Traverse City is situated directly on the 45th parallel – halfway between the North Pole and the Equator – which is the same locale as the famous wine regions of France and Italy. The area’s two wine trails are located on the picturesque Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas – both of which stretch out into the sapphire blue waters of Lake Michigan.
Fall is an especially popular time at the vineyards and tasting rooms. The vines are heavy with fruit, ripe for the picking, and the air is heavy with fruity goodness (not to mention a fair amount of honey bees and fruit flies!) Visitors can often see the grapes being pressed into wine during their autumn tasting tour, and the spectacular fall color on the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas rolling hills is beyond breathtaking.
The vineyards and tasting rooms are still abuzz with visitors straight through mid- to late-October, and the wine trails plan plenty of events to celebrate harvest time. On the Leelanau Peninsula, the annual Harvest Stompede is held in mid-September and features a unique walk and/or run through the vineyards, followed by a self-guided wine tour, complete with local food pairings. The aptly named Hunt for The Reds of October features (what else?) local reds including Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Francs and Merlots. The event also benefits the local chapter of the American Red Cross.