Northern Michigan Wine: With no fewer than nine new wineries to explore, it’s safe to say that indigenous viticulture here on the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas is exploding. Launching with the superb 2010 and 2011 vintages, this new crop of oeno-entrepreneurs has integrated standing local wisdoms about vineyard site management and local microclimates with fresh, innovative perspective on varietal plantings, blends and enclosed viticulture (grapes under glass: whoa!). Bring an appetite, an open mind and an empty trunk, as the wine route just got a little longer in the best possible way. Join us this month for a whistle stop tour of new tasting rooms and labels from the next generation of local wineries.

Big Little Wines

Brothers and Ann Arbor natives Peter and Michael Laing (winemaker at L. Mawby) make their oeno-debut with Mixtape, Crayfish, and the brut blended bubbly Tire Swing. Find bottles at local retailers.

Blustone Vineyards, Lake Leelanau

Sweeping awards at the Finger Lakes and Taster’s Guild Wine Competitions with inaugural 2010 and 2011 vintages, Blustone is a hot new player on the Leelanau Peninsula. Look for their newly opened tasting room, and check out the 2011 pinot gris and pinot noir rosé.

Boathouse Vineyards, Lake Leelanau

Boathouse’s new tasting room perches on the cattailed Narrows connecting North and South Lake Leelanau, a perfect spot to savor Boathouse Red, a blend of cab franc, merlot and syrah from Dave and Jane Albert’s 16-acre vineyard.

Bonafide, Old Mission Peninsula

Jolly Pumpkin adds legit peninsula-grown varietal wines like dry riesling, cabernet franc rosé and gewürztraminer to its stable of Belgian brews and craft spirits. Taste the whole lineup of libations at the tasting room on Bowers Harbor.

Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill, Leelanau Peninsula

Proudly touting sustainable viticulture practices, the three Brengman Brothers are crafting some banging wines on Crain Hill in Elmwood Township. Check out the Block 65 Reserve Blend of pinot gris, viognier and sauvignon blanc.

Harbor Springs Vineyards & Winery, Harbor Springs

En route to the tunnel of trees, stop and sip at the newly launched Harbor Springs Vineyard and Winery at Pond Hill Farm, where young hillside vineyards produce award-winning riesling, pinot gris and chardonnay. Try the Tunnel Vision Hard Cider.

Hawthorne Vineyards, Old Mission Peninsula

Building off a vineyard that’s both diverse (chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, riesling, pinot blanc, more) and well established (10 years), and relying on the talents of winemaker Brian Hosmer, Hawthorne intends to bring forth wines with vivid, unique personalities. Shooting for August opening,

Motovino Cellars, Northport

Motorcycle culture and modern winemaking have a hip if unlikely collision at Motovino Cellars in Northport. Shawn Walters’s winemaking virtuosity drives Dream and F Head, two proprietary blends of white and red varietals to rev your engines.

Verterra Winery, Leland

Sidle up by boat, car or bicycle to Verterra’s tasting room in a repurposed 1920’s barbershop/pool hall in beautiful downtown Leland. Swirl a glass of meticulously crafted pinot blanc or dry gewürztraminer and feel the love.

Villa Mari Vineyards & Winery, Old Mission Peninsula

Heavily invested in innovative hoop house technology, Villa Mari is bringing a new reality to local vin rouge with its shockingly muscular Row 7 Claret, a cabernet blend grown under protective canopies. Find their wines at local retailers.

Find more Northern Michigan wineries on!

This article was first featured in the August 2012 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Click here to order your copy today.