Hands-Free Happy Hour

Park your car and leave the wine-tour driving to someone else
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Untapped Sights & Tours operates out of Fennville, providing private as well as “join-in” tours to area wineries. Photo by AJ Broe

Tour companies continue to pop up around Michigan, providing visitors to the state’s wineries and wine trails with safe, fun transportation options.

In Southwest Michigan, Kimberly Knuth runs Grape and Grain Tours out of Baroda with packages based on the number of guests and wineries included. A six-hour create-your-own itinerary is especially popular with groups of up to 14.

Also in Baroda, Fruitful Vine Tours can accommodate groups of up to 14 with multiple vehicle options for tours that typically run from noon to 5 p.m.

“We tour three wineries, where we pay all the tasting fees, as well as provide a fresh, locally sourced lunch,” says one of the owners, Matt Madden, noting that Fruitful Vine also customizes tours according to guest preferences. “We are a small, family-run business that caters to making sure people are able to maximize their fun for the day — no worrying about driving, tasting fees, who is going to take the pictures, or where you’re going to eat.”

Hops Noggin Tours in Stevensville provides a variety of tour options for wine and beer enthusiasts. Photo courtesy of Hops Noggin Tours

In nearby Stevensville, Hops Noggin Tours sets an itinerary that features four locations.

“We can either do all wineries, we can do all breweries, or we can do a combination,” says co-owner Becke Beatty. “We can add some distilleries. We can customize it for the group.

“It’s a fun way to be able to hang out with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere and not have to worry about how to get someplace.”

Less than an hour north, Untapped Sights & Tours operates out of Fennville providing both private tours and “join-in” tours that enable individuals, couples, and small groups to share transportation.

“We visit wineries located in the areas of Saugatuck, Douglas, Fennville, and South Haven, including Michigan Wine Co., Crane’s Winery, Fenn Valley, Virtue Cider, Modales, and Cogdal Vineyards,” says co-owner Kasie Broe. “We also visit local breweries and attractions.”

Mykka Marana and Rachel Jordan participate in a Traverse City Wine Girl tour. Photo courtesy of Traverse City Wine Girl/Jessica Protetch Photography

In northwestern Lower Michigan, Traverse City Wine Girl provides excursions for couples or small groups. The trips vary in terms of itinerary and duration.

“We custom-tailor each tour based on the guests’ preferences,” says owner Karen Sheuerman. “I started this company so couples or small groups can make the most of their wine-tasting adventure time plus enjoy it in style.”

NoMI Tours operates a 14-passenger shuttle for transportation to wineries, cideries, and breweries in the Traverse City area. Co-owner Rachel Barnard says that while the company is active year-round, May to October is the busiest season and trips during those months should be booked as early as possible.

“Currently, we only offer private tours,” she says. “If you book, the bus is yours!”

In the Petoskey Wine Region, Sunset Premier Shuttle — which can also travel to the wine trails on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas — can accommodate anywhere from a single guest to 88 or more using multiple vehicles. Like many other services, Sunset Premier Shuttle will pick up and drop off riders at home or at their vacation accommodations.

These are just some of the wine-tour transportation services available in the state. Visit michiganwinecountry.com/travel/touring-tips to discover more.

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