Tag Archives: Wine tourism

Trip Report – Michigan’s Thumb

On Saturday, I was able to hit 4 wineries in the Thumb (the big peninsula on the east side of the state).  One in particular stood out – details below.  Several of them are close to Lexington, a small but picturesque resort town on Lake Huron about 80 miles north of Detroit.

3 North Vines is a real treasure – they’ve been in operation for less than a decade, but every single wine I tasted there was a winner.  And what’s especially dear to me is that they plant Pinotage, the South African grape that I’m a huge fan of.  There are fewer than 20 plantings of Pinotage in the US, and one of them is right in my back yard!

Unfortunately, they are just about sold out of their 2013 Pinotage, and the 2015 won’t be bottled until early spring.  You can bet I’ll be making a return trip as soon as the ’15 is available.  I’ll be posting detailed notes on the Pinotage shortly.

I also visited these wineries on the trip:

  • Green Barn Winery
  • Westview Orchards Winery
  • Blue Water Winery (tasting room in downtown Lexington)

I hope to make a couple of visits to the southwest Lake Michigan shore region between now and the spring, which will get me enough material for an e-book about everywhere in Michigan except Traverse City, the northeast, and the UP (I’ll need a full week to finish covering those).  Stay tuned!


Food Recommendations in Traverse City

Two great places to check out the next time you’re in TC:

Folgarelli’s Deli

True, old-school Italian deli.  A huge counter of deli meats by the pound, more than 50 cheeses, a great sandwich menu, stuffed olives, picnic items, snacks, and an entire room full of wine. Really impressive! Front Street, just around the corner from North Peak.

Apache Trout Grill

Great restaurant on the west bay, just over the county line. Fish and meats are perfectly done, there’s a nice wine list, and it’s always hopping.  Fair warning – no reservations, no call-ahead wait list, but you can squeeze into the booths in bar area on a first come, first served basis.

I can recommend the smoked whitefish appetizer, the petite filet, and any of their lake fish specials. Vegetables are done perfectly, there is always something creative with sauces and garnishes, and the quality is top-notch.

I’m back. And this time, I mean it!

Hello everyone, and my apologies for the long hiatus.  I’ve moved to the Ann Arbor, Michigan area and am finally able to do some serious wine-tasting.  I’m currently on my second trip to the Traverse City area, in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula, and have a lot of tasting notes to transcribe.

I plan on doing 2 more ebooks about Michigan wine. One of them will concentrate on Traverse City, since it’s the best-known wine region in the state, and is significant tourism destination.  The other will cover the rest of Michigan, including the lake shore between Grand Rapids and Indiana, as well as the wineries scattered around central and southeast Michigan.  Yoopers, I promise I’ll try to visit there sometime in the next few years!

Here’s a list of the places I’ve tasted at in the last month or so:

Central Michigan:

  • Cherry Creek
  • Heavenly
  • Chateau Aeronautique
  • Lone Oak
  • Seven Lakes
  • Spicer’s


Traverse City area:

  • Black Star
  • Brengman Brothers
  • Peninsula Cellars
  • Bonobo
  • Chateau Grand Traverse
  • Bower’s Harbor
  • Ciccone
  • Chateau de Leelanau
  • Shady Lane
  • Mawby
  • Mari
  • 2 Lads
  • Hawthorne

Keep your eyes open for additional news and travel advice to Traverse City, plus random tasting notes from all over.