Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Welkja

Worthwhile Michigan wineries

Posted by Welkja, May 2, 2013.

I know Michigan is not well known for wines but I am traveling to the northwest coast near Traverse City and want to know if anyone knows of any wineries I should check out in this region. There are at least over 200 wineries in the region and many have grape varieties such as Riesling, and Pinot Noir.  I thank you in advance for any help you can give me. Please help me if you can. I will do my own research also. THANKS!



Reply by Snoother 1282125, May 2, 2013.


I used to live in Traverse City and work at a winery there, and I have nothing but good things to say about the region! These are my recommendations for must-see wineries: 

Leelanau Peninsula

L. Mawby Vineyards -- makes only sparkling wines, has a fun, non-pretentious tasting room atmosphere. Try to visit on a day other than Saturday if you're looking to appreciate the wine without the crowds.

Black Star Farms -- great wines, good cheese too. Also has a restaurant on the site (not sure what hours they're open)

Tandem Ciders -- if you're open to trying  some hard ciders, Tandem has some really good, barrel-fermented ciders. Interesting to try varietal hard ciders such as Honeycrisp. They also have sweet cider as well.

Left Foot Charley -- Great Rieslings, nice location in Traverse City with a patio. If you're looking for a fine dining splurge, check out Trattoria Stella after your tasting, which is a wonderful restaurant located in the historic, renovated Building 50 nearby. Great wine list along with locally sourced, seasonal menu.


Old Mission Peninsula

2 Lads -- The wine menu is short, but the wines are excellent and the modern tasting room has a million-dollar view.

Chateau Chantal -- The wines are just OK, but it's worth going to see the best view on the peninsula.

Chateau Grand Traverse -- Solid wines (although the list is very long!), try their ice wine if you get a chance. Very popular on the weekends.

Black Star Farms -- they also have a tasting room on this peninsula, with opportunities to try their fun distilled spirits.

Have a great time!

Reply by Welkja, May 2, 2013.

Thanks, I feel better going to places others have recommended. I will check them out online.  I will be there for four days so I plan on visiting quite a few places if they look interesting.


Reply by GregT, May 5, 2013.

Have not been to the wineries but have had the wines many times as I visit Michigan often, and I'd be interested in several. First of all, forget about Pinot Noir - why try yet another that's not going to be Burgundy? There are far more interesting grapes and wines in the world. 

Wyncroft - may be the best in MI but they're south of the others, they make a great Chard and ironically, a really good PN.  Circa - makes a great Blaufrankish, one of the best I've had outside of Hungary.

Shady Lane - also a good Blaufrankish which they get to call Blue Franc.  Black Star makes a few good Rieslings which I had last week, as well as a late harvest Chard, which is OK I guess, not brilliant.  Grand Traverse does a really good job with Riesling. Also I agree with the recs for Left Foot Charley, and Mawby.

Reply by Welkja, May 5, 2013.

GREGT, thanks for the information. This trip is beginning to look more promising. I would have expected that white wines would dominate in this area but that is okay. Again, Thank you!


Reply by jtryka, May 6, 2013.

These are excellent recommendations so far, and you are correct, the wines here are much better when you stick with the whites rather than the reds, though I have heard the southwest corner of the state is making progress on reds!

Reply by vin0vin0, May 7, 2013.

Dug out the tasting sheets from our 2008 visit to the Old Mission Peninsula when we visited (at that time) their seven wineries.  Agree with snoother's comments above but would also add a nod to Brys Estate, especially their Artisan Series reds (PN and Merlot stood out). Third the recommendation for Left Foot Charley's and dinner at Stella's (a converted asylum).

Reply by JonDerry, May 7, 2013.

Look forward to hearing about your trip to Michigan...some good wines coming out of there from what I hear, but have no specifics to share.

Reply by Welkja, May 7, 2013.


Thanks for the information on Brys Estate. I will let everyone know which wines are worthwhile. I am looking forward to visiting this area.


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