Old Mission Peninsula is the latest and coolest of Michigan’s four AVAs. Approved in 1987, this finger-like piece of land juts northward from Traverse City into Grand Traverse Bay, splitting the bay into a western and an eastern arm. The narrow peninsula is 19 miles long and just 3 miles across at its widest, with vineyards never far from the deep, cooling waters of Grand Traverse Bay. While the extreme "lake effect" keeps heat figures low, it also prevents temperatures from dropping too far, ensuring virtually frost-free conditions during the short 145-day growing season. In this chilly climate, suitable vine choices include cold-hardy clones of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, for whites, and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for reds. Old Mission Peninsula’s cool conditions and slow ripening creates wines with crisp, fresh varietal character, as well as high-quality Traditional Method sparkling wine from the classic Champagne varieties.
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