Why is Bay Harbor, MI Considered the “Napa of the North”?

For those unfamiliar with northern Michigan, wine might not be the first thing that springs to mind, but there’s a unique microclimate along Michigan’s northwest coast – a product of the exposed bluffs and the winds off the bay – that makes this a welcoming place for grapes to grow.

For years, most of the region’s winemaking has been concentrated in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties, but Bay Harbor and the Bay View Wine Trail is quickly become a new destination for wine connoisseurs.

From Petoskey east to Alanson and then back west to Harbor Springs, Emmet County’s Bay View Wine Trail offers eight wineries that aim to bring visitors the best of new northern Michigan wines. Here’s our guide to the Trail.

WALLOON LAKE WINERY
Est. 2014 3199 Intertown Road, Petoskey – 231-622-8645 – walloonlakewinery.com
Located on the 60-year-old Dennis Farms, this winery is a mere mile from placid Walloon Lake, with a production facility surrounded by 36 acres of cold-hardy grapes. A new tasting room is in the works for summer 2015, as is the return of several popular summer wines: End of the Pike Peach, North Arm Noir, Randall’s Point Red and Wildwood White among them.

MACKINAW TRAIL WINERY
Est. 2004 3423 US Hwy 131, Petoskey – 231-487-1910 – mackinactrailwinery.com
With the goal of becoming a mainstay of the Michigan wine industry, the Stabile family has been awarded more than 500 medals for their wines, including their classic Big Red. Other standouts are their vidal blanc ice wine, a wine crafted from vine-frozen grapes with honeysuckle notes, and the North Shore Red Port, an International Wine Competition bronze medal winner.

PETOSKEY FARMS VINEYARD AND WINERY
Est. 2014 3720 Atkins Road, Petoskey – 231-290-9463 – petoskeyfarms.com
Just 3 miles from downtown Petoskey’s shopping and dining, Petoskey Farms features a covered patio overlooking their vineyards, where glasses of their crisp Petoskey White and lightly-oaked Petoskey Red wines are local favorites. Another highlight is Petoskey Farms’ unique apricot wine, a distinctive and refreshing counterpart to spicy foods like Thai or Mexican.

MAPLE MOON SUGARBUSH AND WINERY
Est. 2015 4454 Atkins Road, Petoskey – 231-487-9058 – mmsyrup.com
Maple Moon started as a maple syrup business, but the Petersen family began experimenting with turning their maple syrups into wine – fermenting the syrup and sap – and these unusual wines have been earning raves for their tone and sweet crème finish, especially the aptly named Maple Gold. Bonus: maple ice cream, candy and syrup are all still available.

SEASONS OF THE NORTH
Est. 2012 9090 Michigan 68, Alanson – 231-548-1280 – seasonsofthenorth.com
Utilizing premium hybrid grapes specially designed for the northern climate, Seasons of the North focuses on intriguing handcrafted wine flavors that complement local foods. Located just minutes from I-75, these medal-winning wines include The Cabin, a dry red wine made from Michigan Marechal Foch grapes, and Burt Lake Breeze, from imported seyval blanc.

CROOKED VINE
Est. 2013 8370 Lakeview Road, Alanson – 231-881- 6582 – crookedvinewine.com
With a name inspired by their surroundings, Crooked Vine makes the best of the breezes from Crooked Lake to develop the flavor of their grapes. The results include wines like Tip of the Mitt Red and the more complex dry red Marquette. The Peach Sangria, a light refreshing pour made from peach wine with mango and lime notes, is just the thing for outdoor summer dining.

PLEASANTVIEW WINERY
Est. 1994 6769 Pleasantview Road, Harbor Springs – 231-526-8100 – pleasantviewwinery.us
The most interesting character at Pleasantview Winery isn’t an element of the wine itself, but of the proprietor. Jerry Perrone makes it his mission to educate visitors about Pleasantview’s wines with a quirky sense of humor. Try their unique Enaj wine (Perrone’s wife Jane’s name spelled backwards) and other crisp varietals made from cold-hardy grapes.

HARBOR SPRINGS WINERY
Est. 2010 5581 S. Lake Shore Drive, Harbor Springs – 231-526-3276 – harborspringswinery.com
This year-round working farm and vineyard offers a new wine tasting room and local cafe right on their grounds and features award-winning pinot gris and chardonnay, among other varieties. Their complex Cottage White is the perfect summer sipping wine and their Sweet Riesling is a delicious accompaniment to goat cheeses and northern Michigan salmon dishes.

With so much to do and see in the area, you’ll definitely want to spend time here in Bay Harbor.  Download the exclusive Explore Bay Harbor Magazine for insider tips and information and schedule your visit to this very special place. One thing’s for sure, no matter how long you are here, you’re going to want to grab a glass and stay longer.