Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula // Traverse City, Michigan

Nestled between West and East Grand Traverse Bay is Old Mission Peninsula. One of the oldest areas of Traverse City, Michigan and home to the beloved cherry orchards of the region, this 19-mile strip of land has emerged as one of the best wine regions in all of the United States. Although a relatively new industry, the wine region of Traverse City has won many accolades and awards including – One of the 7 Top Wine Regions to Watch in the USA (only wine region outside of California) by Tasting & Touring magazine, One of the 7 Under-The-Radar Wine Regions in the World by Thrillist, and One of the Top 10 Places to Enjoy Local Wines by USA Today. If you haven’t noticed, I’m just a bit proud of my adopted hometown of Traverse City ;)

Traverse City is blessed to be on the 45th parallel – exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. This puts it on the same latitude as Bordeaux and with a similar climate to the wine regions in Germany. Obviously, as a lover of anything and everything German, I absolutely LOVE the wines of Traverse City, especially all the Rieslings (seriously, you must try a Riesling!). Actually, a few of the wineries and vineyards in Traverse City are run by Germans or Austrians :)

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerWhile in Traverse City with the Prince, one of my oldest and dearest friends came to visit me. Joanna and I were roommates at Wash U together and have stayed great friends. She just got engaged a few months ago and is getting married in Hawaii next July. I’m so excited because I get to be a bridesmaid in her wedding :)

When I knew she was visiting, I convinced my little sister, Paris, who is only 18, to be our designated driver for a wine tasting tour of Old Mission Peninsula. I should mentioned that on this 19-mile peninsula, there are at least 10 wineries and vineyards! I started snapchatting (follow me @jbwagner) the experience but quickly lost track of all the wineries! ;)

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Below I’ve outlined my favorite wineries and must-see locations on Old Mission Peninsula!

1. Black Star Farms

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerBlack Star Farms has a larger vineyard and B&B on the drive up to Suttons Bay, Michigan, but I couldn’t resist popping in to their Old Mission Peninsula location for one of my favorite wines – the Late Harvest Riesling! It is absolutely delicious and such a great white wine.

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerI should also note that Black Star Farms definitely has some of the best service and the friendliest staff out of all the wineries we visited. From the people at the front counter to the individuals doing the serving, they were all so friendly, outgoing, and made me really enjoy my entire experience!

2. Mari Vineyards

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerA newer winery on Old Mission Peninsula (at least a newer tasting room, they’ve been producing wine for a while), they have the best patio out of any of the wineries. It was great to be able to sit outside and overlook the orchards. My boyfriend was excited because one of the top employees at the winery (I forget his exact job!) is from Austria :)

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerI should also note that yes, we all did plan on wearing blue outfits. haha, we just got into a very matching spirit and wanted all our pictures to look cohesive :)

3. Bonobo Winery

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerOpened last year, this winery has a very modern feel with a huge porch area (that may or may not played a role in our mini photo shoot!). They definitely have one of the best views on Old Mission Peninsula!

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Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerTypical All-American with my stripes and baseball cap. Let’s be honest, I’m just trying to mimic a J.Crew catalog. Somehow, the outfit looks a bit more chic on the models ;)

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThis dear friend of mine is getting MARRIED!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThanks to my baby sister Paris for being the designated driver for us! And yes, she’s only 18. And yes, she looks older than me. AND YES, she’s like an entire head taller than me!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner#blogger

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerI love this guy oh-so-dearly! Thanks for being my favorite :)

4. Chateau Grand Traverse

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThis is, hands down, one of my favorite wineries! The winemaker is from Germany and makes the most incredibly Rieslings! I also have to note that in terms of scenery, this is one of the best locations on all of Old Mission Peninsula.

This was the point in our wine tasting that we all agreed we needed some snacks. Thankfully, Chateau Grand Traverse has quite an extensive list of bite-sized snacks and finger foods.

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner

5. Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThis is a new winery for me but definitely one I’ll visit again. Besides the endless rows of vines on the property, the inside decor is just what you would expect from a winery…an abundance of wine barrels!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThe lady who served us at this vineyard was so incredibly sweet! She just had the liveliest personality and kept asking the Prince questions about Germany, how we met, what we plan to do in the future, etc. Plus, being surrounded by all the wine barrels added a cool ambiance to the entire experience.

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Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerThat red roof and tractor above? Such an adorable scene :) I just loved this winery so much!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerI have to thank the Prince for being a total sport and doing a mini-photo shoot on the porch of this winery. And thanks to my friend, Joanna, for taking all these incredibly pictures!!!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerMe with the lovely bride-to-be Joanna! I’m already counting down the days until your wedding next July. Thanks for visiting me in Michigan!!!

6. Chateau Chantal

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerI might be a bit of a broken record but this might actually be my favorite view from Old Mission Peninsula! haha, I guess the moral of this blog post is that you really can’t go wrong choosing to go wine tasting at any of the wineries and vineyards on the peninsula!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerWe had a bit of a photo shoot here with Joanna’s engagement ring! Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?! I just can’t get over how stunning it is!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With WagnerHere I am, 6 wineries later…and I’m still standing! So I would call it a successful afternoon of wine tasting ;)

7. Bonus: 2 Lads Winery

Due to not having enough time, we ended up eliminating 2 Lads Winery because it is located almost at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula. However, if you have enough time, I’d highly recommend going there. Not only do you have a fantastic view of East Grand Traverse Bay, but 2 Lads Winery has the best red wines on the entire peninsula. Because of the climate, Traverse City mostly produces white wines. However, if you’re looking for a good red wine, head to 2 Lads!

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner
(source)

The map above should be a great starting point for your wine-tasting adventures in Traverse City and on Old Mission Peninsula! Have fun, drink responsibly, and let me know if you have any more questions :)

Wine Tasting on Old Mission Peninsula via Wayfaring With Wagner

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  • Wine really isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Michigan, but looking at geography it definitely makes sense that you guys have some good vineyards! I think Napa is just always trying to steal the show when it comes to American wine! ;) And how cute are you and the prince together?! ;)

  • Great article! My wife and I love Old Mission Peninsula, and we try to go back every year (the Fall is actually a wonderful time to visit with the leaves changing).

    We visited Bonobo for the first time this summer, and found the staff very pretentious. The wine was ok, and I think you’re paying for the fact that Carter Oosterhouse and his wife, Amy Smart, own it. Just my two cents.

    Next time you head up the OMP, try the wonderful Bowers Harbor, along with Hawthorne. I found Hawthorne to be a hidden gem with a great staff and underrated wines.

  • SIgn me up! I really want to visit more wine regions here in the States (you know, to cope with the Europe withdrawals), and these places sound awesome. Also, I’m OBSESSED with your outfit, as usual :)