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Traverse City might be the cherry capital of the world, but it’s also home to some of the best vineyards and wineries in the country. If you’re planning a tasting tour at the tip of the mitten, here are a few you don’t want to miss!

1. Bel Lago Vineyards and Winery

Bel Lago has been serving up fine, European style wines for more than twenty years. They specialize in unusual grape varieties, which are grown in a 37-acre on-site vineyard. They’re also known for a special extended barrel aging process for some type of wine. Try Bel Lago wines for yourself in a beautiful tasting room overlooking Lake Leelanau. This is actually where the winery gets its name—”bel lago” is Italian for the beautiful lake. But if you can’t make it up to Traverse City regularly, you can also join Bel Lago’s wine club and receive two custom-curated shipments of wine per year.

2. Black Star Farms

Black Star Farms actually has two destinations in the Traverse City area: one on Old Mission Peninsula, and another across the bay in Suttons Bay. Originally a first-class equestrian facility, the farm was converted into a luxury retreat where food and wine lovers can find not only some of the best-laid tables in the state but also make use of the on-site inn, hiking trails, and, yes, there are still horses available if you’d like to go for a ride. Black Star Farms wine list is extensive, including award-winning white and red wines as well as sparkling vintages, dessert wines, and fruit wines that feature more than just Traverse City’s signature fruit!

10 Best Wineries to Visit in Traverse City

3. Chateau Grand Traverse

Family owned and operated for more than 40 years, Chateau Grand Traverse is one of Michigan’s oldest vineyards. They specialize in European grape varieties and produce award-winning Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Pinot Noir and more. They have more than 200 acres of vineyard in production, with 122 on-site with the main tasting room and even more in the surrounding area.

4. Mari Vineyards

While some of Traverse City’s vineyards seem to have been plucked from France or Germany, Mari Vineyards looks to be transplanted straight from Italy, with its warm stone villa nestled among rows of exotic grape varieties. Some are a little more exotic than intended! In the flurry of activity surrounding the initial planting in 1999, several rows of vines were mixed up and mis-planted. Rather than destroy the plants, Mari Vineyards created something new: the flagship wine dubbed “Row 7,” which contains a combination of the different varieties accidentally all planted together. The planting may have been a mistake, but the results are delicious!

5. Chateau Chantal

Featuring a first-class bed and breakfast as well as a winery and tasting room, Chateau Chantal is another must-see vineyard located on Old Mission Peninsula. For those who want more than just a basic tasting experience, they offer cellar tours and wine dinners featuring seven courses, each paired with the perfect Chateau Chantal vintage.

6. Two K Farms

Known not only for their wines but also their hard ciders, Two K Farms is one of the smaller wineries in the Traverse City area, but not to be missed! The 80-acre farm is primarily given over to cider apples, with sites for wine grapes carefully selected and tended to produce only the finest grapes. Not only are the wines and ciders delicious, but the view can’t be beaten. The tasting room is tucked into a secluded wood and overlooks West Grand Traverse Bay. You’d never know you’re only ten minutes from town!

7. Brys Estate Vineyard

Family-owned Brys Estate Vineyard is the result of a life-long dream for the Brys family. Knowing they wanted a northern climate for their vineyard, they searched along the 45th parallel (the halfway point between the North Pole and the Equator), which happens to run right through the tip of the mitten. The rest, as they say, is history! Today, Brys Estate grows eight different grape varieties and produces a whole range of wines from Merlot to Rose.

8. Hawthorne Vineyards

Hawthorne Vineyards is a small winery with big flavors. With only 26 acres in grape production, their wines are harder to come by than some of their larger neighbors, but it’s worth the trek to Old Mission Peninsula! An intimate tasting room and secluded location make Hawthorne Vineyards perfect for a private night with friends or a spot to celebrate a special occasion.

9. Left Foot Charley

Located right in Traverse City on the grounds of the old Traverse City State Hospital (an asylum and long term care facility that was closed in 1989), Left Foot Charley is a winery but not a vineyard. Instead, their vintners work with small local growers who have vines, but no winery. Rather than letting these small batches get snapped up by massive out of state wineries, Left Foot Charley creates wines that feature these unique local flavors.

10. Peninsula Cellars

Going back to school isn’t so bad when it’s the historic, one-room schoolhouse tasting room at Peninsula Cellars! Their first vines were planted in 1991, but the Kroupa family, who owns and operates the winery, has been farming the same land for nearly 120 years! The first vintages were made available in 1994, and not long after that, Peninsula Cellars started collecting awards for their wines. They haven’t stopped since! With red and white wines, fruit wines, and more on offer, there’s something for everyone. Want a taste of Peninsula Cellars between visits? Check out their “Honor Roll” wine club!

Getting thirsty yet? Before you head out, don’t forget to pick out something appropriate to wear. Check out our full line of Michigan-themed apparel and accessories that will be the perfect pairing for your mitten-state wines!