Warm Up with Winter Wine Tasting in Michigan
Whether you’re exploring Old Mission Peninsula or hanging out in Southwest Michigan, wine tasting is a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon in Michigan. The tasting rooms are less crowded, there are many labels to choose from and you often get extra attention from the tasting room manager, allowing you to ask questions and learn more about the wine, winery, best pairings and the region. Trisha Verma, co-founder of Drink Michigan, shares some tips on how to make your winter wine tasting trip memorable.
One of the best parts of tasting in the winter is all the variety that’s in stock. This is the time to be adventurous and expand your palate. Talk to the tasting room manager and let them guide you in experimenting with new varietals. Read below for a few of our favorites from three corners of the state.
NorthwestUndoubtedly Michigan's best-known wine region, in part because it rests on the same 45th parallel as the Bordeaux wine region in France, is the Leelanau Peninsula. Here, you can explore decadent nodes of various wines created specifically for the winter season. Plan a trip to Michigan's northwest to discover these wineries and the surrounding cities and towns.
For tastings, a cozy bed and breakfast and close proximity to the rest of the peninsula's wineries stay at Chateau Chantal. The 65-acre estate has one of the most scenic views of the area from its tasting room. Enjoy tours, tastings, seasonal entertainment, lodging and over 12 craft wines.
2. Rove Estate Vineyard & Tasting Room – Traverse City
Experiment with pours to the backdrop of the live Celtic tunes frequently booked at Rove Estate Vineyard & Tasting Room, perched on one of the highest points in the Traverse City area. The southern slopes, sunlight and cool drainage make this vineyard’s location ideal for grapes.
Resort Pike is self-proclaimed “carbonation country”, meaning that they produce bubbly beverages. Winemaker Dustin Stabile prides himself on the perfect combination of sweet, bubbly and acidity. They have ciders flavors like apple blueberry or cherry, and sparkling wines from bruts to raspberry fizz.
The coast of Lake Michigan offers more than pristine sandy beaches - it's also a great place to find a perfect bottle of winter wine. Here you can explore the state's sunset coast and iconic towns like Holland or South Haven. After an enjoyable day of tasting, drive less than an hour to Grand Rapids for a night of fun on the town.
12 Corners offers 30 acres of vineyards and produces cider from its apple trees each fall. The tasting room offers outdoor seating overlooking the vineyards and takes group reservations for larger gatherings.
Temp has hand-crafted wines with grapes grown in France, Italy, Germany, Australia and California. They select the best crops from top vineyards each harvest and import the juice to their winery.
6. Dablon Vineyards - Baroda
Dablon is a small winery with big flavor! The tasting room can be reserved for large groups, and overlooks the rolling vineyards.
Michigan's southeast is newer to the wine scene, but still a perfect region to find your favorite blend of winter wine. While in the area, be sure to explore the great metropolis of Detroit, America's Comeback City. The Motor City provides guests a chance to explore the bustling downtown and attractions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, with famed paintings and exhibitions, and the classic Motown Historical Museum with lessons in the famous Motown sounds.
Taste your way through the Michigan by the Bottle Tasting Room that brings six wineries from around the state to the east side and bring some home for yourself and your friends.
Filipo boasts 70 varieties of wine, with a “make your own” area where you can create specialized wine for yourself or a friend, making the perfect personalized gift.
Vin Bar is a contemporary wine bar featuring wine from northeast Michigan. They offer up wine flights, craft cocktails, fruit brandies and cheese plates for the perfect relaxed wine experience.
While known for its expansive outdoor fun, the Upper Peninsula is also home to some delicious wineries.
Leigh’s features various cold fruit flavors and incorporates its roots with labels like “Yooper juice” on its rose. They are open year-round for those looking to take a break from outdoor adventures and sit back with a glass of wine.
11. North Sun Winery - Bark River
North Sun has been growing grapes for over a decade. The Mediterranean-style cottage and tasting room mimic the wine’s inspiration which comes from Tuscany, Italy.
Threefold is the first Upper Peninsula winery for travelers entering the state through Wisconsin. Family operated and owned, Threefold is nestled in the historic town of Stephenson. It offers free wine tasting or sells bottles for purchase.
Be adventurous this season and taste your way across the state and stock up on your favorite wines while you’re out exploring.
About the Author: Trisha Verma is a passionate Michigander and the co-founder of Drink Michigan – a site dedicated to promoting and celebrating Michigan-made beer, wine and spirits.