/Tag: wine tasting

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+00:00May 16th, 2018|Travel Tips, Wineries|0 Comments

How to Plan a Fall Color Wine Tour in Traverse City

Fall Color Wine Tour Traverse City image

Planning a fall color 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.

 

wine tour with Traverse Traveler app imageWhat 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.

 

 

Wine Tour imagesWhat 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.

 

 

Wine Tour Planning imagePlanning 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.

 

 

Wine Tour Groups imageGroup Travel

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!."

 

 

Wine Tour Tips imagesSip 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 |2012-10-04T19:33:00+00:00October 4th, 2012|Day Trips, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

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+00:00March 19th, 2010|Leelanau, Wineries|0 Comments

Wine on Tap at Left Foot Charley

 Urban Winery Adds Food and New Wines on Tap

Left Foot Charley, located in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, now features a regular menu of small bites to enjoy along with your tasting selections. The Wine Bar at Left Foot Charley includes fantastic dishes that are healthy, local and pair fabulously with wine. Choose from nearly a dozen options including;

  • The Ploughman’s Lunch:  Denhay Farms Cheddar, fresh bread, olives, and Sopressata salami
  • Left Turn: curry hummus, pita and cukes
  • The Goat: goat cheese, fig, walnut spread and baguette toasts

In an effort to be more cost-effective and eco-friendly, Left Foot Charley is now dispensing some select wines on tap. Bring in your own 1 liter bottle, or buy a wine growler and they’ll fill it on site. They currently feature Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Riesling MD.

For more information on Left Foot Charley, including a map to their location, visit our Dining & Wineries page.

By |2009-03-30T10:36:25+00:00March 30th, 2009|Attractions, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Cherry Stop Meet the Winemaker Event

cherry stop wine photoCherry Stop features John Kroupa of Peninsula Cellars on November 11th

 

Each month the Cherry Stop hosts a special Meet the Winemaker event highlighting the wines one local winery. On Tuesday November 11th guests will gather to enjoy food and wine pairings while learning about the wines from Peninsula Cellars. Cost:  $12, space is limited to 30.

Make your reservations by calling 800.286.7209 or visit the store on Front Street in Downtown Traverse City.

 

Wine lovers be sure to ask about their new wine club which ships two Northern Michigan wines to your door every other month, as well as in store privileges.

By |2008-11-06T14:09:03+00:00November 6th, 2008|Events, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Cherry Stop Hosts Wine Event 10-14

Cherry Stop Features Wines of Chateau Chantal

 

On October 14th from 5:30pm – 7:00pm The Cherry Stop will host their first wine tasting event. A representative from the winery will present and discuss the wines. They will feature six of Chateau Chantal’s wines and serve a selection of easy to prepare hors d’ oeuvres to complement the wines.

Seating will be limited. Tickets are $12.00 per person and may be purchased at The Cherry Stop or ordered by phone.

This will be the first in a series of Wine Tasting Events held at The Cherry Stop, featuring select wineries. The Cherry Stop is located on Front street in downtown Traverse City.

By |2008-10-06T19:23:36+00:00October 6th, 2008|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Cherry Stop Now Offering Forty-Five North Wines

Enjoy a Taste of Forty-Five North Exclusively in Downtown Traverse City

With their tasting room still under construction Forty-Five North needed a place for wine lovers to sample their growing list of award-winning wines. The Cherry Stop, on Front Street in Traverse City, offered the perfect solution. Their new wine bar allows guests to sample wines by flight, as an individual taste, or even by the glass. 

Shawn Walters, winemaker for Forty-Five North has already created some award-winning wines at the state-of-the-art winery in Leelanau Peninsula. The Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir Rose and Dry Riesling all achieved "Double Gold" awards at the 2008 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition in California.

Currently there are 9 wines from Forty-Five North available for tasting at The Cherry Stop including their Late Harvest Vignole, 45 White and Pinot Noir which have also received prestigious awards. 

 

For more information on the Wine Bar at the Cherry Stop check out our recent post here. For a map and details on their location check out our Attractions page.

Forty-Five North cards are coming soon to the Meal Tickets & Unusual Ideas displays and website so stay tuned!

Wine Bar Opens at the Cherry Stop

The Cherry Stop Brings Wine Tasting to Downtown Traverse City

If you’ve wandered into the popular cherry store this spring you’ve probably noticed some changes. Owners Nick and Jamie Roster took on a few renovations, and some minor construction to create a fabulous new resource for wine lovers and area wineries alike. Their Northern Michigan Wine Bar will feature wine selections from over 20 local wineries. Guests will have the opportunity to taste and compare wines in flights or by the glass.

 

They are currently featuring two flights of cherry wines, representing five different wineries in each, as well as a flight of Riesling. The paid tastings, as required by state liquor laws, are reasonably priced, with flights for $3.50 and single tastings for $0.75. And unlike most tasting rooms their wines are also available by the glass. The Cherry Stop has increased their wine inventory substantially to accommodate the new tasting bar and allow guests the option to purchase a bottle before they leave.

 

With an ever growing number of area wineries, and countless wines available, the Rosters plan to feature new wines and wineries on a rotating basis. Future opportunities include special events with the winemakers, featured tastings, and food pairings including cheese and desserts from local businesses.

 

For more information about The Cherry Stop, including a map to their location, check out their card on our Attractions page, or visit their website here.