In 26 years of life, I’d never been on a Traverse City winery tour.
Which is seriously a crying shame, for two reasons. One – it’s no secret that I love wine. Two – I’m a born and bred Michigander.
Too many samples to count and too many cases of wine purchased (especially for someone who lives in Brazil) later, I’d set the situation straight.
Traverse City Winery Tours
Known as Michigan Wine Country, Traverse City is absolutely the best place for winery tours in the whole state (and I’d argue, the Midwest). With new wineries popping up every year, there’s enough vineyards to tour you could probably spend a week traveling to all of them.
One of the most fun (and safe!) options for visiting the vineyards in Traverse City is to choose a wine tour van. The van picks you up directly from your hotel (along with 6-8 other tourists) and delivers you safely to each vineyard, waiting for you while you’re inside. While some people opt for a DIY approach, I think the organized Traverse City winery tours offer a great value, saving time, choosing the best vineyards, and providing a DD.
You are allowed to bring alcohol to drink in the van, along with snacks and water. I would definitely recommend bringing all 3, along with a light jacket as the AC in the van got a little chilly.
I booked the 4 hour Free Tasting Traverse City Winery Tour through Wine&Beer Tours, which included 4 stops for $50 per person. The name “Free Tasting” comes from the fact that you don’t have to pay for tastings at any of the tours (and the gorgeous views are free as well). On other Traverse City winery tours, each vineyard charges per taste!
We visited one champagne/bubbly vineyard, one distillery (shots! shots! shots! shots!), and two “regular” vineyards. Aside from the last stop, which offered UNLIMITED tastings (yowza), each place offered about 4 tastes, including four full-size shots at the distillery.
It was more than enough booze. Even for me.
The vineyard staff were knowledgeable, helpful, and provided a ton of background information on each wine, as well as suggested food pairings.
The horseradish vodka from Northern Latitudes is amazing – beyond perfect for bloody marys. And their gin is the BEST, with a perfect pine-needly punch, like it was just made for gin and tonics. (I bought bottles of both)
Have you ever tried Traverse City winery tours? If not, what is your favorite activity in Traverse City?