/Wineries

Northern Michigan Winery Guide (Infographic)

Northern Michigan Winery Guide graphic

In honor of Michigan Wine Month Traverse Traveler created the Northern Michigan Winery Guide. This at-a-glance reference is designed to help travelers who are wine tasting in the Traverse City, Michigan region.

Which winery should you visit?

With 45 tasting rooms near Traverse City—and counting— it’s hard to decide where to go. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. However, we can offer some guidance to help you make an educated decision for your next wine tasting adventure. When you ask us which winery to visit we often answer with more questions:

Are you visiting Leelanau Peninsula, Old Mission Peninsula or another part of our region?

Are you wine tasting only, or are you looking for cider or mead?

Do you want vineyard views, or a view of the water?

Every winery has something unique to offer their guests. For the Northern Michigan Winery Guide we focused on answers to commonly asked questions. We gathered information on tasting fees. We noted the wineries with wine clubs. And, since destination weddings in Traverse City are so popular, we highlighted wineries equipped to host special events. This infographic provides the answers to the most common questions about planning a wine tour in Traverse City.

The Northern Michigan Winery Guide

Northern Michigan Winery Guide infographic

Click the image for a downloadable PDF

How to Get There

One of the best reasons to spend the day wine tasting in northern Michigan is taking the opportunity to explore our beautiful area. The vineyards and orchards, rural landscapes and small towns are part of the wine tasting experience. The scenic route is your path to adventure.

To help navigate from one winery to the next, use the Traverse Traveler app. The geo-location feature will sort the listings to show wineries closest to you. And you can use the maps to get turn-by-turn navigation.

We’re Growing All the Time

It’s important to note our wine region is growing and changing all the time. We anticipate new additions, updates and edits to the Northern Michigan Winery Guide. If you have new information that would help us keep it current, or tips for categories you’d like to see in the future, please leave us a comment or contact us.

Cheers!

©Traverse Traveler and TraverseTraveler.com. Content and links may be shared provided that full credit is given to Traverse Traveler and TraverseTraveler.com with direction to the original content. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission from this site’s owner is strictly prohibited.

By |2018-12-12T08:51:55-04:00May 16th, 2018|Travel Tips, Wineries|0 Comments

Left Foot Charley Hosts Riesling March Madness

Battle of the Rieslings

Who needs basketball match-ups when you can battle it out to see which Riesling reigns supreme! Left Foot Charley is getting in on the March Madness with a Riesling wine contest.

Beginning Thursday March 15 and running for four weeks they will match up current and previous vintages of Left Foot Charley Riesling in a bracket-style tournament. Stop by their winery located at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons to taste, compare and vote for the winners on Thursday and Friday of each week.

Left Foot Charley has chosen 8 wines for the field that range from dry to sweet, pulling from vintages as far back as 2008, including a rare Riesling collaboration never previously offered for tasting or for sale.

The cost is $5 for the samples and the opportunity to vote. Guests who participate each week will be entered to win a $25 Left Foot Charley gift certificate.

We can’t resist a good Riesling, and Left Foot Charley has been producing them for years. Get in on the March fun and join the Riesling Madness. Specialty food pairings from Trattoria Stella as well as cheese and accoutrements will also be available for purchase. Glass pours and bottle sales are a way to extend the enjoyment – and perhaps pick up something unexpected.

Cheers!

By |2018-12-12T09:18:08-04:00March 15th, 2018|Events, Wineries|2 Comments

59 Ways to Love Summer in Traverse City

Summer, Traverse City, Cherry

An Up North summer begins and ends on a holiday. That’s 59 days to soak up the sun. So I put together a list of 59 ways to squeeze in every last drop of Pure Michigan fun. This year, let’s all Be a Traveler in Traverse City. On your mark… get set… go!

  1. Hunt for petoskey stones. Point Betsie is a good stony beach with miles of shoreline for walking. Not sure what you’re looking for? Pick up a rock hunting guide from Korner Gem. Kevin’s an expert!
  2. Watch a movie under the stars. Get a bucket of popcorn with real butter and experience a time warp at the Cherry Bowl Drive-in in Honor. Or check out the Bike-in TC movies in F&M park, and the week-long Traverse City Film Festival with free flicks at the Open Space in August.
  3. Sip a cold drink under the warm sun. I love to look out over the marina from the deck at Harbor 22, or better yet… cocktails on a boat, in the harbor will do just fine.
  4. Read a paperback on the beach. Ok, so this one makes my list every summer for nothing more than pure selfish relaxation. I’m usually giggling at Stephanie Plum in the latest Janet Evanovich book, but if you’re looking for a new read I’d suggest a stop by Brilliant Books in Traverse City.
  5. Buy a flight at a local brewery. Our little town is one of the beeriest cities in the U.S. You’ll find a dozen craft breweries in Traverse City and new ones popping up in small towns, like Stormcloud in Frankfort. So grab a flight and drink local.
  6. Bike the T.A.R.T. trail or Benzie trail. Follow this stretch of the T.A.R.T. that runs along Boardman Lake behind the Traverse Area District Library and look for the planetary signs. It’s great fun for the kids.
  7. Celebrate our independence with fireworks. We park and walk for miles to Lake Michigan beach in Frankfort with a bag of licorice, glow necklaces and dig our pit in the sand to watch a spectacular show every July 4th.
  8. Reel in a king salmon. Forget the worm, up North, the early bird gets the fish! The best bite is at dawn and dusk, but the thrill of the catch is worth it. On a good day you’ll bring home dinner. On a bad day it was a still a nice boat ride that followed the colors of the sun.
  9. Fill a basket with fresh picked fruit straight from the orchard. Stop at a U-Pick farm for a hands-on experience or pull up to a roadside stand and select from nature’s best.
  10. Count satellites and ponder the stars. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore holds ‘Star Parties’ several times each summer where you can explore the night sky through powerful telescopes. Or kick back next to a campfire and watch for meteors.
  11. Try a new restaurant. Our region is blessed with fantastic local eateries. Try one that’s new —or at least new to you— this summer. On my list: The Franklin on Front and Cass in downtown Traverse City and Tucker’s in Northport.
  12. Walk barefoot along our freshwater coast. Take some time to feel the sand between your toes on a beach walk. You’ll find busy beaches along the shores of West Bay, Frankfort and Empire, or seek solitude at the end of a quiet road in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
  13. People watch at a festival. From the National Cherry Festival to the Northwestern Michigan Fair to the Traverse City Film Festival there’s entertainment to be found in the crowd. You may catch a glimpse of celebrity locals including Michael Moore, Carter Oosterhouse and Mario Batali.
  14. Buy art from a local artist. Local art makes a unique souvenir from your trip up north. Check out Michigan Artists Gallery in Suttons Bay, Gallery 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and Art and Soul in downtown TC.
  15. Drink the fruits of our land. The wineries are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Grand Traverse region. But as a local, I’m proud to say I love them too. Take a trip on Old Mission or Leelanau county and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Before you go, check out my tips for wine-tasting in Northern Michigan.
  16. Jump off a dock. Swing from a rope, dive in a pool, take flight over a body of water and land with a splash. That’s summer lovin’ at its watery best.
  17. Marvel at a Museum. From unexpected treasures at the Music House Museum, to fine art at the Dennos to hands-on fun at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, there’s indoor fun to be had in Traverse City too.
  18. Run down the dunes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes is a must-visit every summer. From the dune climb that overlooks Big and Little Glen, to the quieter spots in the National Park, find your spot to run with the wind in your hair and legs out of control.
  19. Eat dessert from a cone. Is there a more perfect summer food than ice cream? We make regular trips to Moomer’s for homemade deliciousness complete with farm views. But if you want to feel like a local order the Cosmo cone from the Dairy Lodge.
  20. Roast s’mores over an open flame. My secret for a perfect s’more:  buy the giant marshmellos, roast until gooey, remove skewer and slip two squares of chocolate inside the marshmello. Squeeze between two grahams and enjoy. This will be the most delicious mess you eat all summer.
  21. Float down the Platte. Whether you like to bob on a tube, cruise in a kayak or navigate with a canoe, a trip down the Platte from Riverside Canoes is the best way to enjoy the river. Plan to spend some time at the mouth swimming in the warm current as it empties into Lake Michigan.
  22. Dinner at the Manitou. After spending my high school and college years as a waitress here I can’t let a summer go by without a trip to the Manitou Restaurant on M-22 near Crystal Lake. No skimping either. Start with the skinny dippers and finish with blueberry raspberry pie.
  23. Climb a lighthouse tower. Nothing beats the view from the top of a lighthouse in Michigan. We’re lucky to have several you can climb including the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum. Did you know you can see four islands from their tower?
  24. Ride the new Heritage Trail. Bikers will want to check out the brand new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail that runs from the Dune Climb south to Empire. It’s a beautiful new addition to the park.
  25. Dine al fresco. I do a lot of grab-n-go dining as I’m on the road. But in the summer I try to slow down for a meal al fresco. Check out the seating at Morsels along the Boardman River for a coffee or snack. Or grab a bite from the food trucks that park at The Little Fleet.
  26. Buy fresh fruit from a roadside stand. Cruise up M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula and you’ll find lovely roadside stands all summer selling cherries, peaches, apricots and flowers. Some are washed and ready to eat.
  27. Play golf. This region is surrounded by world class golf courses so grab a tee time. My favorite course has waterfalls, pirates and a zipline that traverses over the go-carts. Yep, I’ll be working on my hole-in-one at Pirates Cove.
  28. Take the boat to South Manitou Island. If you want to experience true north, the way it was before settlements took hold, then take the Manitou Transit from Leland and visit South Manitou Island. Climb the lighthouse, walk the beach and look for shipwrecks off the coast.
  29. Shop around M-22. Some of my favorite summer shops are scattered among coastal towns along M-22. I always sneek up to Suttons Bay to visit The Happy Woman, and At Home, Haystacks has my favorite skirts, and check Wildflowers in Glen Arbor for great garden gifts and fun jewelry.
  30. Photograph a sunset at Point Betsie Lighthouse. The most photographed lighthouse in the state, Point Betsie is an iconic subject for so many reasons. Catch the light at sunset, with waves crashing along the sandy shore… it’s a moment worth capturing on film.
  31. Pick blueberries. It could be strawberries, or cherries, but every year I say I’m going to pick blueberries from one of the farms on Old Mission or in Benzie County but I never make it! This is going to be the year.
  32. Visit the Crystal Lake Alpaca farm. Along Grace Rd between Benzonia and Frankfort you’ll find the Crystal Lake Alpaca farm. Bring the kids to pet the animals, and bring your wallet to buy some of the amazing clothing and gifts they make on-site.
  33. Drink from Mineral Springs. I don’t know if this makes you a tourist or a traveler. But every year my family drinks from the Mineral Springs in downtown Frankfort. Drink for tradition, drink for good health, but hold your nose. I still don’t like the smell.
  34. Learn about our legends and lore. Our native American heritage fills this region with legends, artifacts and traditions. Spend a day at the History Center, or Eyaawing museum near Suttons Bay to learn about our native cultures, and the people who built these communities.
  35. Find a secluded beach. Most days I’m happy if I can squeeze my towel in between beach goers from all different states, and watch families enjoying the shoreline. But somedays I seek a quiet place to walk and think. Find a happy stretch along the shore and relax.
  36. Set sail on Grand Traverse Bay. Kids will love to help hoist the sails aboard the Traverse Tall Ship Manitou that cruises daily on the bay. Looking for dancing and cocktails? Check out the Nauti-cat. And if a romantic sunset is what you seek, set sail aboard Scout.
  37. Take a behind-the-scenes tour. Whether you’re a foodie, a history lover or wine geek there’s a tour to be had if you ask. Sign-up online for a tour at the Grand Traverse Distillery or take an historic tour of the old state hospital grounds at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
  38. Listen to a concert at Interlochen Center for the Arts. We are so blessed to have a world renowned school for the arts in our woodland backyard. Once you’ve listened to an Interlochen concert at Kresge with the summer breeze on your shoulders and music in the air, you’ll make sure this is on your list every year.
  39. Catch up with old friends. From backyard BBQs to campfires to a night on the town summertime is my favorite time to schedule time with old friends. Each year I meet my college roommates for at least one weekend of out-of-town fun.
  40. Make new friends. When you sit down at the bar for a cup of coffee, or are waiting in line at a popular restaurant, strike up a conversation with the person next you. More often than not I’m amazed by our connections and what a small world this really is.
  41. Tour a local art fair. From craft fairs to fine art juried shows, there’s an artfair somewhere nearly every weekend in the summer. I never miss the Frankfort art fair in August, but not just for the art. I’m in love with the chicken dinners they cook in the park. Best Chicken EVER!
  42. Boat party at the sandbar. The party crowd heads to Torch Lake where the sandbar is legendary. But the locals? We hang at Power Island when the beaches get crowded. Don’t have a boat? No problem. Hitch a ride from Bowers Harbor over to Power Island on the new transit and you’ll find pop-up parties all summer long.
  43. Get soaked to the skin in the warm summer rain. Surprise your kids, and perhaps yourself, when you throw logic and reason out the window and dance in the rain. No umbrella, no shoes, just pure spontaneous fun. I promise this will bring a smile to your face on a rainy day.
  44. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Baby’s Breath, Queen Anne’s Lace, wild Thistle, there are dozens of lovely wildflowers growing along the roadside. Pick up a field guide to help identify flowers, rocks and animals found in northern Michigan. Just be sure you don’t pick anything protected.
  45. Watch a ball game. Traverse City has the Beach Bums to quench our thirst for America’s pastime. Their beautiful stadium just outside downtown Traverse City is fun for the whole family. And every game finishes with fireworks.
  46. Visit Fishtown. Browse the quaint shops that line the century-old fishing wharf, pick up some smoked whitefish from Carlson’s, have a Chubby Mary overlooking the falls or grab a pretzel bread sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty. A day in Leland’s fishtown is a summer must-do.
  47. Tell stories around a campfire. Beach bonfires, campground fires surrounded by tents, patio hearths with potbelly stoves, pick your poison and enjoy one of summer’s iconic experiences. I like mine on the shores of a lake telling stories of summers past.
  48. Shop the farmers market. We are blessed to live in an agricultural paradise. And that’s never more apparent than on a trip to the farmer’s market. Every town has them.
  49. Eat cherries everyday! Well, maybe not that often. But when you live in cherry country why not enjoy it? Benjamin Twiggs has everything Cherry so you can shop to your heart’s content. And if you just want a sweet cherry treat: stop by Reflect Bistro inside the Cambria Suites for a cherry bread pudding that’s to die for!
  50. Party in the street. Wrap up the week with an evening at Friday Night Live in downtown Traverse City. Buy a balloon, enjoy live music, have your face painted. A perfect place to be a kid again…or bring one.
  51. Savor a simple homebaked snack. The smell of warm bread or cookies coming out of the oven is delicious any time of year. If I walk into Pleasanton Bakery I’m walking out with their Parmesan Olive bread and one of the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever tasted. So much yum!
  52. Get out on the water. Hop on a boat or a jet ski and ride out to where the deep water lives, clear and blue green as far as the eyes can see…and dive in! That is pure Michigan bliss.
  53. Eat your fill of fresh sweet corn. Nobody beats Hall’s farm on North Long Lake Road in Traverse City. For a fabulous summer salad try this corn and blueberry salad. It’s great served like a salsa with tortilla chips too. My secret potluck party weapon.
  54. Photograph the everyday moments. It’s not the parties and holidays that spark nostalgia but the details of summer memories past. Capture the special places, people and things in your life. You’ll thank me later.
  55. Play a sport on the lawn. Badmitten, croquet, bocce or new favorites like ring toss and bean bag games make fun family competitions a must-do for summer. For an entertaining contest try shooting ping-pong balls off of golf tees with rubber bands.
  56. Spend a hot day at a cool pool. My kids love the outdoor pool at Waters Edge at Crystal Mountain and can’t wait to try their new ropes course that lies above. Or you could stay and play at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, an indoor waterpark resort.
  57. Explore The Village. Wander the old state hospital grounds inside the Grand Traverse Commons, also known as The Village. Sip wine or cider at Left Foot Charley, pick up some Michigan gear at High Five Threads, or walk the trails that wind all around Traverse City’s version of Central Park.
  58. Watch a movie at an historic theater. Our community is lucky to have several renovated theaters back in action. The State Theatre in Traverse City,  The Garden in Frankfort and the Bijou by the Bay (formerly the Con Foster Museum). Restored classic theatres where the movies are great, and so are the prices.
  59. Eat, drink and shop local. Summer is the absolute best time to enjoy the bounty of northern Michigan and support the businesses that thrive on the extra traffic. So eat at a local hotspot, drink our wines and beers, and buy something that will forever remind you of this summer. The summer you spent enjoying EVERY DAY in this beautiful land of ours.
I’m Brandy from Traverse Traveler, and this is my list. I hope you’ll find something on it to add yours. If you have a favorite that I’ve forgotten, please add it in the comments. I love to discover new ways to enjoy this community. Happy Summer everyone!

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift GuideI know it’s challenging to find the time to scour the stores hunting for the perfect gift. So each year I sneak out to our local retailers in search of eye catching items for someone special on your list. I hope these suggestions will get the holiday spirit flowing. Each item includes a price (or price range) and the northern Michigan store where it can be purchased. I encourage you to shop local and help boost the economy in our own backyard. (more…)

How to Plan a Fall Color Wine Tour in Traverse City

Fall Color Wine Tour Traverse City image

Planning a wine tour in Northern Michigan this year? We’ve gathered a few tips to make the most out of your next wine tasting trip from Traverse City to Leelanau or Old Mission Peninsula.

 

What to Bring

• Camera. The wineries are beautiful any time of year, but especially in the fall during harvest season. You’ll want a few pics to remember your trip.

• Money. Many of the wineries now have tasting fees. Bring cash to cover fees where you might not purchase a bottle of wine. Each winery’s policy is different.

• Bottled water. Here’s a tip from the Kathy at Bel Lago, “For a successful wine tour, drink as much water as you do in wine. And be sure to eat.”

• Snacks. Cheese spreads, breads, crackers and fruit all pair well with wine and won’t spoil your palette for the wines you’ve yet to taste.

• Smartphone. The Traverse Traveler app was designed with the wine tourist in mind. This handy mobile guide will help you research, plan and navigate a wine tour in northern Michigan. And best of all, it’s a free download for iPhone and Android users.

 

What to Leave at Home

“Don’t wear lipstick.” This tip is from Caryn at 2 Lads Winery. It’s not just the marks on the glass that are left behind. Lipstick imparts flavors like petroleum and other chemicals when wine passes over your lips.

• No perfume. It ruins your tasting experience, and everyone elses. The scent of one person’s perfume can contaminate the air in a tasting room for hours.

• Cigarettes. Your sense of smell is a large part of the wine tasting experience. And smoke is a very stong scent. Like perfume it affects those around you. So please leave the smokes in your car.

• Gum. You can’t taste past it, especially mint. So stow the Altoids and TicTacs too.

• Dogs & Kids. A wine tour is meant for the 21+ crowd. While you may see a few wine dogs throughout your travels, several of the tasting rooms offer food pairings, which means it’s against their health code to have dogs in the winery. So as a general rule, take the kids and pets to the beach or the park, but not on a wine tour.

 

Planning Your Wine Tour

With nearly three dozen wineries in our tip of the mitten it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out where to start. Here are a few tips on planning a wine tasting route from Traverse City.

• You can’t see them all. Make a list of favorites, or recommended wineries you want to be sure to visit, and squeeze in others as time allows.

• Stick to one peninsula. There are two distinct AVAs in our region: Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission. Stick to one or the other for a one-day trip. The wineries are scattered throughout each peninsula making it difficult to jump back and forth.

• There’s an app for that! Use the Wineries category on the Traverse Traveler app to choose which stops you want to make. The maps are great for navigating between wineries via backroads for a more scenic tour, or finding the fastest route.

• Map it. Pick up the large map from the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau. If you’re not a smartphone user this will be a hands-on resource for finding your way around both peninsulas.

• Beware of high traffic times. If you’re wine tasting during peak fall season your best days are mid week. If you must come on a weekend be prepared for crowds. Most of our wineries have small tasting rooms with even smaller tasting bars. On a busy weekend you may have to wait to get a turn at the bar.

• Go off the beaten path. Most tasting rooms in Leelanau and Old Mission are lucky to be located near the vineyard. But that vineyard isn’t necessarily on a major highway. Part of the fun is exploring and discovering new locations. Start at the top of the peninsula and work your way south. Or make a plan to stay inland and visit some of the smaller boutique wineries.

 

 

Group Wine Tours

There are some special considerations to planning a wine tour when you’re traveling with a group. Here are some tips to maximize the fun and minimize the hassle when planning a group wine tour.

• Size matters. Wine tasting with friends can be a wonderful experience. But if your group is too large it can cause problems which detract from your enjoyment. In our experience a group of 10 or less is the ideal size. Larger groups will have additional limitations on where you can go, how quickly you will move from place to place, and tasting room fees.

• Carpool. Part of the fun of a group wine tasting is comparing notes about each winery with your companions as your travel. Pile into one person’s vehicle, rent a van, or book a wine tour. And if at all possible, assign a designated driver. Listen to Ellie at Traverse City Tours who warns, “Don’t come on vacation and leave on probation.”

• Large groups call ahead. For wine tours larger than 10 you should call ahead to each winery. Some tasting rooms are so small they do not allow buses or tours at all, and others have per person tasting fees for the entire party. These are not things you want to discover after you’ve driven across the peninsula to visit.

• Label wine purchases. Hopefully your group will discover many wines they like and purchasing bottles at each location. Pick up a box from the first stop. Using a Sharpie marker label each wine purchased with your initials, or used color coded garage sale stickers. Add additional boxes as needed. When the tour is complete it will be easy to determine which wine was purchased by whom.

• Pack a picnic. It’s important to eat and drink water throughout your wine tour. For a fun experience pack a cooler with cheese, fruit, crackers and bite-sized appetizers or sandwiches. Many of the wineries have picnic tables or areas outside where you can stop and enjoy your snack along the route. There are also markets and farm stands scattered throughout the peninsulas to pick-up snacks along the way.

• Be patient. “Be respectful of other tasters and wait patiently if there’s a crowd,” says Chaning at Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery. When you’re traveling as a group this is especially important since you may have to break into smaller groups, or taste in shifts.

We’ve been on several group wine trips and completely agree with Kyle from Riverside Canoes who says, “My best wine tasting tip is to go tasting with your closest friends. The wine always tastes better!.”

 

Sip Tips from the Pros

Winemakers and tasting room staff are incredibly knowledgeable about their products and their craft. Here are a few of their tips for making the most of a northern Michigan wine tasting experience.

• It’s OK to spit. Ask Bel Lago winemaker Cristin Hosmer and she’ll tell you, “Spitting is OK. In fact it’s encouraged.”It cuts down on your consumption of alcohol. So remember, “The dump bucket is your friend.”

• Chew your sparkles. When tasting a sparkling wine, “You don’t want to drink bubbly like you kiss your grandmother.” If you’ve been pursing your lips when you sip sparkling wine from a glass you’ve got it all wrong. Instead,“Chew, hold and slowly swallow,” instructs Don at L. Mawby. By chewing the wine the bubbles explode in your mouth allowing the flavors to disperse. Try it. It’s a whole new experience.

• Eat mild not wild. “Don’t eat strong flavored foods  — onion, garlic and spicy dishes — before or during a wine tour,” warns Coryn of Black Star Farms. While a bottle of wine may pair well with some of these dishes, the pungent flavors will linger throughout your wine tour affecting the rest of the wines you taste.

• Not a free drunk. Wine tasting is not a free ticket to inebriation. “Don’t treat a wine tour like happy hour at a bar,” reminds Tom at Peninsula Cellars. Guests in a tasting room are there to learn about wine, and are offered tastes (sometimes free) to determine which wines they might like best. If you’re more interested in hanging out at a bar and chatting with your girlfriends, you’ve got the wrong kind of bar. Just be respectful of the staff’s time, and the product that they’re freely sharing so that you’ll discover something you’d like to buy.

 

A wine tour is a great way to explore Traverse City and the countryside in Northern Michigan. With these handy tips you’ll be sure to make the most of the adventure. For more fabulous day trips in northern Michigan this fall check out our post: 22 Reasons for a Fall M-22 Roadtrip.

By |2018-09-12T13:20:15-04:00October 4th, 2012|Travel Tips, Wineries|0 Comments

Summer Sippers: Cocktails from Northern Michigan

Cocktail recipes from Northern MichiganI love my Michigan Wine, but sometimes summer calls for a cocktail.

So I decided to share a collection of drink recipes made from Michigan wine, spirits and beer. Cheers!

 

 

 

Raz Be Daz  |  Recipe from Black Star Farms

To make this, pour ¾ glass of Black Star Farms Be Dazzled Sparkling wine, and then top off the glass with a little Black Star Farms Sirius Raspberry Dessert Wine.

 

 

True North Lemonade  |  Recipe from Grand Traverse Distillery

1 ½ – 2oz Grand Traverse Distillery True North Cherry Flavored Vodka
6oz of a tart lemonade, Simply Lemonade in the refrigerated section of local stores works great.
Add a splash of pomegranate, cherry, or cranberry juice.

Mix over ice and enjoy.

 

 

Strawberry Sangria  |  Recipe from 2 Lads Winery
 
1 bottle of 2Lads Rosé of Cabernet Franc
½ cup white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 cups ginger ale (Vernors if you can get it!)
 
In a large pitcher mix the wine, sugar, lemon and strawberries. Refrigerate for several hours, or up to a day. Add ginger ale just before serving over ice. Enjoy!

 

 

World Famous Cherry Wine Sangria  |  Recipe from Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard & Winery

2 bottles Chateau de Leelanau Cherry Wine
½ bottle Chateau de Leelanau Sparkling Cherry Juice
1 orange, sliced
½ pineapple, sliced
½ lemon, sliced
½ lime, sliced
1 qt fresh strawberries, sliced

Mix fruit and cherry wine together in large container, refrigerate. When ready to serve add sparking cherry juice and pour over ice.

 

 

Cherry-tini  |  Recipe from Uncorked Wine Bar

1 ½ oz. Grand Traverse Distillery True North Cherry Flavored Vodka
1 oz Peninsula Cellars Melange
½ oz Indian Summer Cherry juice
splash grenadine

Mix on ice, pour into a martini glass and garnish with maraschino cherries.

 

 

RBB Summer Shandy  |  Recipe from Right Brain Brewery

Right Brain Brewery Blue Magic Lavender wheat (made with local Lavender from Light of Day organics) or our Citral Wheat (made with local Nugget hops) mixed with Grand Traverse Distillery Wheat Vodka.

 

 

Applemosa  |  Recipe from Bel Lago Vineyard & Winery

Bel Lago Brut Rose Sparkling Wine with a splash of Apple Cider

 

 

Peach Fus"tini"  |  Recipe from Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars

½ oz. Fustini’s Peach Balsamic Vinegar
1 oz. Grand Traverse Distillery True North Vodka
Sparkling water & ice

Mix peach balsamic vinegar and vodka in a glass with ice. Add sparkling water to fill. Serve.

 

 

Blueberry Mint Lemonade  |  Recipe by Drink Michigan

1/3 cup fresh mint
1 cup of blueberries
4 cups of water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 bag or 8 lemons)
1 cup of Grand Traverse Distillery Wheat Vodka

In a blender, add the water, lemon juice, mint leaves, blueberries, and sugar. Blend until mixture turns pink. Let sit for at least an hour, then strain to remove blueberry and mint leaves. Add in your vodka, chill and serve over ice!

* For a family-friendly option, serve sans alcohol. A nice treat for the kiddos too.

 

 

Dragon’s Milk Ice Cream Float  |  Recipe by DinnerFeed

1 (pint, 6-ounce) bottle Dragon’s Milk Ale (New Holland Brewing)
6 large scoops vanilla ice cream
6 strawberries, each slliced into a fan for a garnish (optional)

Mound scoops on vanilla ice cream in bowls or glasses. Carefully divide and pour Dragon’s Milk over ice cream. (Pour slowly off to the lip of the glass. Dragon’s Milk is quite foamy.) Garnish with strawberry fans, if using, and serve.

* Might I suggest some Moomers ice cream if you’re in Traverse City, or if you’re at the grocery Hudsonville Ice Cream is also made in Michigan.

 

Remember, Buy Local also means Drink Local! Visit your local Michigan wineries, craft breweries and distilleries this summer.

 

By |2011-06-23T08:17:51-04:00June 23rd, 2011|local recipes, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Take a Tour of 2 Lads Winery

2 Lads Winery tour photoGo Behind the Scenes at 2 Lads Winery on a Public Tour

One of the area’s most unique wineries is now opening their production area for tours. 2 Lads Winery on Old Mission Peninsula will conduct regular public tours every Monday, Thursday and Friday at noon and 3:00pm. Booking is on a first come, first served basis and accommodates up to 10 people.

Cost is $20 per person and includes a vineyard tour (weather permitting), cellar tour and a premium wine and food pairing led by one of the 2 Lads crew in the privacy of our gallery.
 

 

Taking a tour of one our area wineries is a great way to expand your knowledge of wine making, and discover what makes each winery, and the wines they produce, so unique. That’s why taking a Behind the Scenes tour is one of my 50 Ways to Love Your Summer.

 

 

 

By |2010-07-21T07:09:28-04:00July 21st, 2010|Attractions, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Wonderful World of Michigan Wine, Beer and Spirits

The beverage business is booming in Michigan. And everyone from visitors to lodging personnel to locals wants to keep up with what’s new in the world of wine, beer and spirits in Northern Michigan. So here are some highlights from our customers in the industry. 

 

Right Brain Brewery mealtickets cardRight Brain Brewery

90 lbs of asparagus were grilled and turned into what has become a springtime favorite at RBB: Empire Spear Beer. Don’t worry if you missed it at the Empire Asparagus Festival, it’s on tap at the brewery. And for all the gluten-free customers out there it’s time to send up a cheer for the first ever gluten-free beer at RBB. "Katy Bar the Door" is an ode to the Red Wings #1 gluten allergy advocate, Mickey Redman. It’s made with roasted chestnuts, local honey, and 100% local hops.

 

Black Star Farms Mealtickets cardBlack Star Farms

Just fresh from bottling is the ’09 Riesling at Black Star Farms. The winemakers notes will tell you, "This wine presents classic Riesling aromas of delicate white flowers and stone fruit. Ripe flavors of citrus, peach and apple follow on the palate. It is a lovely off-dry medium bodied white wine." And if you’re looking for a great date night or fun place to meet up with friends, why not check out the Matterhorn Grill at Tastes of Black Star Farms inside the Mercado at The Village. Sit around a miniature grill dining on melted Raclette, meats and veggies will sipping something tasty. Yum.

 

Bel Lago Mealtickets cardBel Lago Vineyard & Winery

Bel Lago Winery’s 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling has been judged BEST WHITE WINE at the 2010 Pacific
Rim International Wine Competition, held in San Bernardino, CA.  Bel Lago 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling won a Gold Medal and the Best of Class award for Off-Dry Riesling, and then competed against all the other Best of Class White Wine varietal winners, and was judged Best White Wine overall. Stop by their tasting room across from beautiful Lake Leelanau and taste for yourself. Congratulations Bel Lago.

 

Left Foot Charley Mealtickets cardLeft Foot Charley

Despite a challenging ’09 growing season Bryan has pulled together an interesting vintage from their fruits of last year. The ’09 Pinot Blanc is from Island View Vineyard on Old Mission Peninsula. In his own words, "Island View came through again in the tough ’09 vintage. We made the crew sort the grapes into golden and green clusters then the two lots were pressed and fermented individually and carefully blended back together to form this complex bright dry wine. Great apple notes with a striking citrus finish. Very limited production – you snooze you lose." Also check out their Sparking Hard Apple Cider and The Cobbler; a double fermented cider with a cinnamon flavor. Try it served ala mode with Moomers ice cream on the side.

 

2 Lads Winery Mealtickets card2 Lads Winery

Bring on the bubbly. Two Lads is ready to release their 2002 vintage bubbly. "The 2002 Dry Sparkling Wine has been in the cellar doing extended aging en tirage (on the lees). This June will be the last time you will be able to purchase and enjoy this rare and spectacular gem. A non-traditional blend exhibiting an exotic, vibrant bouquet and a seductive mouth feel. When released, this wine will have seen seven years en tirage and is exemplary of Northern Michigan’s potential to be the United States’ preeminent sparkling wine region." With less than 500 bottles left in the cage there’s no time to waste in making a trip up to 2 Lads for a bottle.

 

Peninsula Cellars Mealtickets cardPeninsula Cellars

In case you missed it, Peninsula Cellars was among several local wineries who made the B-list according to a recent article in Food & Wine magazine. The article certainly reinforced the fact that you can’t judge a winery by it’s apparent size or location on a map. And it highlighted one of my family’s favorite easy-drinking reds; Detention. Speaking of easy-drinking, don’t leave this little schoolhouse without a bottle of Homework, their Pinot Noir Rose.

 

Grand Traverse Distillery Mealtickets cardGrand Traverse Distillery

If you haven’t been out to visit the George and Kent now’s the time. At their production facility they’ve expanded the tasting room area to accommodate all the new visitors we’re sending their way. You’ll also find some new spirits that will hopefully raise yours. Check out Ole George Whiskey, 100% Rye whiskey now available in the tasting room. I also discoverd a limited bottling of Chocolate Vodka. Sounds like cocktail hour is going to get crazy this summer at Grand Traverse Distillery.

 

Uncorked Wine Bar Mealtickets cardUncorked Wine Bar

If you’ve stepped inside the Cherry Stop lately you can’t miss what’s going on with Uncorked. In order to create two separate spaces for visitors to enjoy they are remodeling and moving the wine bar up front. When they’re finished with the upgrade customers there to visit Uncorked will come in a separate entrance that leads straight to the bar, located under a pergola inside the building. The seating and beautiful Grand Traverse Bay views are still in the back. And plans for another Meet the Winemaker event in June are in the works. So stop in for a sample or pick up a bottle of your favorite local wine while you’re shopping downtown Traverse City.

 

 

Upcoming Festival and Events

One of the best ways to enjoy summer in Michigan is spending an afternoon at a Wine Festival, or Beer Festival or a combination thereof. So here’s a list of some of the upcoming festivals in Northern Michigan and throughout the state.

May 21-22  |  World Expo of Beer, Frankenmuth, Michigan

May 29  |  Michigan Beer & Brat Festival, Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan

 

June 12  |  Leland Wine & Food Festival, Leland, Michigan

June 26-27  |  Michigan Wine & Brew Festival, Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan

 

July 23-24  |  Michigan Summer Beer Festival, Ypsilanti, Michigan

 

August 6  |  Old Mission Peninsula Wine & Food Celebration, Bowers Harbor Park on Old Mission, Traverse City, Michigan

August 14  |  Leelanau Peninsula Wine & Food Festival, Northport, Michigan

August 21  |  Traverse City Wine & Food Festival, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City, Michigan

August 27-28  |  Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Traverse City, Michigan

By |2010-05-20T08:38:56-04:00May 20th, 2010|Attractions, Leelanau, Traverse City, Wineries|1 Comment

Uncorked Wine Bar, Mealtickets Latest Addition

Uncorked Wine Bar Mealtickets cardLove Michigan Wines, Then You’ll Love Uncorked!

 

Did you know that Downtown Traverse City has a wine bar dedicated to promoting Michigan wine, beer and spirits? Uncorked, a Northern Michigan Wine Bar is located on Front Street and you may not have known it was there. That’s because it’s inside The Cherry Stop. And it’s home to an amazing opportunity for you to unwind, unplug and sip on some fabulous cocktails.

 

There is no where else in Traverse City you can step up to the bar and order a flight of riesling for a side-by-side taste test, and be able to walk out the door with a bottle of your favorite label. Whether you want to order a wine sample, sip on a Michigan microbrew draft, or savor a cocktail made from local spirits, the options are endless at Uncorked.

The Cherry Stop has been with Mealtickets from the day we opened for business. And we’re very excited to welcome another great idea from Nick and Jamie Roster into Mealtickets service. Stop in for a glass, sign up for one of their Meet the Winemaker events or enjoy happy hour. And tell them we said hello!

Welcome Bel Lago

Bel Lago Winery Mealtickets cardBel Lago…Beautiful Lake: Beautiful Winery

 

If your wine tasting tour has never lead you along the western shore of Lake Leelanau then you’ve missed one of the area’s best wineries. Bel Lago Winery, a recent addition to the Mealtickets little card family, sits across from Lake Leelanau with views of vineyards and crystal blue waters. But the vista pales in comparison to the wines.

 

Known for their amazing choice of varietals and blends, Bel Lago has won awards for nearly every wine entered in competition in the last five years! They began planting grapes in 1987 on the family-owned property, and opened the tasting room in 1999. And still it’s amazing how many people have not heard of this diamond on the shore. We’re hoping to change that.

So next time you’re headed out on a wine tour, or perhaps you’re picking up a bottle for dinner tonight, check out Bel Lago Winery. You can find a map to their off-the-beaten-path location on our Dining and Wineries page. And take a trip to the website for more information, www.bellago.com.

In case you’re wondering, the photo on the card is their view. Not bad, eh?

By |2010-03-19T09:49:40-04:00March 19th, 2010|Leelanau, Wineries|0 Comments

Virtual Wine Tasting with Black Star Farms

Tweet and Taste Michigan graphicTweet & Taste Michigan brings wine lovers together on Twitter for a virtual wine tasting

 

Have you ever wanted to taste wines with the winemaker and compare notes? What if you could sip and savor at home, in your jammies if you like, while discussing Michigan wine with other fans from across the country? On March 8, 2010 you can do just that. Thanks to the folks at Michigan By the Bottle all you need for this fun event are a few bottles of Black Star Farms wines, a computer and a Twitter account.

Black Star Farms Winery is participating in a virtual wine tasting with Tweet & Taste Michigan. Created by Shannon Casey the event brings wine bloggers, winemakers, master sommeliers and wine lovers together to learn and share wine notes online in real time.

 

The event on March 8th starts at 8pm and will feature three Black Star Farms wines:

  • 2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling
  • 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir
  • 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay

 

Interested participants can search twitter using the hashtag #ttmi to find all relevant info on Tweet and Taste Michigan. To RSVP for the event find them on Facebook here.

 

By |2010-02-21T18:13:59-04:00February 21st, 2010|Check This Out, Events, Leelanau, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Great Indoor Folk Festival in The Village 2/13

The 2nd Annual Great Indoor Folk Festival

Saturday, February 13th from 12pm – 5pm
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The all-folk, all-acoustic festival aims to be bigger and better this year, expanding down another hallway at the southern end of the Mercato and also establishing a new stage at Left Foot Charley. As with last year’s event, there will be a band stage, a duo stage, children’s stage and solo stage, as well as an open mic at Cuppa Joe. Family friendly and free admission…fun for all!

 

While you’re at the Commons, stop by Left Foot Charley for their H’arts and Arts for All fundraiser

NM3, RedHot Marketing and Left Foot Charley are sponsoring a special event for VSA (Very Special Arts of Grand Traverse County.) $50 Ticket includes a Silent Auction, Music, Wine & Food. Proceeds to benefit VSA.

For more information contact Left Foot Charley at 231.995.0500.

Winter Wonderfest Returns to Traverse City

winter wonderfest graphic

 

 

A Frosty Weekend of Family Fun comes to the Cherry Capital February 12-14th

The 2010 Cherry Capital Winter Wonderfest is upon us, bringing fun to our frozen city. And this year it’s bigger and better than ever. New events like the Traverse City Microbrew and Music Festival, the "snowball" softball tournament and the Winter Wine Wonderland, will all add the excitement of this growing festival.

This year, there’s something here for everyone; man, woman, child, even dogs! In fact, you can bring your furry friend downtown for the first annual Monster Dog Pull where pooches of all shapes and sizes can test their strength with a weighted sled.

If you’re looking to join the festivities you’ll need to know where to go. Events are schedules across Traverse City, but are primariliy located in three areas: Downtown Traverse City, The Grand Traverse Resort & Spa and Mt. Holiday ski resort.

 

For details on all the events, check out the Cherry Capital Winter Wonderfest website at www.winterwonderfest.org.

Hearth and Vine Opens for Dinner

Black Star Farms announces the opening of Hearth & Vine serving dinner to the public Wednesday through Sunday evenings.
 
 
Black Star Farms, already well known for its award-winning wines and cheeses, is now serving dinner in Hearth & Vine, a vineyard café, at the Suttons Bay farm featuring wood-fired fare in a rustic yet elegant atmosphere.
 
The weekly menu at Hearth & Vine draws on ingredients produced on the farm, including pork and lamb, fresh eggs, 9 Bean Rows hoop house vegetables and hearth baked breads, and of course, Leelanau Cheese Co. cheeses and Black Star Farms wines.  It’s truly a celebration of agriculture.
 
From late spring through fall, Hearth & Vine is open daily serving delicious wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches as well as soups and salads. Black Star Farms wine is available by the glass or bottle along with soft drinks, coffee and tea. Lunch and snacks can be enjoyed out on the terrace or indoors in the cozy cafe.
 
On the market side they’re all about local.  Black Star Farms farm-fresh eggs and fruits and vegetables from their and neighboring farms are offered seasonally.  Pastries, cookies and 9 Bean Rows hearth-baked breads, Black Star Farms maple syrup, verjus and kettle cooked jams and preserves, and the best of other locally produced items are also available.
 
Hearth and Vine is now open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday from 5pm to 9pm.  Seating is limited and reservations are appreciated.  For reservations, please call 231.944.1297

By |2010-02-03T18:28:18-04:00February 3rd, 2010|Leelanau, Restaurants, Wineries|0 Comments

Raclette & "Gewurzling" Tasting Event at Left Foot Charley

Left Foot Charley Introduces "Gewurzling" at Special Tasting Event Friday, January 29th

Left Foot Charley Winery partners with Werner and Margrit Kuehnis to share a traditional Swiss meal – a half wheel of Raclette cheese grilled with potatoes, Black Forest ham, country style bread, pickled veggies, fresh fruit and assorted Swiss sweets. Left Foot Charley introduces the 2009 "Gewurzling" on tap. You guessed it…Gewurztraminer and Riesling blended and served *loose from the tank. Additional Left Foot Charley wines to be named later, and hard cider will be included.

Call 231-995-0500
to reserve your ticket for this event. $35 per person

You will not want to miss this tasty event!

*Loose (adj.)\LUS: (1) not rigidly fastened; (2) not tense, informal;
(3) an Italian convention describing wine sold direct from tank.

By |2010-01-27T15:37:37-04:00January 27th, 2010|Events, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Fustini's Wine Dinner at Hanna Featuring Black Star Farms 11/17

Enjoy the flavors of fall with a wine dinner at Hanna Bistro Bar

Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars is pairing up with Black Star Farms to host a wine dinner this Tuesday, November 17th at 6:30 at Hanna in Downtown Traverse City. Chef Carrie has created a 5 course meal featuring some of the new flavors at Fustini’s. Lee Lutes, winemaker at Black Star Farms, will be on hand to discuss the evenings pairings.

Reservations are required. Call 231.946.8207 to reserve your spot today. The five course gourmet meal is $55/person. To view the menu on-line, click here.

By |2009-11-16T10:27:56-04:00November 16th, 2009|Events, Restaurants, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Harvest Festivus at Left Foot Charley 10-4

harvest festivus Left Foot CharleyCelebrate the grape harvest at Left Foot Charley

 

Put on your lederhosen and head to Left Foot Charley in The Village this Sunday October 4th from 12:00 – 6:00pm for the annual Harvest Festivus celebration.

 

 

  • Free brats with any wine purchase (come early they go fast)
  • Carriage rides through through the Commons, noon – 2:00pm
  • Live music, 3:00 – 5:00pm
  • Don’t miss the new Hard Cider, it’s back and better than ever.

 

By |2009-09-30T19:43:10-04:00September 30th, 2009|Events, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

TripAdvisor Ranks Traverse City in Top 10 Wine Destinations

chateau chantal grapes in autumnMichigan wineries make the grade with TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor announced it’s list of the Top 10 North American Wine Destinations, and Traverse City was among them. Taking the top two positions were Napa Valley and Sonoma, California, no surprise there. But coming in a respectable 8th was Traverse City, Michigan.

According to a survey of 1000 online respondants, interest in wineries is up 10 percent from last year with 48% planning a trip to a U.S. winery this year.

By |2009-09-25T12:58:05-04:00September 25th, 2009|Check This Out, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Fustini's Hosts Wine Dinner at Hanna 9/22

Fustinis card graphicFantastic Evening of Food, Olive Oils & Balsamics, & Wine

Join Fustini’s owners Jim and Lane for a special meal prepared by Chef Carrie at Hanna Bistro Bar in downtown Traverse City, on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6:30pm. Each course accompanied by Spencer Stegenga’s Bowers Harbor Winery wine.

Reservations are requested. Here’s a look at the amazing menu

1st course:
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut Squash, Very Mild Ancho Chile soup drizzled with
Fustini’s Blood Orange Fused Oil.

2nd course:
Salad of Arugula with Pine Nuts, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese
with Fustini’s Fig Balsamic & Manzanillo Single Varietal Oil Vinaigrette.

3rd Course:
Pan Seared Opah w/ warm peach chutney, bacon, watercress
marinated in Fustini’s Peach Balsamic and Garlic Oil.

4th Course:
Chipotle & Persian Lime Chicken with Spanish Rice
made with Fustini’s Chipotle and Persian Lime Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

5th Course:
Cheese Stuffed Poached Pear
Wrapped in puff pastry with Fustini’s Blueberry Balsamic reduction

 

COST PER PERSON $55
FOR RESERVATIONS and MORE DETAILS
CALL HANNA BISTRO – (231) 946-8207
Downtown Traverse City, Michigan

By |2009-09-22T09:57:52-04:00September 22nd, 2009|Check This Out, Events, Restaurants, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments