Traverse City Wineries: 20 Unique Wineries to Visit
Explore the Best and Unique Traverse City Wineries
Are you ready to explore the Traverse City Wineries?
Well, the Traverse City wine coast is ready for you, with a wide range of tasting experiences just waiting for your visit. With about 40 of Michigan’s nearly 150 wineries in their geography, there’s more than enough to go around.
This wine region has become a big player in Traverse City MI tourism. Its proximity to the Sleeping Bear Dunes and prime location in picturesque Grand Traverse County only helps.
You’ll find boat tours on Grand Traverse Bay; wine dinners; wine and beer tours that start in downtown Traverse City and travel the Old Mission Wine trail or the Leelanau Peninsula. Whether you visit Traverse City for a day trip, romantic weekend getaway or longer vacation, don’t miss these unique Michigan wineries.
You might also consider taking a wine-tasting tour or making it a weekend getaway.
Read on for our favorite Traverse City wineries, so you can plan your trip to the best and most unique wineries now. You can also scroll to the bottom for an interactive map of the Traverse City wineries.
About the Traverse City Wine Region: The 45th Parallel
You’ll find some world-class wines here. Traverse City is located on the 45th parallel, the same as some of the top-rated wine producers in Europe.
This means it has the same general climate as some of the great wine regions of Europe: think France’s Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, and the Italian Piedmont.
You’ll also find some similarly dramatic views, too, thanks to the naturally picturesque landscape of the Traverse City area.
Whether you’re gazing out at the stunning blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay along the Leelanau Peninsula or taking in the panoramic views atop Old Mission Peninsula, you’re sure to enjoy visiting the wineries in Traverse City.
Wineries in Traverse City
Left Foot Charley Winery and Tasting Room
Located in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Left Foot Charley is a modern winery and cider maker that is a unique urban winery. It’s a super-friendly environment with a dog-friendly patio.
Yes, we love their whites (red, too) but we must mention the appetizers: they offer one of the best charcuterie boards around. It’s kids friendly, too: you’ll also find a sandbox and lots of space for the kiddos to run around. If you’re in town for the National Cherry Festival, put this on your bucket list of things to do.
Wineries on Old Mission Peninsula
About the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail
Situated between Michigan’s pinky finger (also known as the Leelanau Peninsula) and the rest of the mitten, Old Mission Peninsula juts out into Grand Traverse Bay, splitting it into East and West arms.
Because of this, Old Mission has some of the best views in all of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. This is Michigan’s wine country. Nothing pairs better with the gorgeous view of the bay than a glass of Michigan wine from one of the many lovely wineries found along the Old Mission Peninsula wine trail.
This Michigan wine trail extends along the entire peninsula, from the base in Traverse City to the top where the Mission Point lighthouse marks the shore.
Here you can find some of the best wineries in Michigan, whether they are famed local favorites or hidden gems of the state.
2 Lads Winery
The first on our list of Old Mission Peninsula wineries is called 2 Lads. Its decidedly modern take on a winery is just one of several things that makes this destination unique from the other Old Mission Wineries.
Their emphasis on being an eco-friendly operation means you can sip one of their renowned reds guilt-free! The 2 Lads Wine Club is popular with visitors who fall in love with this unique winery: join and you’ll receive two shipments of your favorite wines each year.
We’re great fans of their silky Pinot Noir.
Chateau Chantal Winery and Inn
Photo from Kyle Brownley; Chateau Chantal
Chateau Chantal is the epitome of beautiful Traverse City wineries. Sitting atop rolling hills, the view of the blue water of the bay has never been better.
Chateau Chantal vineyards and winery hosts a variety of special events where they emphasize their wonderful variety of wines – and just when you thought the wine couldn’t get any better, their meals consist of food pairings that enhance those lovely flavors even more.
Sitting outside on the Chateau Chantal patio on a beautiful day with a glass of wine (we like the semi-dry Riesling) and Old Mission views as a backdrop is truly a pure Michigan experience.
Chateau Chantal also makes a breathtaking wedding venue, the romantic sweeping vistas of the vineyards ar hard to beat.
Among the best wineries in Traverse City is Tabone Vineyards. This winery focuses on whites and creates several varieties of whites like Chardonnay, Reisling, and Pinot Gris. With the emphasis on white wines, it’s no wonder their products are crafted to perfection with sweet fruity notes.
If you like fruity wines, Tabone will be a favored stop on your Michigan wine tours. Tasting room hours vary during the winter so be sure to call ahead.
Bowers Harbor Vineyards
Bowers Harbor is one of the Michigan vineyards with a unique history. This dog-friendly establishment began as a horse farm and eventually evolved into a vineyard. The old stables were repurposed, now serving as the site’s inviting tasting room.
Wines of all kinds are made here, so those in search of variety in a unique friendly atmosphere will certainly love this gem. Bowers Harbor is dog-friendly in the warmer weather, so feel free to bring your furry friend along, too.
If you’re looking for a relaxing wine tasting experience, don’t miss Bonobo on the Old Mission Peninsula. It was founded by two brothers, born and raised in T.C., and the atmosphere here reflects their reverence for the natural beauty of the area.
You’ll find a mixture of reds, whites, and sparkling, and they’re all good. Unique small plate offerings like roasted eggplant and pots de crème highlight and excellent pairings menu.
Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery
Brys Estate was a fixer-upper homestead from the 19th century before owners Walt and Eileen restored it.
The hard work that the Bryses have put into their vineyard shows through their wine, which is crafted with love and passion for the winemaking process. With one of the more heartfelt origin stories of all the wineries in Traverse City Michigan, Brys is a unique and inspiring destination.
One of our favorite things to do at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery is to visit the Lawn Bar, where you can relax in a comfy Adirondack chair and take in the scenic vineyard views.
Chateau Grand Traverse
The winemakers at Chateau Grand Traverse have a passion for growing. For them the grape makes the wine, so cultivating the perfect grape is essential to the winemaking process.
They create varieties of both red and white, each of which their own unique flavor profiles – all of which are delicious. There are few places more passionate about grapes than Chateau Grand Traverse!
Chateau Grand Traverse winery is one of the first Traverse City, MI wineries that we ever visited, back in the late 1990’s, and their dry Riesling has been a favorite ever since. Pair that with one of their famous charcuterie boards and you’re in for a special treat.
As far as unique locations go, Peninsula Cellars is unlike any other Michigan vineyards. The winery was constructed from an old schoolhouse, known once as the Maple Grove School.
Their location in the center of the trail makes them the friendly neighbor to Chateau Grand Traverse and Bonobo Winery. This quaint schoolhouse winery in the heart of wine-loving Old Mission is making award-winning wines with a love for the land they stand on.
Hawthorne Vineyards is all about incorporating wine into the everyday life of the people who love it. For them, wine is a way of life and they share it with all who visit their secluded tasting room.
They offer wines in red, white, and bubbly options, meaning everyone can find something they like from this classy winery.
At Mari Vineyards grapes are cultivated that shouldn’t be able to grow in Michigan. Thanks to this creativity and hard work, this vineyard can produce especially unique Italian-style wines made in Michigan.
Mari Vineyards is also the only northern Michigan winery to have an underground barrel aging area, making it a desired destination for those particularly interested in the aging process.
Black Star Farms
Black Star Farms is a staple in the Michigan wine scene and a must-stop destination on Traverse City wine tours – and for good reason!
This winery has grown to a massive size with two locations offering wine tastings in Traverse City and the surrounding area. If you’re looking for big and bold flavors in a setting that matches, Black Star is the place to go. Black Star Farms has two locations: a tasting room on Old Mission Peninsula and location in Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula.
The Suttons Bay location includes a winery, destination inn, an equestrian facility, hiking trails, a cafe, and a venue space.
Wineries on Leelanau Peninsula
Rove Estate Vineyards
If you want to enjoy some breathtaking views as you explore different varietals, be sure and check out Rover Vineyards, just west of Traverse City. Located at the highest point in the Leelanau Peninsula (1165 feet), this family-owned vineyard is a must on any northern Michigan wine tour.
Known for small-batch, artisanal wines, their flavorful win makes it one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets.
One of the highlights of the year was discovering the Verterra Winery tasting room in downtown Leland (Fishtown) last summer. After welcoming me into the comfortable tasting room, I was offered a taste of the Sparkling Pinot Blanc by friendly (and knowledgeable) winery staff.
I quickly learned that Verterra makes some of the best sparkling wines in the region at the Ridge at Verterra, their Northport vineyard that offers amazing outdoor tasting experiences.
Verterra isn’t all about the sparkling wines either; you’ll find delicious red, whites, and hard cider, too. Sure, you can choose between the Leland tasting room or the Ridge up the road: we suggest you try both.
Bel Lago Winery
A vineyard with panoramic views of Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan? That’s Bel Lago, just about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Traverse City. The winemaker’s Bel Lago are passionate about reds, so you’ll find some delicious Pinot Noirs, Cabernets, and specialty blends, too.
Don’t miss out on tasting the whites, especially the Auxerrois. It’s a very different and delicious taste. The pretty tasting room has some spectacular views of Lake Leelanau.
Shady Lane Cellars
There are some amazing Leelanau Peninsula wine at this boutique estate winery in Suttons Bay. You’ll find a winery, vineyard, and tasting room, but it’s the stunning outdoor patio that will capture your attention.
You’ll find a good selection of reds whites and sparkling, but be sure and try the Brio Red. It’s a deep, unique flavor.
Mawby Vineyards and Winery
Mawby’s sparkling wines are the stuff of legend, and fans of this Suttons Bay winery never miss the chance to take in the views of the sprawling vineyards from the patio. You’ll want to schedule a wine tasting and try some of their whitefish pate, too, as an appetizer.
PRO-TIP: Mawby sparkling wines make great gifts, so we always bring a box to stock up in the store.
45 North Vineyard and Winery
This family-owned vineyard on the Leelanau Peninsula produces a wide variety of award-winning wines and ciders. It’s a beautiful and welcoming setting, which makes it a favorite of wine tours. Bonus? It’s dog-friendly, too.
Good Harbor Vineyards
A laid-back winery located just two miles from Lake Michigan in the Leelanau Peninsula, Good Harbor offers some really good wines. We love the Cherry Wine with a mulling spice packet. It’s unique and really captures the whole spirit of the Leelanau-Traverse City area (no pun intended).
Traverse City Wine Tours
Sit back and let someone else do the driving- it’s really the best way to explore these wineries safely. Whether you’re traveling with a group, as a couple or alone, be sure and check out these wine tours.
Grand Traverse Tours
Choose from private or public join-in tours of wineries in Traverse City, Old Mission Peninsula, and the Leelanau Peninsula. Enjoy the wine tasting as you’re driven from location to location in a Mercedes-Benz shuttle, Ford Van or Escalade.
Travese City Wine and Beer Tours
Not only can you create your own custom itinerary, Traverse City Wine and Beer tours will also pick you up at your location in a car, limo, van, or bus. Water and small snacks are also provided as you tour the Old Mission Peninsula and the Leelanau Peninsula.
Old Mission Tours
Visit wineries, distilleries, breweries, or cider houses along the Old Mission.
Wine Country Limo and Trolley
The only tour company in the area with its own vineyard, they offer a unique opportunity to get a insider’s perspective on the local wineries. You can choose to take your wine tour in a Mercedes Limo coach, complete with a car, or a 24-passenger classic trolley car.
Things to Do in Traverse City
You can combine your Traverse City wine tour with a tour of the best breweries in the area, too. But don’t forget there’s lots more to do here, too. If you visit Traverse City in the summer, you’ll want to check out some of the best beaches in the area, along with the hiking trails, too.
Traverse City is absolutely beautiful in the autumn months, too. You might want to consider a fall color tour of the area when it is ablaze with brilliant colors.
If you visit Traverse City in the winter, be sure and dress warmly. You’ll want to spend a lot of time outside exploring the area on skis or snowshoes. Use our guide to exploring Traverse City to discover more great things to do year-round.
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About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor at mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.