Toast The Season

Following the theme of Mondays post…another thing I’m not very good at lately is taking pictures. My scrap booking efforts are suffering greatly. As you may have read (in previous posts) a group of friends and I went wine tasting this weekend on the Leelanau Peninsula near Traverse City, MI. We participated in the wine trail tour event called Toast the Season. It’s holiday themed and you get an ornament in your goody bag.

Before we left the hotel on Saturday morning everyone made sure they had a camera. Between the 8 of us I’m sure we had at least 11 cameras…some actual cameras and some cell phone cameras. At every stop someone would exclaim “before we leave this stop we should get a group picture”, but by time we were ready to leave we all just climbed into the car and drove to the next destination.

The map lists the 20 wineries that are part of the Leelanau Peninsula Vinters Association which are all the wineries that participate in the wine trail events. On Saturday we traveled up the left side of the map starting at #20 Cherry Republic Winery. Cherry is one of our favorite wineries. All of their wines have cherries in the mix and they sell amazing cherry products. Our favorite is the Hot Cherry Salsa, we bring that to parties and people get addicted! Cherry Republic has a few stores around Michigan including one downtown Ann Arbor. If you are a fellow Cherry fan I have some really excited news…within the next few months the Ann Arbor location will being selling the wines and will have a complete tasting bar! Yay! Next we headed to #17 Chateau Fontaine,

At Chateau Fontaine we were treated to a premium pour and a pork tenderloin crustini. The wine was ok…I’m a fruity and sweet wine drinker and they served something dry. I’m starting to branch out in my pallet though…I love Gewurztraminer (just imagine a V where the W is when you say it) it’s German for spicy. After Fontaine we went to # 16 Good Harbor, #14 Verterra, and #15 Blustone. Blustone is new to the tour. The best part about this winery was the view! They built their tasting room on top of the hill so you can look out onto all the vines. Their Late Harvest Riesling was pretty good too!

Next we were off to #13 Gills Pier, #12 Good Neighbor Organic, and #8 45 North. We had yummy food sampling at all 3 with delicious wine pairings. Gills Pier is a great winery, they have something for almost everyone. They even sell cigars for the men! We tasted their White Water which was delicious, I believe we came home with a bottle. I’m usually a big fan of 45 North, but this year I was left a little less than impressed. They didn’t have many new wines to try and they were out of many of the varieties I enjoy.

We finished the day at Chateau De Leelanau. I like this winery because it’s a bit more relaxed than some of the others. We were served chili with our tasting. CDL also has a Mead and a Cider on their menu. We started our tour at about 11:30am and ended at 5pm. From there we went back to the hotel for some snacks and a little down time before dinner. We wanted to go to North Peak Brewery for dinner, but for 8 people the wait was 2.5 hours. Typically we only have 4 and have never had to wait that long. So we went downstairs to Kilkenny’s which is downstairs at North Peak. Our food was fine, but not much to choose from and our service was slow.

On Sunday we hit up the right side of the map starting at #11 Leelanau Cellars. This name should be familiar to most, their wine is distributed to many chain grocery stores. We love the wine at Leelanau Cellers because most of it…even their reds…are fruity and sweet. We ended up bringing a whole case of wine home from here. After LC we went to #9 Tandem Ciders where the boys played darts and ate pickled eggs (eeew!). Next we went to #7 Black Star Farms which is another favorite. We ended up with a half case from here as well! Then on to #6 L. Mawby.

L. Mawby only has sparkling wine. They offer about 10-12 selections in different levels of dryness and sweetness. After L. Mawby, we went to #4 Willow.  The best part about Willow is their view.

The tasting room is directly behind us. Their wine is okay, pretty dry. They had a delicious pumpkin desert that I will share with everyone when I make it! After Willow, we visited #2 Shady Lane Cellars and #1 Brengman Brothers. This year because of the funky weather Crain Hill Farms, where Brengman Brothers is located, wasn’t able to yield their usual crop of peaches. They make a very yummy peach wine, but unfortunately couldn’t this year due to the limited crops. I have a bottle in the basement I will continue to hoard until they can grow the peaches and make the wine again! After Brengman Brothers we made one final stop at #19 Longview Winery. We had some amazing Salmon Chowder…I wish I could have gotten the recipe! Also their dessert wine is delicious.

That pretty much sums up our trip. I wish I had more pictures to show, maybe next time we go I’ll remember to actually take pictures.  Then I could share individual posts about each winery instead of one big wordy post like this. Thanks for visiting!

This will be our next trip…I’ve started planning it already! I might even make some crafty invitations to send out!


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