With the sparkling blue waters of the Great Lakes surrounding the state, and the seasonal changes that take place throughout the year, the climate in Michigan is perfect for growing grapes. As a result, wineries have popped up and earned the state a reputation for being a wine lover’s dream.
Michigan wineries not only produce fantastic varieties of wine but also offer spectacular views and authentic experiences, allowing visitors to indulge in the simple pleasure of sipping wine in an atmospheric place.
Five federally-designated areas in Michigan are known as American Viticultural Areas — Fennville, the Leelanau Peninsula, the Lake Michigan shore, the Old Mission Peninsula, and Tip of the Mitt. Within these regions, you’ll find the best Michigan wines. And, the trip is worthy of your summer bucket list.
The Best Michigan Wineries in Fennville
Established in 1981, the Fennville AVA was the first established wine region in Michigan — and it was only the third established region of its kind in the United States. This small region is located on the west side of the state and comprises wineries that produce sweet, fruit-based wines.
2128 62nd St, Fennville, MI 49408
Modales Wines is a Fennville winery that specializes in the grape-to-glass experience. The winery itself is located about 1 mile from Lake Michigan, and visitors can sample five to six pours during a one-hour tasting at the state-of-the-art, outdoor tasting room.
However, the grapes grown on this vineyard come from two different farms — one is more known for its clay soil, and the other is located on sand. The result is a diverse range of full-bodied wines with spectacular flavor, allowing this winery to earn a reputation for excellence in the community.
Fenn Valley Vineyards
6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
As one of the most well-established wineries in Fennville, Fenn Valley Vineyards has become a household name among wine aficionados in the state.
This family-owned winery was established in 1973, nearly a decade before the Fennville AVA designation. The Welsch Family selected its land in Michigan specifically to grow grapes, ensuring that the new winery would be destined for success.
Just a few miles from Holland Michigan and a couple of miles from the shores of Lake Michigan, the climate in this area is moderated by the lake, making the conditions nearly perfect for grape growing.
As a result, there are a wide variety of wines to sample at this winery, including red, white, and fruit wines, as well as several specialty wines.
6054 124th Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
Launched in 2014, Crane’s Winery has made a name for itself in not only the Fennville region but also the entire state. This winery was established by a family that’s familiar with farming.
As a fifth-generation fruit farming family, they know a thing or two about growing the best, most flavorful fruits. At the winery, you can sip on sweet and distinct wines, with some of the new releases including a riesling, a white merlot, and a pinot gris.
Top Wineries in Michigan Along the Leelanau Peninsula
Shortly after the Fennville AVA was established, the Leelanau Peninsula region quickly followed suit. While it was designated as an AVA in 1982, this strip of land in Northwest Michigan has long been considered one of the best places in the state to grow grapes.
Surrounded by Lake Michigan, Lake Leelanau, and the Grand Traverse Bay, the Leelanau Peninsula climate is moderated by the water, providing vineyards with pristine growing conditions.
The Leelanau Peninsula is known for its crisp, dry, and flavorful white wines. But, many of its top wineries have perfected different varieties for visitors to sample.
4519 Elm Valley Rd, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
For an experience unlike any other in the Leelanau Peninsula, head to Mawby Sparkling, which is known for its sparkling wines. Bubbles bounce around the glasses at this relaxed winery with a lively atmosphere, and you can sip on wines with unforgettable and, at times, provocative names.
With indoor and outdoor wine tasting spaces, visitors come from near and far to enjoy the distinct wine offerings at this well-known winery in Michigan.
2290 S French Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653
Situated in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula and based out of a charming cottage-like structure, Chateau Fontaine is the quaint, family-owned winery that you’ve been searching for in Michigan.
Known for its fruit-forward wines, Chateau Fontaine serves a variety of dry white wines, including its famed Woodland White.
The tasting room is only open on the weekends, and when you’re there, you can enjoy a quiet stroll through the vineyards to soak up the views of the sprawling hills on the peninsula.
45 North Vineyard & Winery
8580 E Horn Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653
Around the world, the 45th parallel is considered the best place to start a vineyard. In Michigan, 45 North Vineyard & Winery called dibs on the spot and named its establishment accordingly. All of the wines at 45 North are handcrafted on site, ensuring that every bottle is filled with refreshing and flavorful wine.
The winery is truly a family operation, with all members of the extended family working to move the winery forward. As a result, you enjoy a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere as you sip your favorite varieties in the tasting room.
Shady Lane Cellars
9580 E Shady Ln, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
On the eastern base of the Leelanau Peninsula, Shady Lane Cellars is one of the first Michigan wineries that you’ll encounter in this region — and it may be the one that you remember the longest.
In the rolling hills, this winery features a spectacular outdoor tasting space, which is ideal on a warm summer afternoon or a cool fall day when the leaves are turning.
The wines at Shady Lane Cellars are known for their natural fruit flavors and vibrant aromas, with some of the most popular varieties being the dry riesling and pinot noir rose.
Sip Your Way Along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail
The Lake Michigan Shore wine region is larger than Fennville and encompasses several counties in Southwest Michigan. This region not only benefits from the moderating effects of Lake Michigan but also has hilly areas that prevent frost pockets from forming and damaging crops.
If you’re looking for wineries that boast excellent flavors and beautiful views, check out these Michigan wineries near the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lawton Ridge Winery
8456 Stadium Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Lawton Ridge Winery boasts a wine tasting room in the heart of Kalamazoo, as well as a vineyard in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA, ensuring that locals can sip the best wines from the region in a convenient location.
This winery is known for food-friendly wines that pair well with Michigan meals. In particular, it’s best known for its dry red wine varieties.
White Pine Winery
317 State St #1247, St Joseph, MI 49085
To promote the growing region in the area and to showcase the natural beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline, White Pine Winery has crafted a series of fine wines from local grapes.
The tasting room for this winery is situated in the heart of St. Joseph, and you can sample many varieties, including pinot gris, Syrah, and merlot.
12 Corners Vineyard
1201 N Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
The process of creating and producing wine requires many people to partner together and aspire to greatness, and that’s exactly what’s transpiring at 12 Corners Vineyard.
This winery produces estate-grown grapes that are crushed, fermented, and bottled to create some of the most flavorful samplings of the best wine that Michigan has to offer.
With wine tasting rooms in Benton Harbor, South Haven, and Grand Haven, there are many places along the West Michigan coast where you can enjoy a flight of its wines.
Lemon Creek Winery
533 E Lemon Creek Rd, Berrien Springs, MI 49103
At Lemon Creek Winery, wine is a family tradition. For more than 160 years, the Lemon family has been farming this land in West Michigan, and today, the grapes that are grown on the vines are crushed and bottled by family members.
When you visit this winery, you enjoy a truly local experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the flavor and culture of Michigan wine country.
Lemon Creek Winery is known for its extensive selections, and you can choose from six different flights, all of which are based on particular palates. For example, you could try a selection of dry white wines or a flight of the sweetest fruit wines.
Discover Your Favorite Winery in Michigan on the Old Mission Peninsula
Not far from the Leelanau Peninsula and on the other side of Traverse City is a small but mighty wine region in Michigan. The Old Mission Peninsula is a tiny strip of land known for its sandy soil, late springs, and lingering summers.
It may be the smallest AVA in Michigan, but it’s one of the most concentrated wine-growing areas in the state. As you drive along the peninsula, you’ll encounter winery after winery, each with its own experience and flavors to offer.
2 Lads Winery
16985 Smokey Hollow Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686
You have to drive almost the entire length of the peninsula to reach 2 Lads Winery, but the journey is worthwhile. Once you reach this industrial-style winery with modern vibes, you’ll be treated to some of the most breathtaking views on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Not to mention, you’ll then get to rest and relax as you sip some of the most divine wines in the region. This winery is known for its bold wines, and anyone will find something to like because red, white, rose, and sparkling wines are available.
Bowers Harbor Vineyards
2896 Bowers Harbor Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686
For nearly three decades, Bowers Harbor Vineyards has been welcoming visitors to its home-like setting, where wine lovers can sip their favorite wines on the outdoor patio while overlooking the vineyards.
This winery features several distinct vineyards, allowing it to create distinct wines that highlight the flavors of this growing region. Some of its most popular varieties include Gewurztraminer, Merlo, and Cabernet Franc.
If you’re lucky, you may get a visit from one of the vineyard dogs as you taste your wine. Many of the dogs are featured on the bottle labels, so they’ll already feel like beloved pets.
8175 Center Rd, Traverse City, MI 49686
With its elegant tasting room overlooking the peninsula vineyards, Mari Vineyards is an experience in and of itself. This vineyard specializes in Italian-style wines, and visitors can enjoy a European atmosphere as they sip wine underneath the stone archways of the tasting room.
For many, this winery is the first stop as they tour the Old Mission Peninsula. Sometimes, it can be hard to tear yourself away from the relaxed atmosphere, scenic views, and friendly guests.
Visit the Most Famous Northern Michigan Wineries at the Tip of the Mitt
As the most recently designated AVA in Michigan, the Tip of the Mitt is considered an up-and-coming region in the state. It just received its official AVA status in 2016, but there have long been wineries in the region, growing grapes and bottling spectacular varieties.
The unique conditions of this region allow for the wineries to create varieties that cannot be produced elsewhere in Michigan. Here are some of the best wineries in this area.
Walloon Lake Winery
3149 Intertown Rd, Petoskey, MI 49770
On a unique plot of land between the arms of Walloon Lake is the Walloon Lake Winery, one of the most well-known wineries in the Tip of the Mitt AVA. This winery is known for its award-winning wines, many of which can be enjoyed in the breathtaking tasting room.
Construction began on the barn-style tasting room in 2014, and it was opened to the public in 2018. Today, guests come to this winery specifically to enjoy the space as they savor the fantastic wines.
Seasons of the North Winery
9090 M-68, Alanson, MI 49706
Seasons of the North Winery is an innovative winery situated in Alanson. The winegrowers at this vineyard know that many grapes can’t handle the harsh, cold winters Northern Michiganders have to endure, which is why they rely exclusively on hybrid grapes that are more resilient and incredibly flavorful.
Using these local grapes, this winery can produce many types of wine, including semi-dry wines, fruit wines, and even sangria.
Spare Key Winery
06872 Upper Bay Shore Rd, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Wine lovers looking for authentic, estate-grown wines in this region will be hard-pressed to find anything quite as nice as the Spare Key Winery. This small, locally-owned winery was started in 2011 by two passionate wine enthusiasts who had just 400 vines and a dream.
Today, you can sip wines that have been grown on the vineyard and processed on site, which isn’t the norm in this unique growing region. Some of the most noteworthy varieties at this winery include the Elvira (an award-winning wine), the Frontenac, and the Marquette.
Crooked Vine Vineyard & Winery
8370 Lakeview Rd, Alanson, MI 49706
Crooked Vine Vineyard & Winery has become known for its hands-off approach to winemaking. Its goal is for people to have the opportunity to taste its vineyard — not just the grapes. This innovative approach ensures that it has bold and distinct wines that feature robust flavors.
You’re invited to stop by the winery to sip your favorite varieties on the patio or among the vines. Also, you’re encouraged to stay awhile, sip a glass of wine, and explore the extensive grounds of this serene Northern Michigan property.
Get a Taste of All the Michigan Wineries
Whether you prefer a crisp, dry glass of white wine while soaking up shoreline views, or you’re more in the mood for a sultry red in a historic atmosphere, you’ll find Michigan wineries that appeal to your palette.
The best wineries in Michigan offer more than just wine tastings. They allow you to savor the experience of the Great Lakes State.