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Leelanau County Wine Tours

Detroit, Michigan
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233 posts
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Leelanau County Wine Tours

Hi there!

I think we finally decided (well sort of decided) to check out Northern Michigan for our next vaca. I've been reading a lot about wine tours but I've never done that so I came here for advice :) Here are some questions and you can feel free to throw out any other tips I might need to know. Thanks!!

1. Any good wine touring company you know of?

2. How exactly does it work? You pay for the tour but do you then pay for tasting wine at each winery? Like I said, I've never been.

3. Is it fun and is it worth it???

Ok, I think that's a good start! Thanks in advance for your help :)

Detroit, Michigan
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233 posts
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1. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

I thought of another question...

4. What do you actually do at each winery? I see pictures of the grape fields and such that look so pretty.... do you get to see those and tour those too??? Or do you just taste wine???

.
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2. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

We spent a weekend last summer visiting wineries around Traverse City -- Leelanau Peninsula and Mission Point areas. We didn't consider using a tour company -- we just did a little research online (michiganwines.com is a good place to start), picked out a few wineries and drove around ourselves.

Many of the wineries are open to the public. They have a tasting area where you can taste their bottlings. Tastings of their less-expensive wines are usually free -- they let you pick half-a-dozen or so to taste. More elaborate tastings, sometimes paired with food, are by reservation and cost $$. Most of the wineries have websites where you can see their tasting room hours, special tastings, dinners, etc.

Chateau Grand Traverse is probably the largest and most commercial winery. Chateau Chantal is lovely (their property is better than their wines...) Bowers Harbor was our favorite on Mission Point.

In Leelanau, our favorite was Mawby. They only make champagnes and they do charge a small fee for their tasting but you get real glasses of champagne plus a nice snack like pate or cheese. Ciccone is famous for being owned by Madonna's family.

All in all, it's a really pleasant way to spend a few days. The area is lovely. Don't expect world-class wines, however. We found the rieslings to be pretty decent and liked the champagnes at Mawby.

We stayed in Traverse City but there are also great accommodations both on Mission Point and around Suttons Bay.

Traverse City...
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3. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

I am sending a link to the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Assoc.. You posted your question on the Glen Arbor forum so I assume you would wine tour in Leelanau County. Most people just drive around visiting the wineries, taste wine, purchase wine and gifts, and you may occasionally have the opportunity to tour the wine making operations. Plus there are a number of interesting small towns to visit and have lunch. Suttons Bay, Leland, Glen Arbor, Lake Leelanau. It is a very relaxing and enjoyable time. The Old Mission Peninsula also has a number of very nice wineries and am sending a link to that for your interest. It is directly north of Traverse City. You may do a search to find a cab company or tour operation that actually drives you around to each of the vineyards. I believe they exist but am not familiar. Have fun in our area.

http://www.lpwines.com/

http://www.wineriesofoldmission.com/

new jersey
Destination Expert
for Charlevoix, Michigan
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4. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

You might want to check out By the Bay Shuttle.

http://www.bythebaytours.com/tours.shtml

They offer wine tours, at least according to their website. I've never used them but think it sounds great to let someone else do the driving while I do the wine tasting!

Have fun! Moms

Detroit, Michigan
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233 posts
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5. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

I don't think I ever replied to this, wanted to say THANKS. I was looking into it more last night using the links and I think we are just going to print out all the schedules for tours/tastings and then see how many we can hit in the one free day we have on our itinerary. Even if I only get to see a couple, it will still be neat I think.

As for the bythebay, a lot of people had used that link, but it seems to not be working anymore so I'm guessing they are out of business. The touring companies I did find seem pricy and I think are more meant for if you have a whole group. Now that I am finding "tour schedules" on these wine websites, I think we can plan it on our own.

Any "must sees" and any "don't need to sees"??? We are going to do Old Mission. Thanks!!!!

Detroit, Michigan
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233 posts
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6. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

Ok I think I'm going to hit these 5 and have lunch:

Peninsula Cellars

Chateau Grand Traverse

Lunch

Chateau Chantal

Bry's Estate

Bowers

I picked the two Chateau ones because they have tours. Does anyone know how long the tours usually last?

Also, I've never been wine tasting at all - how long do you typically stay at one winery? I was thinking 30mins-1 hour for each (not including the 2 tours). Is that too long or not long enough?? I am a scheduler and just trying to make sure I can hit both tours without missing one of them.

Thanks!!

7. Re: Leelanau County Wine Tours

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