide! Until next time loves!