A benefit of working in the automotive industry is we get all sorts of weird holidays off… It has something to do with union negotiations (even though engineers don’t have a union, we still get all their holidays off. Pretty sweet deal!)
So we all get MLK day off, which means three day weekend, which means a visit to wine capital of Michigan! Yea, you heard that right. When you think wine, you think France, California, Italy, but not Michigan. Well let me show you what a wine tour looks like in the mitten state.
P.S. I will not be commenting on how the wine actually tastes because it all pretty much tastes like grapes, alcohol, and maybe oak if I’m smelling really hard.
Winery #1: Bonobo Winery
Our first stop was Bonobo winery, and probably my favorite of them all. We rented a bus to drive us to the different wineries (don’t drink and drive!), and our amazing driver set us up to have a room all to ourselves (about 14 of us in total). We were taken to this beautiful white room with huge windows overlooking the vineyard. Our waitress brought us a tasting menu with explanations of all the wines, and we got to tasting. The full tasting cost about $10, and we got to sample about 5 different wines.
Winery #2: Chateau Grand Traverse
I think we must have come on a bad day. There was an event going on, called Winter Warmup I believe. This meant there were A TON of people trying wine, and we weren’t able to do a tasting with such a large group. However, they opened up the patio for us (which was covered thank goodness!!), and we were able to order a glass out there and enjoy the sunshine and snow while covered in some snuggly blankets.
Winery #3: Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery
This wasn’t our last stop, but this is the last one I clearly remember so it’ll be the last for this post. We went to Brys, and they were also participating in the Winter Warmup event so they were incredibly crowded. The crowds were handled a bit better. In order to do the tasting, you had to walk in line around the winery to different stations. It felt like waiting in line at an amusement park. We were able to see some barrels and how the wine is fermented, but the waiting in line kind of dampened the experience. Still a cute place though!
All in all, it was a fun day with friends. To rent a bus with ~14 people, it cost $40/person. At each winery I spent about $10 on glasses/tastings. It’s a great way to see some popular wineries in Traverse City, and I’m sure you could ask the driver to go elsewhere if you had other wineries in mind. My only recommendation is to not go when they are having large events. I think I enjoyed Bonobo Winery so much more because they were the only place not participating. I can’t wait to visit Traverse City again in the summer, and to try some more wine!