The only thing better than drinking amazing wine is enjoying it in an amazing place.
Visitors to Michigan wineries are in luck when it comes to finding picturesque places to imbibe.
From turquoise bays to rolling vineyards, Michigan wine country has no shortage of stunning scenery. Here are a few of the many wineries throughout the state where your eyes will be as engaged as your palate.
Old Mission Peninsula/Traverse City
Chateau Chantal founder Bob Begin was cross-country skiing on the Old Mission Peninsula in the early 1980s when he came upon the hill where the winery stands today.
“He saw that view and knew it would be a terrific natural asset,” says Marie-Chantal Dalese, Begin’s daughter and president/CEO.
Dalese calls it “one of the most compelling views in the Midwest,” offering a 360-degree perspective of rolling vineyards, orchards and charming red barns. It’s also one of only two Old Mission Peninsula wineries from which guests can admire both West and East Grand Traverse bays. Many comment that it’s like “the Napa Valley of the Midwest” or reminiscent of Tuscan views, she says.
Chateau Chantal takes full advantage with expansive patios facing both east and west where visitors can enjoy wine by the glass.
“The view includes the grapes that are actually in the guest’s glass — that’s important to us,” Dalese says. “The view helps us focus our discussion with guests on the climate, vineyard aspect and unique characteristics of our region.”
Domaine Berrien Cellars
Katie and Wally Maurer chose their property for its grape-growing potential: a south-facing slope at one of the highest points in Berrien County, proximity to Lake Michigan for climate tempering and fertile, well-drained soils.
That it happens to be beautiful is a bonus.
Driving down the entry road, guests are surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see. Out back, there’s an ornamental pond bordered by more vineyards, lawn and woods.
Guests can glimpse the beauty from within the cozy tasting room or, in good weather, grab a glass and a snack and relax on the deck overlooking the pond.
“They feel like they are in Napa Valley when they drive down our long driveway with rows of grapevines on either side,” Katie says. “They really feel like they are in wine country.”
Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery
“Wine tasting is all about the experience,” says Tracie Roush, co-founder of Petoskey Farms Vineyard & Winery. “Who you are with, how you feel, what the temperature is outside, the sights and sounds around you make up a large part of your experience.”
Roush and her husband, Andy, were initially drawn to what’s now their 22-acre estate in Petoskey due to “the view, the hills, the peacefulness.”
Guests now can share in that splendor via Petoskey Farms’ twin 60-foot-long decks with outdoor seating, all overlooking the rolling hills and expansive countryside. The upper deck is covered to protect guests from the elements, while the lower deck is all open air.
“Visitors that frequent the winery call it a ‘million-dollar view,’ ” says Roush.
Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery
Leelanau Peninsula/Traverse City
At 1,065 feet, Rove Estate is situated on the highest point on the Leelanau Peninsula — and has the views to prove it.
“We have breathtaking panoramic views of rolling hills of vineyard and orchards,” says McKenzie Gallagher, who owns Rove with her husband, Creighton. “In the horizon, you can see Sleeping Bear Dunes, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Long Lake and even Manitou Islands on a clear day. It is a very rare ‘back-door view’ that people are always surprised by.”
Located on the Gallaghers’ multigenerational farm, the tasting room features numerous windows, a wraparound deck and a seasonal private event tent. There’s also a trail on the property for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
“To enjoy a glass of estate wine while looking at the vineyard where the grapes came from is truly the ultimate vine-to-glass experience,” says Gallagher.
Sandhill Crane Vineyards
This family-owned winery is near Jackson, but the property is so secluded and serene that city life seems far away.
“The view greatly enhances the wine experience because it becomes part of the experience,” says Owner/Winemaker Holly Balansag. “The view adds to the feeling of relaxation and tranquility, and encourages guests to stay for a while and relax.”
Balansag says her parents and aunt chose the property for their retirement home; her father made wine and grew grapes as a hobby before deciding to go commercial.
Abundant windows, a wraparound deck and picnic tables allow guests to immerse themselves in the peaceful vineyard views, bordered by farmland in the distance. The winery also hosts many outdoor events and festivals to take advantage of the surroundings.
If you’re lucky — especially at early morning or dusk in the fall — you may glimpse some cranes hanging out in the adjacent field, along with a variety of other wildlife.
Leelanau Peninsula/Suttons Bay
John Crampton often refers to Leelanau Peninsula’s Willow Vineyard as “the smallest vineyard with the biggest view.” His wife, Jo, says the view is the main reason they bought the property.
More than two decades later, you can still find the Cramptons slinging wine at Willow, surrounded by their own little slice of heaven.
In their window-studded tasting room atop a hill, “anywhere you stand, you’re looking at views of vineyards and water,” says Jo. In good weather, guests also can immerse themselves in the beauty via Willow’s patio, which is surrounded by flowers.
“Everyone that walks into Willow’s tasting room comments on how beautiful the property is,” Jo says. “That is always a positive start.”
More wineries with great views:
2 Lads Winery, Old Mission Peninsula
Bel Lago Winery, Leelanau Peninsula
Blustone Vineyards, Leelanau Peninsula
Boathouse Vineyards, Lake Leelanau
Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery, Old Mission Peninsula
Chateau Grand Traverse, Old Mission Peninsula
Hawthorne Vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula
Karma Vista, Coloma
Mawby, Leelanau Peninsula
Leelanau Cellars, Omena
Mari Vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula
The Ridge at Verterra Winery, Leelanau Peninsula
Tabor Hill, Buchanan
This article originally appeared in the 2019 Michigan Wine Country magazine.