A Healthier Michigan’s A-Z Guide to Michigan Wineries: 2013 Central & Northern Lower Peninsula edition

Dr. Angela Seabright
Mike Miller

| 14 min read

Welcome to another installment of A Healthier Michigan’s A-Z Guide to Michigan Wineries.
Previous installments took us east and west, but this week we’re heading to where all the action is: the central & northern lower peninsula. There’s clearly “something in soil,” as seen in the glut of wineries and vineyards in this area, particularly the Leelanau peninsula. In fact, many Michigan wineries have their vineyards in the north, or import grapes from many of the vineyards in and around the area.
With that, please enjoy the wine-makers of Michigan’s Central & Northern Peninsula regions:


  • 2 Lads Winery – Traverse City: 2 Lads tasting room is a unique blend of modern design with classic elements. They offer a full palette of wines, focusing on robust reds and sparkling and white wines.specializes in full-bodied, new world style red wines with sparking and white wines to round out the offerings.


  • Bel Lago Winery – Cedar: In making their wines Bel Lago harvests grapes grown in their own family’s vineyards that overlook Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan.
  • Black Star Farms – Traverse City: Black Star’s friendly staff serves up their wine over a wine-barrel bar by the fireplace. In addition to their award winning wines, brandy is served as well, both of which express northwest Michigan’s regional nature.
  • Black Star Farms Tasting Room & Inn – Leelanau Peninsula – Suttons Bay: The friendly and informative staff is ready to help you through your tasting of Black Star’s extensive list of wines, ciders, brandies and dessert wines. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, you’re bound to discover a new favorite to take home.
  • Blue Water Winery and Vineyards – Carsonville: What do two software executives out of Chicago do when they’ve had enough of the daily rat race? Pull up stakes, buy a farm and open an award winning winery just off the shores of Lake Huron, that’s what. They’ve also recently planted a field of hops.
  • Blustone Vineyards – Lake Leelanau: Bluestone’s award winning wines and their approach to winemaking are based upon the delicate simplicity and “hidden gem” nature of Lake Leelanau. This connection infuses and inspires with every sip.
  • Boathouse Vineyards – Lake Leelanau: Situated on the narrows between North and South Lake Leelanau, boaters can dock and walk right into the tasting room, where Boathouse Vineyards award winning wines are served on their unique horseshoe bar.
  • Boskydel Vineyards – Lake Leelanau: Boskydel’s tasting room is full of curious art, photos and various chotchkes. Here they serve their small batches of dry and semi-sweet table wines. At Christmas time they also sell Christmas trees and chestnuts.
  • Bowers Harbor Vineyards – Traverse City: You’ll be greeted by Brix, Bowers Harbor’s official canine mascot and greeter. who will guide you into the tasting room to experience the scenic views, award winning wines (including Brix’ own blend) and the rest of the friendly staff.
  • Brengman Brothers Crain Hill Vineyards – Traverse City: Brengman Brothers factor in the soil, sun and event he breeze when growing their grapes. The 45 acre vineyard is produces several grape varieties, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pino Noir.
  • Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery – Traverse City: The Brys fulfilled their lifelong dream of operating a vineyard and winery when early retirement didn’t suit them. Exclusively estate made and using only the finest ingredients the vineyard produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.


  • Cadillac Winery – LeRoy: Cadillac Winery is tucked inland amongst the pine trees, farms and rolling hills. Fruit infused wines, a selection of table reds and whites, and chocolate dessert wines are served in the old world style tasting room.
  • Chateau Chantal – Traverse City: Chateau Chantal is open daily all year round. In addition to the winery and vineyards, Chateau Chantal operates as a bed & breakfast, making it a perfect retreat into the old word on the Old Mission Peninsula. Tours are available and they host events seasonally.
  • Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard and Winery – Suttons Bay: Offering traditional style wines like Pinot Noir, fizzy fruit wines and ciders, the veteran winemakers at Chateau de Leelanau express their passion for wine with over a dozen styles.
  • Chateau Fontaine – Lake Leelanau: What used to be a potato farm and cow field is now Chateau Fontaine: home to 27 acres of grapes including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Auxorrais, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah.
  • Chateau Grand Traverse – Traverse City: Chateau Grand Traverse has it all: experience, technique, passion and technology. The oldest and largest winery on Old Mission Peninsula, the over 120 acres serve up spectacular views and even more stunning wines.
  • Chateau Grand Traverse Tasting Room – Williamsburg: One of three wine tasting rooms operated by Chateau Grand Traverse in the Traverse City area. Here you can sample all of Chateau Grand Traverse’s wines.
  • Cherry Republic, Inc. – Glen Arbor: Everything comes up cherry at Cherry Republic, with over 150 cherry based gourmet products on sale at their main location in Glen Arbor as well as locations in Traverse City, Charlevoix and Ann Arbor. They currently offer five styles of cherry wine.
  • Ciccone Vineyards – Suttons Bay: The vineyard sits on the slopes of the rolling hills of the Leelanau Peninsula. Lake Michigan to the west, Grand Traverse Bay to the east, the hills furtive soil grows Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
  • Circa Estate Winery – Lake Leelanau: Circa Estates artisan winemakers draw inspiration from the old and new worlds alike while inviting to use your imagination in drinking any of their five varietals. The journey is yours to unfold and describe.


  • Dizzy Daisy Winery – Bad Axe: Over 30 different wines are crafted from 35 different varieties of grapes and currants. Dizzy Daisy also makes their own artisan chocolates to go with their wines and often offer unique cheese pairings in their tasting room.
  • Douglas Valley Organic Vineyards – Manistee: Douglas Valley bills itself as Michigan’s first vineyard community. Sitting on 640 acres and with over 8,000 vines. Their goal is to connect with nature and deliver the finest wines and farm based products. The tasting house is open daily.


  • Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery – Lake Leelanau: Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery, nestled in the heart of beautiful Leelanau County, is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery. They serve over 20 different wine selections in their custom built, barn-style tasting room.
  • French Valley Vineyard – Lake Leelanau: French Valley grows grapes and cherries on their gorgeous 75 acre vineyard. Vineyard tours, picnics and event hosting are all available on site.


  • Garden Bay Winery – Mackinaw City: Garden Bay Winery makes high alcohol, gourmet fruit wines, like their Blueberry Buzz and Northern Lights Out Blackberry wine, from raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and blueberries. They also have grape wine, whites and reds, dry, ice and sweet wines.
  • Gill’s Pier Vineyard & Winery, Inc. – Northport: Gill’s Pier Vineyard & Winery is located on the panoramic Leelanau Peninsula. Sample their award winning wines inside an exquisite tasting room or outside on their spacious landscaped patio.
  • Good Harbor Vineyards – Lake Leelanau: The Simpson family has owned and operated Good Harbor Vineyards since 1980. They strive to produce affordable wines of the highest quality so as to easily share with friends and family.
  • Good Neighbor Organic Vineyard & Winery – Northport: Good Nighbor is the area’s first and only totally Certified Organic vineyard, orchards and winery. Their first organic wine was delivered in 2007 and they have been selling other organic products since 2001.


  • Harbor Springs Vineyards & Winery – Harbor Springs: Built from cedar harvested on their own farm, Harbor Spring’s tasting room offers an aromatic and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy one of their award winning selections. Wines include Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cherry Wine, Regatta Red, Cherry Finale Dessert Wine and their Tunnel Vision Apple Hard Cider.
  • Hawthorne Vineyards – Traverse City: Just four miles from Traverse City on Old Mission Peninsula, Hawthorne Vineyards’ 80 acres lie upon a ridge leading to postcard-esqe scenery in any direction. Handcrafted selections range from Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio to Merlot, Lemberger, Gamay and Riesling.
  • Heavenly Vineyards – Morley: A family owned boutique winery with a variety of wines, including fruit wines. All wines are produced, fermented and bottled on site. Samples of all wines are available at the tasting bar.
  • Hometown Cellars Winery – Ithaca: Established in 2006, Hometown Cellars Winery not only invites you to come and sample their wines on site, but to make and take home your own wines, including custom designed bottle labels.


  • Jomagrha Vineyards & Winery – Pentwater: Jomagrha tasting room serves up 17 different hand-crafted wines by wine grower John Sanford. Wines are produced from old-world French hybrid grape varieties and new generation hybrids alike, including traditional Bordeaux and Burgundy vinifera varieties.


  • Krolczyk Cellars – Freesoil: For Dan Krolczyk, owner of Krolczyk Cellar, says nothing is more engaging than wine making. The wines are infused with Dan’s sense of spirit, passion, and love for craftsmanship. The tasting room is open from May through October.


  • L. Mawby Vineyards – Suttons Bay: L. Mawby sees their wines as living things, grown with great care and pride. Exclusively producing several varieties of sparkling wines, they strive to reflect the climate and conditions of the area. The tasting room is open year round, though hours and appointments vary by season.
  • Laurentide Winery – Lake Leelanau: Named in honor of the last great ice sheet that receded 10,000 years ago from the upper tier of the North American continent, Laurentide specialzes in cool-climate wines. All wines are estate grown and bottled.
  • Leelanau Wine Cellars – Omena: Celebrating 35 years of Michigan winemaking, Leelanau WIne Cellars is one of the biggest names in Michigan wine with over 40 varieties to choose from.
  • Leelanau Wine Cellars Tasting Room – Beulah: With over 20 varieties available, some exclusively at the Leelanau Wine Cellars tasting room, there’s surely a style to suit every kind of taste. Located in the Myers Granary Antique Market.
  • Left Foot Charley Winery & Tasting Room – Traverse City: Opening in 2004, Left Foot Charley is a relatively new winery working exclusively with growers from the finest vineyards in northern Michigan. Left Foot Charley produces Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer.
  • Longview Tasting Room – Cedar: Longview Winery sees a parallel between winemaking and living life. A theory built upon love, respect, and a thirst for knowledge, Longview invites you to share this perspective through one of their wines.


  • Mackinaw Trail Winery Tasting Room – Petoskey – Petoskey: If the drive up to Manistique is a bit much, you can still sample Mackinaw Trail Winery’s offerings at their Petoskey Tasting Room. Located in the famous Gaslight district, the Tasting Room is on Howard St. just north of Lake St.
  • McCallum’s Orchard, Cider Mill & Winery – Jeddo: The family-friendly atmosphere of McCallum Orchard offers fun for everyone. In addition to picking your own frewsh fruit, McCallum’s makes apple, cherry, peach, blackberry, pear, and concorde wines, as well as hard cider. Open 8 to 5 daily.
  • Modern Craft Winery and Tasting Room – AuGres: “The Old Way Crafted to Modern Day”. That’s the motto at Modern Craft, resulting in wines that are smooth, fresh and balanced from the first sip to the last. The AuGres location is Modern Craft’s original location.
  • Modern Craft Winery Tasting Room – Harrisville: One of two expansions for Modern Craft Winery, the Harrisville Tasting Room is located at 250 South US-23 Harrisville MI 48740.
  • Modern Craft Winery Tasting Room – West Branch: West Branch is home to Modern Craft’s third tasting room, located at 224 West Houghton Ave., West Branch MI, 48661, inside The Silver Lining.
  • Motovino Cellars Tasting Room – Northport: Combining the owners love for cars, motorcycles and wine, Motovino Cellars tasting room aims to make a wine worth riding for. All of their wines are made with Leelanau Peninsula grapes.


  • Nicholas Black River Winery – Cheboygan: Visits are welcomed and tours include the vineyard, the winemaking room and of course the wine tasting table.


  • Oceana Winery & Vineyard – New Era: Oceana Winery is a family owned vineyard and estate winery that specializes in wines made using French Hybrid grapes. With 12 to 15 varieties, these grapes yield a range of dry reds and whites, sweet and late harvest style wines.
  • Old Town Hall Winery – Lexington: Old Town Hall Winery serves up the best local food, beer and wine, including their own selections. Live music every Saturday.


  • Peninsula Cellars – Traverse City: Another family owned winery on Old Mission Peninsula, Peninsula Cellars takes a minimalistic approach allowing the regional elements to shine in their wines.
  • Pleasantview Vineyards – Harbor Springs: From the vine to the glass Pleasantview does it all themselves. They specialize in unique, eclectic blends. Tasting room summer hours: Thurs-Sun 1-7:00pm. Pleasantview also offers wine education seminars, food/wine fairs, and more.


  • Raftshol Vineyards – Suttons Bay: In 1985 the Raftshol brothers took a risk planting red vinifera grapes when many thought they would fail in our northern climate. To their surprise, the gamble payed off and Raftshol annually produces 1,000 cases of Bordeaux varietal red wines, and also produces fine white wines.
  • Rose Valley Winery – Rose City: Rose Valley has committed itself to growing grapes, 28 “cold-hardy” varieties to be exact, in an effort to produce delicious, balanced and affordable wines that best fit the local growing and climate conditions.


  • Shady Lane Cellars – Suttons Bay: Shady Lane produces classic cool-climate based wines that exhibit elegance in their crafting and intensity in both flavor and aroma. Their wines are meant to serve as an expression of the place from they are made.
  • Silver Leaf Vineyard & Winery – Suttons Bay: Once an old farm, the land was transformed into a winery and vineyard in 2008. Silver Leaf produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a Riesling ice wine, and also make a cherry wine using juice from locally grown cherries.
  • St. Ambrose Cellars – Beulah: St. Ambrose specializes in the production of meads, a honey based wine which can be expressed as dry, semi, or sweet, much like its traditional wine counterpart. Traditional grape wines are also available.
  • St. Julian Wine Company Tasting Room – Frankenmuth – Frankenmuth: Paw Paw’s St. Julian Wine Co. has established a tasting room in Frankenmuth. Here you can sample many of the company’s different varieties and learn more about the winemaking process and their other products from the knowledgable staff.
  • Stoney Acres Winery – Alpena: Stoney Acres offers several different kinds of grape and fruit wines for tasting and purchase in their tasting room, as well as artisan truffles, chocolates and confections.


  • TASTES of Black Star Farms – Traverse City: TASTES of Black Star Farms is housed in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. It features two wineries, each with adjacent tasting rooms, a distillery, an inn and a farm market cafe making it and agricultural destination not to miss.
  • The Cellars of Royal Farms – Ellsworth: The Cellars is a family owned winery at Royal Farms, utilizing fresh seasonal fruits grown right on their own farm. The offer several varieties of grape, cherry and apple based wines, including a hard apple cider.
  • The Fox Barn Market & Winery – Shelby: Based upon a rich farming history, this family owned winery came to life in 2008. Today they offer several wine varieties, including an asparagus wine!
  • Thunder Bay Winery – Alpena: Thunder Bay Vineyards was established in 2005 with the vineyard growing a dozen grape varieties on three acres of land. Here they produce traditional grape wines and fruit based wines in a charming setting.


  • Uncle John’s Fruit House Winery – Saint Johns: Uncle John’s makes wine in several styles: fruit and traditional grape wines, carbonated, dessert and other specialty wines. Hard ciders are available as well. All of their wines are available for sampling in their tasting room.


  • Valley Mist Vineyards – Rose City: The 1500 hybrid grapevines were originally planted in 2008, with the winery following in 2010. Wines range from sweet whites, to dry and sweet reds, and dessert wines. Open daily 11:00am – 5:00pm, closed on Wednesday.
  • Verterra Winery – Leland: Venterra Winery is focused on staying true to the land, utilizing the natural attributes of the region to grow the best grapes possible. They are proud to offer the red, white and fruit wines that they feel exemplify what Leelanau Peninsula wine is all about.
  • Villa Mari Vineyards – Traverse City: Northern Michigan’s cool climate can be somewhat problematic in growing red wine grapes. To that end Villa Mari grows its grapes under the protection of heat-capturing canopies, an innovative technique in winemaking. The results are the bold, rich complex red wines that have given Villa Mari is sterling reputation.


  • Willow Vineyards – Suttons Bay: Established in 1992 by the Crampton family, Willow Vineyards sits on a hillside overlooking West Traverse Bay with a dramatic view. Their premium Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pino Gris are made exclusively with estate or regionally grown grapes.
Photo credit: gellscom

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