“I’d like to do a flight of beer.” This was my husband’s “winery joke” and I have to say, it was a success every time. Humor aside, there are just under 60 wineries in the Traverse City area, so we are slowly adding one or two to our repertoire on each trip.
I love that the three wineries we visited this time each have their own vibe. Perhaps, you can handle more than three wineries in a day. I cannot. This was the perfect Sunday afternoon with just the right amount of wine.
We started at Black Star Farms. As the name would suggest, it has a distinctly farm feel on both the inside and out. The winery was established in 1998 and runs through the 45th parallel, which passes through wine regions around the world. The wine is delicious and as you glance around the tasting room, you can’t help but notice several wine bottles with several medals around their necks. We had quite a few favorites but ended up purchasing the Black Star Farms Pinot Noir. Oh, and I think that the tasting may be fairly kid-friendly. There was a middle school-aged boy with his family, and they were able to serve him some sparkling juice and oyster crackers. However, I’m quite certain that if our children were there, we would end up leaving with puppies and espresso-ed kiddos (as the sign on the mantle suggests).
If you catch sight of Mari Vineyards when driving, you can’t help but stop. The winery was started in 1999 and contains wines with grapes not meant for Michigan. They also have a fun start-up story. The owner employed the help of family to plant the initial crop. However, the problem occurred when he discovered that in the rush to get the vines planted, many varieties were placed in a random fashion in the first 7 rows. Fortunately, this “mistake” yielded their flagship Row 7 Wine. The tasting room is decorated to match the outside facade reminiscent of an old castle. You can take tours of the caverns in which the wines are made for about $50/person. What a great friend activity or wedding anniversary idea! Again, we loved all of our samples but ultimately chose our favorite and the recommended Sauvignon Blanc.
Our final stop was Bonobo Winery. I know that I have mentioned this winery previously, but it is so good. We can’t take a trip up to Old Mission without a quick (or not so quick) stop here. The winery was opened by brothers, Carter and Todd Oosterhouse, in a stunning setting with an impeccable tasting room. There is not a bad view. Being the regulars that we are, we didn’t even need to taste. We ordered the Bonobo Chardonnay (and I’m not even a Chardonnay drinker) and charcuterie board. And then just sat on the cozy leather sofa and took in the gorgeous green vineyard freshly cleaned with a passing sprinkle overlooking the bay.
The next morning I happened upon a cafe called BLK/MRKT in the Warehouse District, specifically the Warehouse MRKT. I ordered the Chai, made in-house (read: no boxed syrup and no dusty powder). The entire Warehouse MRKT is gorgeous and well-designed with several charming shops. It is definitely worth walking the extra 3 minutes from downtown Traverse City to check it out.
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