The Napa of the Midwest: Come Discover Traverse City’s Best Wineries

Fog rolling in over 45 North Vineyard Winery in northern Michigan

This charming and picturesque city has so much to offer! Found on the shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views while hitting the hiking trails or enjoying the thriving local culinary scene. If you’re coming during the summer months, you could also attend the city’s annual cherry festival – held in the “Cherry Capital of the World!”

And that’s all to say nothing of the vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms you’ll find here! If you’re looking for some of the very best wineries in Traverse City, keep reading! 

Best Traverse City Wineries & Tasting Rooms

Traverse City sits between two very district American viticultural areas (AVAs) – Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula – giving visitors the opportunity to sample a diverse range of wines produced in the region. 

Leelanau Peninsula, northwest of Traverse City, is home to many cool climate, award winning wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Riesling.

Similarly, varieties such Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc thrive in the mineral rich souls of Old Mission Peninsula, located just northeast of Traverse City. 

While you’re here, why not get the best of both worlds and hop around the many tasting rooms of downtown Traverse City? 

People enjoying a wine tasting on an outdoor patio
Image via Black Star Farms

Black Stars Farm

From the vine to the bottle, Black Star Farms is fully committed to crafting some of the very best wines from Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. If you come visit Black Stars Farm in Sutton Bay, you’ll absolutely want to take some time to explore their 160 acres estate — that is while you’re not busy lounging in their gorgeous tasting room, soaking in summer rays on the outdoor patio, or grabbing a treat from their cafe!

Learn more about Black Stars Farm

Outdoor patio seating at Shady Lane Cellars on Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan
Image via Shady Lane Cellars

Shady Lane Cellars

If this one sounds familiar, you might’ve already seen my interview with Kasey Wierzba – the incredibly wonderful and talented executive winemaker and general manager of Shady Lane Cellars! 

Apart from the wonderful wine and the wonderful people who work here, this is a great option if you’re looking to really soak everything in and take your time while exploring the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Shady Lane Cellars is one of several stops you can choose from with Grand Traverse Bike Tours. If you’re planning to visit during the winter season and won’t be able to pedal from one winery to the next, why not explore the estate on skis? Shady Lane Cellars has a number of cross country skiing trails that zig-zag through the vineyards, allowing you to gain an even deeper appreciation for the land that grows their many delicious varietals. 

Learn more about Shady Lane Cellars

Sign of a hand holding a bottle outside MAWBY
Image via MAWBY

MAWBY Vineyards & Winery

If you love sparkling wines, you need to plan a pilgrimage to MAWBY Vineyards & Winery – which has been crafting small batch, top-notch quality bottles of bubbly for 50 years! While you’re here, you’ll enjoy warm, welcoming hospitality, gorgeous views, and delicious wines! Reservations aren’t required for small pirates, but I highly recommend calling ahead to make sure you don’t miss out!

Learn more about WAWBY

Hand holding a bottle of wine wine in a vineyard row
Image via Ciccone Vineyard & Winery

Ciccone Vineyard & Winery

For those of you who enjoy a little live music with your tastings, Ciccone Winery hosts lots of great events that spotlight local musicians! You’ll be blown away by the talent of the musicians and the winemakers! This family-run winery – one of the first in the region – proudly serves estate wines! 

Learn more about Ciccone Winery

Ariel view of Two K Farms on Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan
Image via Two K Farms

Two K Farms

If you’re coming in the summer months, you should absolutely check out Two K Farms. This brother duo serves up delicious wines and panoramic views. Come enjoy a tasting at their outdoor patio, nestled among rows of pine trees, with sweeping views of vineyards, apple trees, and best of all, West Grand Traverse Bay. 

If you’re coming during the winter months, they also have a rustic chic tasting room with gorgeous vaulted ceilings. The tasting room menu has a lot of great offerings too – like dessert hard ciders! 

Learn more about Two K Farms 

Two people clink glasses at Verterra Winery in Leelanau Peninsula, MI
Image via Verterra

The Ridge at Verterra

From white and red wines, rosé and sparkling, to even port and hard ciders, Verterra Winery has a little bit of everything. Verterra literally means “true to the land,” and the estate grown fruits are meant to embody the essence of Leelanau Peninsula. 

This family winery came from modest beginnings, and was born from a passion for great wines. Over time, one acre grew to more than 40 acres. In recent years, Verterra Winery has been the recipient of numerous awards – including Best Dry Wine in Michigan, three years running! 

The Ridge at Verterra provides its guests with postcard-worthy views, and is one of the most idyllic spots to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, but you can also grab a glass of Michigan’s Best Dry Wine in their downtown tasting room – just one block away from the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Learn more about Verterra Winery

Vineyard along a windy road in Michigan
Image via Amoritas Vineyards

Amoritas Vineyards

If you love white wines, you definitely need to visit Amoritas Cellar! They grow Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, and Muscat Ottonel – all fruity, clean, acid driven wines that are full of complexity! 

The tasting room is warm and inviting, but if you’re interested in a private tasting, I recommend strolling through the vineyard. There’s something magical about sipping wines in the exact same spot they were grown. 

Another reason this vineyard needs to be one of your stops along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail? Samping these delicious wines means you’ll be supporting women in wine! Emily Goodell and her family had a dream of opening their own vineyard – and as viticulturist and part owner she wears many hats! The wines grown here come from a labor of love, though, which you’ll be able to taste for yourself in every glass!

Learn more about Amoritas Vineyard 

Charcutire and flight offerings at Left Food Charley
Image via Left Food Charley

Left Foot Charley

At Left Foot Charley you can sample delicious wines and hard ciders! This winery and tasting room sits on the grounds of the former Traverse City State Hospital, and is found among all the hustle and bustle of the Village of Grand Traverse Commons. You can also check out the next door Barrel Room – a 19th Century root cellar that offers visitors a truly unique tasting experience! 

Learn more about Left Foot Charley

bottle of wine bringing pored into an empty glass, held by an expectant hand
Image via Chateau Grand Traverse

Chateau Grand Traverse City

A short eight-mile drive outside the hustle and bustle of downtown Traverse City, you’ll find the most quintessential Northern Michigan winery tasting experience. At Chateau Grand, found along the M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula, you’ll be treated to views of rolling vineyard hills and Lake Michigan while sampling some of the very best wines in the region. You won’t need a reservation, but be warned — they have a first-come, first-served policy! If you’re going to make a full day out of exploring Old Mission Peninsula, I recommend starting here first! 

Learn more about Chateau Grand Traverse City

45 North Vineyard & Winery

The name of this vineyard and winery comes from their location — seated directly atop the 45th parallel! And while technically this recommendation is a half hour drive outside Traverse City, it was just too good to leave off this roundup! Nestled in the Leelanau Peninsula, this vineyard and winery is home to a charming hand-hewn, post and beam barn. You’ll feel right at home cozying up to the fire with a glass of wine.

If you want to get out in nature while you’re here, though, you could also explore the vineyard’s three-mile recreational trail. No matter what time of year you visit, this all-seasons trail offers up incredible natural beauty. 

Learn more about 45 North Vineyard & Winery

Glass of white wine in front of a funny chalkboard at Peninsula Cellars
Image via Peninsula Cellars

Peninsula Cellars

This charming, family-run winery is found just outside of Traverse City on Old Mission Peninsula. When you visit this tasting room, it’ll almost feel like stepping back in time. Housed in an old schoolhouse, this tasting experience will undoubtedly be the most fun you’ve ever had at school! 

Learn more about Peninsula Cellars

Brunch and wine offerings Bonobo Winery in Michigan
Image via Bonobo Winery

Bonobo Winery

If you’re looking for a laidback wine tasting experience with great views, I highly recommend Bonobo Winery! You’ll need to make reservations in advance, but the planning will all be worth it when you get to experience the pairing menu or tour the beautiful winery with a glass of sparkling wine in hand!

Learn more about Bobobo Winery

exterior shot of chateau Chantal
Image via Chateau Chantal

Chateau Chantal Winery 

The views from the patio at Chateau Chantal Winery are absolutely jaw dropping, and if you get the chance to visit while you’re exploring Old Mission Peninsula, you should absolutely add this one to your itinerary! Even better, if you’re still in the early planning stages of your trip, you could book a stay in their bed and breakfast! 

They also host fantastic events, like “Jazz at Sunset,” that offer you a truly unique experience while you’re here!

Learn more about Chateau Chantal Winery

Exterior shot of 2 Lads Winery
Image via 2 Lads Winery

2 Lads Winery

This sleek and modern tasting room offers up delicious wines and small accompanying bites! They specialize in cool climate red and sparkling wines, and have small runs of white wines.

Learn more about 2 Lads Winery

Frequently Asked Questions

How many wineries does Traverse City have?

Traverse City is home to more than 40 wineries! 

What is the largest winery in Traverse City?

The largest winery in Traverse City is Chateau Grand Traverse City! 

What wine is Traverse City known for?

Since Traverse City straddles the edges of Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula, there are a number of noteworthy wines you should taste while you’re here, including Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc — just to name a few!

What wineries are in Traverse City?

There are more than 40 wineries in Traverse City, so if you’re just dipping your toe into the local wine scene, this guide is an excellent place to start! 

Do you need reservations for wine tasting in Traverse City?

While some wineries included in this guide require reservations in advance, many have adopted a first-come, first-served policy. 

Other Blog Posts You’ll Love

The Best Leelanau Peninsula Wineries

Women in Wine: Kasey Wierzba of Shady Lane Cellars

Women in Wine: Emily Goodell of Amoritas Cellars