Chateau Chantal has the feel of a visit to a country manor, and that’s because the owner of the house makes it so. Book a wine weekend getaway in one of 11 hilltop rooms with views of orchards, vineyards, classic red barns and—yes—two bays, and your custom breakfast mimosas will be poured by owner Bob Begin, the same guy who likely stoked your real wood fire the night before.
If Bob and his family aren’t serving you directly, you’ll still feel part of it. As one staffer says he tells his friends: If you want to learn a lot about wine, come after the busy harvest when the tasting room takes on the feel of a private class and retreat. Day visitors can also call ahead to book a private tour and tasting or take the day and wander a new founder’s trail through the vines.
Overnight at the Winery Inn
Pick among rooms newly decorated in the style of your favorite classic painter—Monet, Renoir, more. All rooms are suites, so it’s easy to add a second couple. You’ll make new friends easily enough if you want to thanks to a custom stay perk you won’t likely find anywhere else. Once the tasting room closes, guests can perform a self-guided wine tasting from all bottles offered on the tasting menu and are offered a complimentary glass of their favorite to enjoy by a fireplace nook stacked with wine trivia and other board games. Guests rise to a chef-made breakfast like maple brown sugar bacon and a puff pastry with mushroom cream sauce—and then a guest-only cellar tour. Which room do you want to stay in?
Choose the mulled wine package and a warming pot with cherry wine is served in your room at the time of your choice, along with a cheese plate with a fresh baguette; the “Unwind” package is a seasonal favorite too. Two massages at a local spa, a bottle of wine and cushy robes you can keep come with the deal.
Private Wine Dinner in Your Suite
Chateau Chantal’s multi-course gourmet dinners have garnered quite a following. They’re offered only a couple of times in November, but this is your chance to gather a few foodie friends for an overnight in the executive apartment (with fireplace) and order in. For $150 a person above room rate, you can customize the menu with wine pairings. Plan ahead, too, for the cooking class series that starts in January. View more Chateau Chantal experiences.
One-Stop Holiday Shopping
Everyone wins when holiday shopping feels like a vacation, and it does when you can gaze at a bay view out the turret windows, wine glass in hand, and tick off all the favorite people on your gift list. Chateau Chantal’s boutique is no afterthought, not when you can pair “Naughty” and “Nice” wines in a festive carrier. There are original wine country paintings, Tuscan-style serving dishes and affordable jams made from estate wines. You can also shop online.
Kim Schneider is a long-time travel writer specializing in Michigan adventures, food and wine. The Midwest Travel Journalist Association has named her Mark Twain Travel Writer of the Year, and she’s the author of the recently published book, 100 Things to Do in Traverse City Before You Die.