We’ve had a beautiful fall here in Michigan, almost a little too beautiful. James and I love crisp, cool air in the fall. But last weekend we had perfect weather for exploring Northern Michigan’s wineries and breweries! My family and extended family have done a Beer & Wine Color Tour for the last two years, making this our third annual tour. I have to say, my uncle, aunt, and cousin nailed the wine tour itinerary this year.
Saturday morning, we loaded up my uncle’s motorhome, affectionally named “The Bus”, with waters, snacks, beer, spiced cider and of course cider mill doughnuts. Here’s what we got up to!
Stop #1 Burt Lake Brewery
We left Gaylord and headed north to Burt Lake Brewery. This was a very cool stop with a great rustic bar, vaulted ceilings, and may I add a great logo. I’m kicking myself for not buying a glass with their logo. Guess we’ll have to go back!
The Brewery even opened early for our large group, so thanks to the team over there! James and I sampled 4 beers and ciders for $5. They were decent sized samples, too!! My favorite here was the Sandbar American Cream Ale and James liked the Signs Point IPA. Outside, they had a vineyard, berry bushes, and a few tables to enjoy the fall weather.
Stop #2 Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery
Next, we headed northwest to Crooked Vine Vineyard and Winery. This is a vineyard owned by a husband and wife, who did everything themselves. They had a beautiful vineyard with colorful Michigan hills as the backdrop. This place definitely gave us a few New Zealand vibes, which we loved.
After snapping photos in the vineyard, we headed inside to their rustic tasting bar and sampled 9 wines for $10. Now, these guys were very nice and we really enjoyed the wines we sipped. We were poured very small samples, maybe 2-3 sips of each wine.
But hey, buy a bottle and get your tasting free!! Our favorites were Pet-O-Se-Ga Blanc, Mom’s Blush, Barrel Black Red and our very favorite – Just Peachy Sangria. We bought a bottle but wish we would have bought another (it’s already gone)!
Stop #3 Pond Hills Farm
Back to the bus, we headed west again towards Lake Michigan and Pond Hill Farm. Pond Hill Farm was beautiful and had everything you love about fall. I’m talkin’ pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and potato slingshots. Every piece of this property was “instal-worthy”. Pumpkins were everywhere, and they had these amazing arches and trees turned upside down so the roots were in the air.
They had something to offer around every corner and up every hill. Up the large hill overlooking the vineyard, was an amazing birch arbor with views of Lake Michigan. Coming over the hill, we discovered pumpkin bowling where kids were in line to toss their pumpkins and watch them roll down the hill into black tubes.
They had something for everybody. Hay rides, wine tasting, pig racing, and a beautiful rustic restaurant with amazing birch decor. (I have a thing for rustic decor and birch… and this restaurant was all my rustic dreams come true).
James and the guys watched workers use chain saws to cut planks from huge logs, while my sisters, mom and I went straight to feed the sheep and goats. Oh, they also had this perfect fresh veggie shop with vegetables from their garden.
The wine tasting barn was packed, and didn’t feel like waiting in line so we bought beer and cider at a booth. It wasn’t until later that we discovered that the brewery, Tunnel Vision Brewery, was hidden next to the restaurant!
Stop # 4 Mackinaw Trail Winery
Heading south now, we were off to our final vineyard of the day. The road between Pond Hill and Mackinaw Trail Winery runs along Little Traverse Bay, so make sure to hop out and get pictures of the Great Lake and fall colors.
After ordering our drinks at the main bar, we went and sat under the pavilion which offered views of the rolling vineyards and live music! I think they were celebrating “October Fest”. We drank, danced, drank some more and got a ride in a golf-cart like cart around the vineyard.
Stop # 5 Tap 32 Restaurant
Starting to get a bit hungry, we loaded back into the bus and drove back to Gaylord (I told you, Gaylord’s central location is a great home base for day trips to the surrounding areas!) We ordered drinks and dinner at Tap 32, which is on Main Street in Gaylord. Tap 32 offers a very cool bar with a lot of selections, and I haven’t had anything here yet that I didn’t like!
Finally, it was back to the cottage to re-hydrate and catch some ZZZ’s.
I look forward to the Wine Tour every year, and this year did not disappoint! Many of the brewers offered winter activities, too, such as “wineshoeing” which I may have to try this winter!
Get out and enjoy the fall colors and sample delicious beer, ciders, and wine, what’s not to love? Have you been to these places? What was your favorite?
What are you waiting for?
Thanks to my family for some of the photos in the post!