Michigan may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of taking a wine tour.
However, nestled away in the northern part of the state you’ll find Traverse City – the home of wine country in Michigan.
Being on the waters of Lake Michigan, this area provides a perfect microclimate for wine making.
And the area is becoming a real hotspot for wine lovers to visit – including me!
My mom is from Michigan so it holds a special place in my heart.
Where is Traverse City Wine Coast?
This area is relatively easy to get to even though it sits in northern Michigan.
Traverse City has its own airport – Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) – which is easily accessed via Chicago and Detroit.
It’s only a short 1hr 10min flight from Chicago and an even quicker 1hr flight from Detroit.
Alternatively, if you’re up for a road trip you can hire a car from either Chicago, Grand Rapids or Detroit and drive up taking in the scenery on the way.
According to Google Maps, the drive times are:
- Chicago – 5h 6min
- Grand Rapids – 2h 16min
- Detroit – 4h 5min
Traverse City Wine Trails
There are two main trails on offer in this region.
Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail
This is an incredibly scenic trail that is situated just northwest of Traverse City.
Here you’ll find 24 award-winning wineries with a wide variety of grapes and tastes.
Wines you can expect to try here include Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio.
The trail breaks down into three easy mini-trail: the Sleeping Bear Loop, the Northern Loop and the Grand Traverse Bay Loop.
Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula
This trail is made up of ten wineries that are all individual and unique in their own right.
The whole trail will expose you to the best of the areas wines as well as the magnificent backdrop set around each winery.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can visit the trail over a single day or over a few days if you want to take your time.
Traverse City Wine Tours
You can always take yourself on a self-guided tour but I think the best way to enjoy wine tasting is to join a tour.
That way you don’t have to worry about a designated driver and the tour guides tend to have the inside scoop and know how to give you the best experience.
Here are the top ten Traverse City wine tours:
1. Traverse Bay Tours
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $59 per person
By far the best tour operator in the area!
They offer both tours on the Leelanau and Old Mission trails.
Their tours typically last around 4 hours.
2. Brew Bus
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $33 per person
If you’re a larger group, then this tour is perfect for you.
This company has a fleet of buses for hire that will take you around any of the wineries that you like.
And it works out quite cost effectively if you enough to fill the places on the bus.
3. Traverse City Wine & Beer Tours
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $49.50 per person
As they state on their website: “No matter your vibe, we have the vehicle to match”.
Their funky buses will definitely give you a laid back feeling on your wine tour!
On their tours, you will generally get to see four different wineries.
4. Grand Traverse Tours
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $35 per person
If it’s luxury you’re after, I would highly recommend this tour for feeling some prestige whilst wine tasting.
They have join-in tours as well as private so there’s something for everyone.
You’ll love mingling with other wine lovers on their Mercedes Benz bus.
5. Grand Traverse Bike Tours
Duration: 4.5-6 hours | Price from $69 per person
Perfect for those more active wine lovers who would like to cycle their way around wine country.
They’ll even pick up any wine you purchase so you don’t have to worry about carrying it back with you.
AND lunch is included which they bring to you to enjoy whilst looking over one of the beautiful vineyards.
6. Up North Tours
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $50 per person
This tour will regularly change up which vineyards they visit so you always get the opportunity to sample something different.
They have knowledgeable guides who are experts on the local areas and will give you an amazing all-round experience.
Not only do they offer join in tours, but you can also request a custom tour starting at $350.
7. Traverse City Wine Girl
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $50 per hour
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If you want to avoid the tour buses and limos all together, then check out Karen aka Traverse City Wine Girl.
Karen and her husband have been wine tasting in this area for years so you can be assured the best personalised experience.
Mainly focused on small groups of 2-3, the aim of this type of tour is to give you more time wine tasting and less time worrying about transportation.
Have you travelled to Traverse City? What was your favorite winery? Tell me in the comments below!