Founded by Traverse City natives Sam Porter and Abby Walton Porter, Porterhouse Productions operates several festivals and special events in the northern Michigan region. The company has run the annual Microbrew & Music Festival, an Evening with Mario Batali, and other recreational events, from concerts to culinary events.
Casks of award-winning vintages tempt guests at Bowers Harbor Vineyards, which earned Best of Class for its 2007 Cabernet Franc at the 2010 Michigan Wine & Spirits Competition, among multiple other awards and pleasantly slurred compliments. Surrounded by verdant hills near the lapping tongue of Lake Michigan, Proprietor Spencer Stegenga oversees the harvest, fermentation, and self-defense training of a delicious range of reds, whites, and sparkling wines, as well as hard cider. Visiting sippers can silence their thirstily jabbering tongues with Bowers’ signature reds—the 2896 blend of merlot and cabernet franc, touched with a bit of cabernet sauvignon, or the Meritage blend, whose soft tannins create a smoothly quaffable mouthful. Or try the 2009 Rosé, redolent with the flavors of flowers, berries, and wine.
Two Lads Winery's grape-laden, sustainably farmed fields yield 11 wines in a variety of vintages, with a focus on dry reds and sparkling wines. The 1.5–2 hour visit starts with a tour of the 58-acre hilltop complex, during which guides explain the wine-making process using diagrams painted by children, before the tour moves to the 22-acre vineyard, where the grape connoisseurs teach about grape varieties and grape-milking techniques.
On any given day, you might spot a chauffeured van winding its way through the rolling hills of the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas. Chances are good that it belongs to Grand Traverse Tours, whose guides use luxury Mercedes Sprinters as well as other vehicles to ferry passengers between the area?s wineries, breweries, and distilleries. At each stop, passengers sample the spirits, learning about the process of transforming grapes and grains into alcohol in the process. In addition to engaging the taste buds, the tours also delight the eyes, with typical views incorporating lush vineyards, sparkling waters, and long stretches of open road. Tour stops may vary and rotate seasonally, but possible venues may include those listed here.