A Pure Michigan Wine Tour
Touring the various Michigan Wine trails has become one of our favorite vacation activities. This year, we spent our July 4th holiday in a log chalet on Fife Lake, for their “Best 4th in the North” celebration. Thanks to some careful monitoring of the weather channel, we were able to have the best of all worlds; we planned out a long weekend of boating on the lake for the sunniest days and saved our tour of the Old Mission Peninsula Wineries for the one overcast day.
Below are Mike & Sherrie’s “Best Of” Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula July 2009
1. Black Star Farms - Best Hospitality on the peninsula. We loved the Hard Apple Cider! The Sirius Cherry Dessert Wine is divine with a piece of semi-sweet chocolate. If you can only visit one winery on the Peninsula, this is the one.
2. Peninsula Cellars – An adorable one room school house converted to a tasting room with a friendly staff and the rock-your-socks Hot Rod Cherry wine at $11.99 per bottle, please give me two!
3. Chateau Chantal – Big variety of wines, more commercial than some of the others, but worth the drive for the view alone. With rolling hills of vineyards in every direction and views of both bays, you will feel like you’ve been transported to California or Italy.
4. Bowers Harbor Vineyards – We loved Bowers Harbor for the vineyard dog and the friendly, homey atmosphere. They specialize in Riesling and Chardonnay.
5. Chateau Grand Traverse –The Cherry Sangria is -- delicioso! We were sure to bring a bottle home with us. Mike also liked the Late Harvest Riesling, but we decided to wait and pick that up at Meijer’s since it is readily available near home.
The other two wineries: 2 Lads and Brys Estate were not really our cup of tea–or wine. 2 Lads is an extremely modern, metal and glass building, up a hill at the end of a long, winding driveway, with an austere, almost science-lab atmosphere. The wines were pricier and they specialized in dry to semi-sweet whites, which we haven’t been drinking much of this season.
Brys Estate is a beautiful, elegant tasting room with rich, dark wood walls, but again, offered little that appealed to our sweet, fruity, red tastes. They also do not offer complimentary tastings, which we understand may be the way of the future on the Peninsula.
One of the interesting things we learned on our visit is that in order to have the designation of “Old Mission Winery” and to operate a tasting room in the peninsula, 85% of the fruit (grapes, apples, cherries) must come from vineyards and orchards on the Old Mission Peninsula. Since the area is mostly conducive to growing Chardonnay grapes and Riesling grapes, it means that sweet red wine drinkers, like us, will not find a wide variety of selections.
The Leelenau Peninsula wineries do not have this limitation, so we are very excited for our next wine tasting trip to explore the 15+ wineries in that area.
Also not to be missed on your journey to the Old Mission Peninsula: Bad Dog Deli for their amazing sandwiches and Old Mission Point Lighthouse for a little peek into the history of the peninsula.
Sherrie Pryor, owner of One Office Girl, LLC, a small business offering support services to other small businesses spends her free time exploring Michigan's small towns and festivals. You can contact her by leaving a comment below, or via Facebook.
Mike Brindley is a foreman for the City of Plymouth Municipal services department, but grew up growing food on a farm in West Branch, Michigan. He loves to spend his time just about anywhere in Michigan's outdoors.