Fall is the Season of the Grape! From the middle of September until the first week of November, the water-warmed slopes around Traverse City yield up fat dark clusters of grapes that are destined to be tomorrow’s Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinot Grigios. And since the wine harvest takes place at the peak of Northern Michigan’s fall color season, an autumn visit to the Traverse City area is a splendid way to pamper the eye and the palate at the same time.
Many of the wineries of the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas boast awe-inspiring hilltop settings that have made them attractions in their own right. Autumn's misty mornings, clear nights and long golden afternoons are heightened when you're standing on a hilltop terrace sipping a glass of crisp Chardonnay and gazing at the gold and scarlet hills.
Tour on your own, or take advantage of the many local tasting events held in the fall -- from the Harvest Stompede and the Hunt for the Reds of October on the Leelanau Peninsula to the Great Mac & Cheese Bake-Off on the Old Mission Peninsula, choose a "wine trail" event that fits your schedule.