Out and About: Left Foot Charley

Traverse City has become a mecca for the local agricultural industry. As a community, we've welcomed our local farmers, chefs and brewers with open, and might I add eager, arms. With wineries being an abundant destination option, Left Foot Charley adds a simple, yet decadent spin with their luscious hard ciders.

LFC prides themselves on three beautiful ciders: Classic Hard Cider, Ginger Hard Cider and my personal favorite Cinnamon Girl - a beautiful spicy blend Michigan apples and Sumatra Cinnamon. Similar to the always unpredictable weather of true Northern Michigan, LFC's brewers often brew according to what moves them. Experimenting in oak, cinnamon, honey, different yeast, apple blends, carbonating techniques, and fermentation temperatures, the ingredients may change, but their taste and quality is unwavering.

Although Cider and wine is their specialty, they also pride themselves on their beautiful and carefully selected location, gently set amongst creeking oaks behind Building 50 of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. This location allows LFC a gorgeous space that would be a beautiful choice for a fun engagement photo session or a rehearsal dinner, catering to your individual needs as a couple.

Recently, LFC has been host to the deliciously talented Kristin Karam's Ethnic Eats where for $12 you can enjoy a taste of such food as Cuban, Mexican, Cajun, Indian or Lebanese dishes (along with many more), and your choice of Cider or Wine. Hurry down on Thursday nights from 5-7 to take advantage of this delicious treat, as it's while the food lasts!

Out & About: Longview Winery

Just as you reach the north end of Cedar, MI, you’ll come across a quant winery by the name of Longview. Not only does Longview Winery offer a range of award-winning wines of all different inspirations, but if you catch the tasting room on a day that the owner Alan is present, you’re sure to go away feeling as though you’ve made a new friend. Longview would be a great opportunity to support local venders and cultivators by selecting their wines for your wedding reception.

So why the name “Longview”? As Alan explains it, 15 years ago he said to his now wife Linda, "You have to look at the longview". He said, "our kids are off to college soon and we will be together forever." Fifteen years ago they married and upon retirement Alan said, "You saw the longview and married me, now what do YOU want". Linda told Alan she wanted to live on a farm in Leelanau County so in 1998 they bought the land and started growing the vines.” Longview winery truly keeps its wine selection and tasting room in the most caring hands, and expressing that care to each person that steps through the doors. You can read more of their great story on their About page here.

Longview’s Rustic Red and Rustic White would be a perfect pairing for your event! Appealing to both a sweet-favoring audience and a dry one, these two would also be a staple in any household. However don’t let their fundamental white and red steer you away from their award winning Cherry Wine, Honey Mead and Chardonnay, just to name a few. Check out their impressive selection of creations.

Order online, or better yet, stop in for a tasting and start checking off your wine list at Longview Winery.

Out and About: 45 North

Keeping in line with the theme of wineries and fellowship among the wedding party brings us to 45 North, where generational ties run deep with three generations of Grossnickles and a reassembled 120 year old barn moved from Wisconsin to its new home in Lake Leelanau, MI. The name 45 North runs true to tradition and depth as the actual line of the 45th parallel runs between the wineries winding grape vines. 45 North is sure to bring you an exceptional wine experience and the memories to attest to it.

The entire feel of the location is truly breathtaking. The largely opened floor planned makes you feel as if you’re truly interacting with everyone around you. However if something slightly more intimate is on your mind, the quiet patio of the second story loft proves to be the perfect size for you and your fellows. If the warm scent of nutty wood doesn’t make you feel at home, surely the adorable roaming K9’s will.

Despite being able to seemingly perfect their Pinot Gris as well as their signature 45 White, 45 North’s fruit and specialty wines offer the most amazing Peach Cremant and Sparkling Strawberry for a refreshing and sweet treat. But don’t fall in love just yet until you’ve tried combining the two!

Every element within your experience at 45 North is sure to bring you back for more. Head on over to their about page to experience a bit of wine-making history, or take a drive yourself, enjoy the view of the drive, and sit on the deck to enjoy a glass.

Out and About: Chateau Grand Traverse


Couples! Trying to find a photography backdrop, an incredible inn to stay on your wedding night or an afternoon of wine tasting for you and your bridal party? Why not explore the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula at the beautiful vineyard tasting room at Chateau Grand Traverse.

Chateau Grand Traverse offers a beautiful selection of wines masterfully aged for over 30+ years. Their location and its view cannot be beat, surrounded by rolling vineyards and over looking the most perfect view of Grand Traverse Bay. As well as providing a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family, the Chateau offers a lovely selection of Michigan themed gift ideas for the bride and groom.

The Chateau offers a stunning Inn that can be booked here for your wedding night. Or perhaps stay the night with your bridesmaids the night before the nuptials! The stunning panoramic view, coming from its hill top perch, brings a slight sigh of disbelief as you stand on the walkout balcony and take in the rolling vineyards and stunning crystal-like Grand Traverse Bay.

Proving to be a romantic setting, the Chateau offers the perfect dream-like backdrop for an engagement or wedding photo shoot. The bright greens of the grape leaves pop any color during summer weddings, and the calming earth tones and maroons soften the warm glow of fall weddings. Don’t forget to stop in to taste their amazing wine while you’re there: such an opportunity would be sorely missed!



SBW Vendor Spotlight: Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards

It's always a great day when you stumble upon something new and exciting.  This happened to me back at the beginning of January when I was introduced to Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards.  A stunning venue to say the least, Crain Hill Vineyards is one of nineteen wineries that belong to LPVA.  With forty-five acres of grape vines, they obviously have the whole wine making thing down to a science producing Riesling, Gewurztraminer, an assortment of fruit wines and other cool climate varietals that the Northern Michigan Region is so well known for.  Aside from their wine selection, it's their wine tasting facility that truly caught my attention.  The facility features warm hardwoods, a cool two-story stone fireplace, polished concrete floors, exposed wood trussing and plenty of natural light.  It's the perfect combination of rustic meets modern with a hint of down-on-the-farm flare.  The tasting facility at Crain Hill Vineyards can be rented for private functions and would be the perfect space for a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception or bridal shower.  The space can accommodate up to 200 people.  Be sure to check out Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards' Vendor Profile under the "Ceremony & Reception Locations" section of the Vendor Guide.

You can visit Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards during LPVA's annual Taste the Passion event on February 4th and 5th!

Photos courtesy of Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards



Out and About: Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Traverse City

Our second "Out and About" winery post features Bowers Harbor Vineyards [BHV].  Located in the Bowers Harbor region of Old Mission Peninsula, directly off of Bowers Harbor Road, BHV tasting room rests in what used to be an old horse barn.  When you first arrive at BHV, you are greeted by spectacular views of West Grand Traverse Bay and the twenty acre vineyard.  A quick trip under the pergola will lead you into the tasting room where you'll be greeted by the friendly, knowledgeable staff and Brix, BHV's newest mascot.

As if the scenery, staff, and cute dog weren't already enough, BHV produces some exquisite wines too!  Whatever your palate yearns for, BHV will deliver.  They make a variety of wines including sparklings, whites, reds, and a cherry wine as well.  With both current and past vintages being award winners, don't miss out on BHV while taking your Old Mission Peninsula winery tour.

Photos by A Day In May

Out and About: 2 Lads Winery, Traverse City

I love wine.  I love the way it changes texture, taste and smell once opened .  I love that there is a wine for all meals of the day.  I love how the flavors dance on your tongue.  I love the conversations it welcomes.  (And most importantly...) I love that you don't have to be a snob or spend a lot of money to enjoy a good bottle! It's no secret that Northern Michigan is known for it's miles of coastline, beautiful beaches and cherries but did you know that the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsula's are growing some of the countries best grapes and crafting some of the world's best wines? This summer USA Today listed Traverse City as one of the top "10 great places for local wines."  Call me biased but I totally agree!

Living right in Traverse City, its a quick drive to hop on the Old Mission Wine Trail.  The scenic drive is gorgeous and if you don't mind the rolling hillside and panoramic water views I recommend stopping at  2 Lads Winery (the most northern and newest winery on Old Mission) first.  Located on Smokey Hollow Road and slightly off the beaten path, 2 Lads boasts some of the areas most spectacular views both inside and outside of their tasting room.

Located on a gorgeous fifty-eight acre estate- twenty-two of which make up the vineyard- 2 Lads Winery has been changing the way people think about Michigan wines since their tasting room opened in the Spring of 2008.  Specializing in cool climate reds and sparkling wines, winemaker Cornel Olivier also makes a handful of whites.  With the 2009 wines out and available, we recently visited their gorgeous tasting room to try the new releases.  My favorites are the Chardonnay (or as Tana and I say, "Chardo-yay!") and the Pinot Noir.

If you haven't been to 2 Lads Winery yet be sure and visit soon!

2 lads winery on old mission peninsula on northern michigan

grape vines at 2 lads winery in northern michigan

wine making process at 2 lads in traverse city michigan

red grapes from harvest in northern michigan

2 lads tasting room on old mission peninsula

northern michigan wedding location

Photos by A Day in May

With over twenty wineries between the two peninsulas there is a wine for everyone!  Whether you are hosting a wine tour for your wedding party, including some of your favorite tasting rooms in your guests to-do's, or spending a weekend up north planning your idyllic Northern Michigan wedding be sure and head up M37 or M22 and follow the signs to the vines!