Frequently Asked Questions
How much TIME should I allow for visiting and traveling to the wineries?
You should allow approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what activities you’d like to do, for visiting a winery. During our busier seasons (summer and fall) we suggest calling at least one week in advance for reservations with groups of 6+. Wine tasting is at your own leisure. Have a glass, enjoy the activities, and feel free to go at your own pace.
What do I do when I get to a winery?
When you arrive, feel free to explore. Taste, learn, savor, and enjoy. Learn about what each winery offers. Take in the sights and scents of the tasting rooms. You’ll be able to sample a variety of wines; helpful servers can assist with your selections. Many of our wineries offer wine by the glass as well as light bites so you can relax, enjoy and savor.
Do we need a designated driver?
When tasting at a leisurely pace, with breaks for food and water, an average sized person should not become impaired when wine tasting. If you plan to visit all or most of the wineries, or if you also partake in a glass of wine at the wineries we strongly encourage designated drivers. The region also offers several cab and shuttle services.
Do the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula charge for wine tasting?
Tasting costs vary at each winery. Click here for more information.
Are the wines discounted when purchased in quantity?
Many of our wineries do offer a quantity discount. Check with each winery individually.
Are children allowed in the tasting rooms?
Children are allowed and welcomed in our wineries. Some wineries offer special activities for kids and kid-friendly beverages. Please call to see what each winery offers.
Are pets allowed in the vineyards or tasting rooms?
Please check with each individual winery regarding possible outdoor pet areas for you to linger with your pet. Some of the vineyards are adjacent to private lawns where other guests will be walking; please be courteous and clean up after your pet. There are several natural areas and walking trails in the area which may be a better choice for a simple outdoor walk for your pet – clickfor a variety of maps. The wine tasting rooms at the vineyards have food licenses so, just like any restaurant or grocery store, the only animals allowed inside are service animals.
Do you offer GROUP TOURS that take passengers to the various wineries?
There is no shuttle service between the wineries. However, all are within about five miles of each other. The region does offer several cab and shuttle services.
Do you allow LARGE GROUPS?
Large groups are welcomed at each of our wineries. Please keep in mind that many wineries require you to make a reservation for groups of 8 or more. If you are arriving via bus, limo, or van you may wish to ask your driver to call for you.
Can I have a PRIVATE TASTING and/or tour for my group?
Several wineries do offer private tours and tastings to groups most of the year. Contact the individual wineries for specific information. Please note: fall is a busy time of year for our wineries because of the harvest. Private tasting/tour options may be limited at this time.
About The Trail
How long is the Old Mission Peninsula wine trail?
The Peninsula stretches north 19 miles to Grand Traverse Bay and is four miles wide at the broadest point. All ten of our wineries are within about five miles of each other.
Is it possible to BIKE to all or most of the wineries?
It’s possible to ride bikes between the wineries, but this would definitely be considered a challenging bike trip. There are numerous hills between the wineries, and many of the roads on the peninsula are high traffic. We care about the safety of bikers, and we caution that riding along the trail may be somewhat hazardous.
What else is there to do during our visit?
Old Mission Peninsula has numerous public beaches, walking trails, and parks available for visiting. It is also home to wonderful restaurants. Additional, endless indoor and outdoor activities await in popular and nearby Traverse City. Visit traversecity.com for ideas for every season!
What is the HISTORY of the wine trail?
The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula is a non-profit trade organization 501(C)(6) that includes ten wineries located on Old Mission Peninsula. The organization is dedicated to marketing the Old Mission Peninsula wineries and wine trail to tourists and visitors of the Traverse City area through collective advertising, branding, media relations, social media, and events. In 2001, five of the ten (current) partner wineries came together with a goal of bringing more people to their tasting rooms. Chateau Chantal, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Chateau Grand Traverse, Peninsula Cellars, and Brys Estate were the only wineries on the peninsula at the time. In May 2002, the group was officially registered as the Old Mission Wine Growers Association. Since then, the name changed to Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and eventually to the Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail.
Does the wine trail host events each year?
As an alternative to large single-day wine trail events hosted in years-past, you are invited to explore the scenic wine trail at your own pace. The annual Winter Flight Pass entitles you to exclusive tastings, discounts, and specials at each of the 10 wineries. Learn more here.
What makes this area ideal for growing grapes and wine making?
Our location near Lake Michigan and amidst East and West Grand Traverse Bays serves us well. The microclimate that is created by the surrounding waters has always made our region a great one for producing a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including grapes. These large bodies of water stay warmer into the fall, which prolongs the growing season. After winter’s retreat, the bays remain cool in spring, fending off damaging frost, which allows for optimal conditions for the grapes. While we are a cool climate, we have a long enough growing season and heat gain to ripen the Vinifera species of grapevine, allowing us to produce wonderful whites and reds.
Why don’t you make “X” (i.e. Zinfandel, Shiraz, etc.) type of wine?
This answer is closely attached to climate. At its simplest, what we do is farming. We are as much confined by what weather Mother Nature gives us as the farmers growing corn, apples, or other crops. Our area simply may not be seasonally warm enough, or our winter may be too harsh for certain grape varieties to survive.
When are grapes harvested?
Harvest time varies tremendously on the vineyard site and the type of grape and the type of wine being produced. Grapes used in sparkling wine (Champagne styles) are generally harvested first because sparkling wine requires less Brix (sugar levels) to produce. Sparkling wine grapes can be harvested as early as August in warm growing seasons, but usually in early September. Next up are the white wine grapes: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Dry Riesling, etc. These are typically harvested in September. Red wine grapes, because of our cooler climate, are usually harvested as late as possible in the season – late October into early November. Late Harvest Riesling (sweeter, so it needs higher Brix) is harvested late October into early November, as well. Ice Wine is harvested when the temperature is 15°F for three days in a row. Some years we experience this in December, some in January, and some, not at all.
How many grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine?
After years of being asked this question, a calculator was put to the task. Here are the “unscientific” results:
• 1 acre of grapes contains approximately 1,075 vines
• 1 vine contains 30-40 clusters
• 1 cluster contains about 130 grapes
• 4 clusters per pound
• 8,000 grape clusters per ton
• 1 ton yields approximately 170 gallons of finished juice
• Which yields about 72 cases or 864 bottles
• 1 case contains 2.37753 gallons
• Which means it takes approximately 111 clusters to yield a case or 9.25 clusters per bottle
• Which, at 130 grapes per cluster, means…
• It takes approximately 1,024 grapes to make a bottle of wine. Whew!
Can I buy a gift card for tastings?
There are currently no trail wide gift cards available but they can be purchased from individual wineries.
Do you donate to non-profit fundraisers?
All donation requests should be directed to individual wineries.