Wine Importing and Marketing Services

Lake Michigan Has a Bustling Wine Scene. Here’s How to Explore It

Image Courtesy of Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club

Towering sand dunes plunge steeply into the clear waters of Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, while in the distance sleek sailboats cut through the turquoise waves. Endless rows of cherry trees and bucolic farmland greet the eye as you drive from one charming small town to the next along winding country roads. Culinary standouts such as Traverse City’s Farm Club, The Cooks’ House and Modern Bird offer diners locally sourced, inventive cuisine paired with exciting wine lists. Paddle boarders, water skiers, windsurfers, kayakers, slushie surfers, wake boarders and other freshwater fans delight in the golden sandy beaches and lakes large and small. The glittering shores of Northern Michigan have long drawn Midwestern summer crowds eager to soak in all the area has to offer. Add to the list of attractions increasingly acclaimed wines produced in the Great Lakes region.

In recent years, the relocation of talented winemakers from Napa, Bordeaux and the Willamette Valley coupled with the presence of long lauded local vintners has added to the Great Lakes’ luster. Situated along the 45th parallel—a distinction shared with notable winemaking localities, including France’s Burgundy and Italy’s Piedmont—the freshwater shoreline and glacial soils shape the character of the wines. The area’s three AVAs—each with its own unique grape-growing terroir— include the Leelanau Peninsula, which stretches from Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to the western arm of Grand Traverse Bay, straddling two bodies of water (Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan); Old Mission Peninsula, situated just across the bay from Leelanau; and the state’s newest AVA, Tip of the Mitt.