Bel Lago Vineyard, Winey & Cidery in Leelanau County recently finished renovating its tasting room, giving visitors access to gorgeous views of Lake Leelanau. Enjoy the sneak peek below and find out which wines Bel Lago recommends for your Thanksgiving meal.

Bel Lago’s Director of Marketing Sarah Peschel tells us more about the renovation.

What was the goal of the renovation?

The goal of the renovation was to create a space that allowed our guests to enjoy our beautiful view of Lake Leelanau from inside as well as outside. To do this we completely flipped the layout of the space so that our new horseshoe bar faces a wall of large new windows overlooking the lake.

You plan to offer limited indoor seating this winter and host a grand opening in the spring. What should guests know or expect about visiting this winter? 

Our plan is to be open Friday–Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. this winter. Our tasting room manager, Patrick, is excited to begin offering live music, pizza and wine specials on Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m. and private barrel tasting events throughout the winter as well. These events will be by reservation only, but we don’t require reservations Friday, or from 12–3 on Saturday or on Sundays. We also have a beautiful outdoor firepit and hope to host some fun winter events during the colder months. As for our grand opening in the spring, we’re beginning to make plans for a fun party in May and will share more details as they develop.

Will you be offering outdoor seating?

We will! Patrick just got an amazing fire bowl from My Metal Medium in Mesick and he’s got some other ideas up his sleeve as well.

What about food?

We’ll be offering a variety of locally produced rustic pizzas Friday–Sunday this winter, and we will likely extend our food offerings in the spring. We’re also looking forward to hosting a variety of food trucks throughout the summer and fall next year.

Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?

Overall we’re just excited about the direction we’re headed. We’ve had a lot of fun planning collaborations with other local and regional businesses to host virtual and in-person events [on November 12, Blue Goat, Idyll Farms and Bel Lago are hosting a virtual tasting event]. The pandemic has required a shift in the timeline for some of our in-person events, but we’re enjoying the process and looking forward to a great lineup for 2021. We’re also excited about the design work of Chris Mock, who helped us initially with our brand refresh, and Steve Allie who is taking Chris’s concepts and applying them to new label design. Our 2016 Tempesta and Cab Franc are two wines with our new branding and they happen to be shining examples of the caliber of red wine possible in Michigan.

Hours: Friday–Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Online Ordering: Wine bottles can be ordered online 24/7. Pick up, shipping and delivery available.
COVID-19 Protocols: Bel Lago will continue to offer outdoor options and will begin to seat indoors with limited capacity. Masks required when ordering and while you’re up from your seats. Social distancing enforced.

3 Thanksgiving Wines 

Here are a few of Bel Lago’s favorite Thanksgiving wine pairings.

Auxerrois Brut
A savory combination of bright acidity and a creamy texture, Auxerrois (pronounced Awk – Sair – Wah) produces an aromatic sparkling wine with scents of bananas, dried figs, cloves and golden delicious apples on the nose. Notes of star fruit, redcurrant, gooseberry and jasmine meld with the velvety lees features of sourdough and anise. With plenty of fruit, acidity and structure, this dry sparkling wine is elegant and regal, pairs well with many bold flavors and serves as an excellent palate cleanser.

2017 Gewurztraminer
Grapefruit, lychee and rose petal rise off the glass of this classically aromatic varietal. White pepper rounds out its smooth structure and the floral, fruity and spicy elements of this wine make it the perfect compliment for the salty and bold flavors often found in gravy and stuffing, smoked flavors from turkey and sweeter vegetables like squash, pumpkin and corn.

2017 Pinot Noir
Turkey-friendly notes of sweet cherry and cranberry encounter warm oak with a spicy chili pepper undertone. Polished and delicate, this medium-bodied wine has soft tannins and enough acid to pair well with any dish on the table. A Thanksgiving must-have.

Photo(s) by Bel Lago