Our favorite Michigan Vineyards & Wineries
Michigan Wine Country is home to many great vineyards and wineries, ranging from tiny, low key producers that do not distribute, to relatively huge national distributors. The wine scene in northern Michigan, specifically the Traverse City area, is exploding as of late, and it is one of our favorite quick getaways from home.
The scenery can’t be beat, it is definitely one of our favorite destinations in Michigan, and the added bonus of great wine seals the deal.
This is our rundown of our five favorite vineyards and wineries to visit.
L. Mawby/ M. Lawrence/ BigLittle
We stumbled upon L. Mawby on a trip in 2014, and have been back multiple times a year ever since. L. Mawby, and the associated M.Lawrence and Big Little wineries, specialize in unique sparkling and white wines.
The bubbly mainstay, L. Mawby/M. Lawrence, makes sparkling wines in both the bottle and tank fermented methods. Our favorite wine from here is Sex, a sparkling brut Rose.
We’ve watched firsthand as L. Mawby has transformed from a seemingly off the beaten track winery into a always-packed party destination in the last few years. We love it for the laid back, non-traditional atmosphere, the amazing views, great staff, and of course, great wine.
Lesser known and often overlooked is Big Little winery, with its tasting room next door to L. Mawby’s. They specialize in unique white wines, like my personal favorite, the red-grape whine wine Treehouse (which sadly is no longer available).
Black Star Farms
In complete contrast to the laid back, farm house atmosphere of L. Mawby, Black Star Farms is the grandiose wine farm that you picture dotting the landscape in Napa or France. Just down the road from L. Mawby, the scene could not be any different. Black Star boasts a grand entrance onto the premises, with grape vines lining a hill next to the driveway. The property features a quaint colonial style hotel, a hobbit-like underground wine storage room, a barn, a small restaurant, and a massive tasting room.
Black Star is always packed with bachelorette parties and the more apprehensive wine tourists, but the wine speaks for itself. They offer a large variety, but they have some of our favorite reds in the region. For the traditional grand vineyard feel, be sure to stop by Black Star Farms.
On a quick side note, be sure to grab a wood fired pizza from the on-location restaurant, Hearth & Vine. They use ingredients grown on their own farm, and the food is amazing.
We just recently visited Willow Vineyards for the first time. Nestled on top of a hill overlooking Suttons Bay, the owner/operator couple actually lives on premises next to the small tasting room (which doubles as a gift shop).
Our immediate reaction to Willow was that this was our dream house and property in which to live. Live on a vineyard with beautiful scenery and make wine. What could get better?
Willow has a really small variety, and they don’t distribute at all, so the only way to get the wine is by visiting. We opted for the Rose, and it was delicious.
45 North Vineyard & Winery gives off a vibe of a good old fashioned American country party. The tasting room is a giant barn, they play loud music, and there’s a massive bar. The atmosphere is unpretentious, but the wine speaks volumes. This is definitely among the best wine we’ve had in the Leelanau peninsula. Our absolute favorite here was the oaked Chardonnay, which is honestly some of the best white wine I’ve tasted.
In addition to great wines, 45 North also has some unique ciders, including a bone dry, Citra-hopped cider that was refreshing and delicious.
Although not technically a vineyard or winery, Tandem Ciders is worth a stop on your Leelanau peninsula wine tour. Nestled away towards the northern end of the peninsula, Tandem Ciders tasting room is a small farm house-like structure which is quaint and quiet. Tandem features some very unique and delicious ciders. Don’t be confused by the term cider, these are not your typical Woodchuck or Strongbow. Tandem Ciders features artisan ciders with locally grown apples, including our favorite, Crabster. Crabster utilizes a wide variety of wild apples such as Crab Apples that grow all over the Leelanau peninsula.
Stop by Tandem Ciders for some refreshing, crisp, dry ciders, a game of darts, and a pickled egg if you’re daring.
It should also be mentioned that Tunnel Vision Brewery is an amazing stop in the Northern Michigan region!