After a busy harvest season, things quiet down nicely at the wineries as the weather turns chilly. The tasting rooms that are buzzing with visitors through the summer and fall months are a bit more relaxed during the winter, offering plenty of time for savoring each taste and gleaning every bit of information from the knowledgeable tasting room attendants behind the counter. And while sitting on the patio in the summer is awesome, sipping wine by a roaring fire on a blustery day isn’t bad either.
Although the pace may be slower, the fun does not stop once the snow flies! Both of the Traverse City area’s beautiful wine trails host events throughout the winter.
One of the most popular events of the season from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula happens each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The Great Macaroni & Cheese Bakeoff is billed as a “comfort food extravaganza” that features area restaurants pairing inventive mac + cheese recipes with local wines. The event sells out every year, so be sure to get your tickets early! January brings the Winter Warm Up, following by Romancing the Riesling in February.
On the Leelanau Peninsula wine trail, Toast the Season spans the first two weekends in November and is sure to get you in the holiday spirit! Tour and taste at any of the trail’s 23 wineries where you will enjoy yummy food and wine pairings all along the way. Then in December, stock up on wine for holiday parties, gifts and yourself!
The winter months also bring a rare treat to Traverse City wine country. If Mother Nature cooperates, you might catch a glimpse of winemakers pressing grapes for ice wine – a high-end dessert wine produced from grapes that have frozen while still on the vine. The Traverse City area is one of the few wine regions that produce this specialty vintage. Cheers!