The scenic wineries of Leelanau County produce some of the best Northern Michigan wine, which is a spectacular feat considering the emphasis on quality within the Northern Michigan food and drink scene. Newest to Northern Michigan’s wine arena is Aurora Cellars, a boutique winery located in the heart of Leelanau.

The winery, which opened on July 3rd, will offer 10 distinct beverage offerings, ranging from $12 to $32 per bottle, that include a hard cider, cherry wine, two sparkling wines, a Brut and a Brut Rose, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Luminous (a sweeter Michigan blend), a semi-dry Riesling, Radiance (the House Red), and Cabernet Franc.

Sam Simpson, Aurora Cellars’ consultant from Good Harbor Vineyards, says that while there are many great wineries in Leelanau Peninsula, Aurora will stand out.

“The views are breathtaking and the facility itself is beautiful. We’re a full-production winery and we’re one of the few that do this. We also offer a patio with food service,” he says.

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The winery plans to offer food on the patio, as well as food pairing plates to complement wine tasting. Simpson’s favorite food/wine pairing is the Pinot Gris with the smoked whitefish pate from Carlson’s, a fishery in Leland.

Carlson’s is not the only local business Aurora Cellars plans to work with. Simpson emphasizes that Aurora wants to support local and family-run businesses with their purchases, a movement that has been gaining significant traction and attention in Northern Michigan. For example, their dark chocolate offering is from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate in Empire and their Fromage Blanc Herb Spread is from Leelanau Cheese in Suttons Bay.

This collaboration, which Simpson sees not only in local Northern Michigan businesses but also within the local wine industry itself, is why he believes it is such a great place to open a vineyard.

“From a viticultural standpoint, there’s such a difference in soil compositions across Northern Michigan. So, each vineyard will produce a different wine. You won’t see that in Central California, where the soil is very similar throughout the region,” he says.

With a strong interest in local collaboration and an appreciation for what makes Northern Michigan wine unique, Aurora Cellars should be added to the list of must-visit wineries in Leelanau County.

For more information about Aurora Cellars, visit

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