It is nearly impossible to live in Northern Michigan without the desire to sample its many wineries and breweries. However, there are so many to choose from that it can be almost overwhelming to decide where to start. There is also the important aspect of needing transportation between destinations, something that becomes increasingly difficult when one wants to visit multiple wineries and breweries. Enter Bob Lovik, founder and owner of the Grand Traverse Adventure Company. Lovik not only provides transportation, but a knowledge and passion for this area that shines through on each of his tours.
Lovik typically charges $55 per person for a wine tour. He has 8-10 wineries that he rotates on both the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas. Depending on the group’s desire, Lovik is more than happy to accommodate for specific wants and needs. Having worked in wineries in Michigan, as well as Oregon, Lovik is overflowing with information, recommendations, and just an overall bubbly love of wine. Lovik also works in the travel and tourism industry, so he feels as if each tour should be just as much about the experience as it is about the tastings; a promise that he delivers each time.
The craft beer tours are set up slightly different than the wine tours. With the wine tours, Lovik gives his customers more freedom to explore the wineries and tastings on their own. With the beer tours, employees of each brewery lead a tour of the buildings, showing how the beer is made. The sampling is then done with the brewer, who chats about each beer thoroughly. Craft beer tours are available for private groups of six or more and are $75 per person, beer tastings included. Customers are also welcome to take a tour where tastings are not included for $50 per person.
Not only does the Grand Traverse Adventure Company give wine and beer tours, but Lovik plans to provide a Wine and Wilderness Sleeping Bear Dunes tour that will cost about $65-$75 per person. These will include a morning hike at one of Northern Michigan’s scenic areas, such as Pyramid Point, then lunch and an afternoon wine tour will follow. The hike will be led by Martina Dorn of Sleeping Bear Dunes Tours, who is full of information on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, as well as the surrounding areas.
While asking Lovik about his favorite tour to give, he was visibly unable to provide an answer. He described the best tours as ones “where people want to learn about the beer and wine culture here while having a great time.” He went on to say that “the passion that goes into Northern Michigan wines, beers, ciders, meads, and spirits is infectious. I want to pass some of that passion along.” And for those of you who are familiar with that passion that Lovik speaks of, rest assured that he does a tremendous job of showing just how much enthusiasm and zeal go into each crafted beverage here.
One of my favorite aspects of Lovik’s service is that he takes photos at each stop. He will then email you these photos at no additional cost, so you can cherish the memories of a fabulous trip without having to worry about taking your own photos. To schedule a tour, just hop onto the Grand Traverse Adventure Company’s website and pick the one you want! Connect with them on Facebook to see great photos from other tours as well.
Have you been on a tour with the Grand Traverse Adventure Company? What sort of tour would excite you most?