When the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2022 Best of Chic accolade winners were appear beforehand this year, the account was unsurprisingly abundant with vintners in California.
But there were additionally four Michigan wineries amid them — Ciccone Acreage & Winery for its Gewürztraminer, St. Julian Winery for its Braganini Reserve Traminette, Alcazar Chantal for its Amour rosé, and Aurora Cellars for its Grüner Veltliner. Dozens added from the Great Lakes Accompaniment took top awards in alone categories as well.
Now, it seems, the abstraction of Michigan wineries acceptable civic and all-embracing acceptance is not so shocking.
“Michigan wines are assuming up with babble reviews, gold medals, and ‘Best of’ lists added generally than anytime before,” says Dave Miller, accomplished admiral of the Michigan Wine Collaborative and buyer and winemaker at White Pine Winery in southwest Michigan.
For example, while absolute few wineries in the accompaniment action on-site accommodations, three Michigan destinations swept the top three spots in the 2021 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Country Hotel, in this order: Alcazar Chantal on the Old Mission Peninsula, Auberge Walloon in Walloon Lake, and the Inn at Black Star Farms on the Leelanau Peninsula. The others in the top 10 were in Oregon, California, Virginia, and Texas.
We set out to ascertain what it is that sets the three Michigan winners apart. Hint: Besides location, location, and location, all present a quiet ambush with categorical service, claimed touches, and admission to some of the best wines Michigan has to offer.
What makes a abode a home? Back it comes to Alcazar Chantal on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, it’s architect Bob Begin and his daughter, CEO Marie-Chantal Dalese.
A break actuality feels as if you are in their home. Back we accustomed at this 13-room bed-and-breakfast backward on a Sunday afternoon, 87-year-old Begin was auction accoutrements from his car anchored at the tasting allowance access and insisted on assuming us to the bed-and-breakfast access himself afterwards he buried abroad his purchases.
In our accommodation — two accommodation of awe-inspiring yet chaste abundance in a abatement green-driven palette with a couch and sitting area, a king-size bed, big-screen TVs in both rooms, and a bath with a jetted tub, not to acknowledgment across-the-board angle of the surrounding vineyards and basin — there was a laminated agenda that included Begin’s and Dalese’s corpuscle numbers in case of an burning need.
After check-in, we still had time to get to the tasting allowance afore it closed. We could accept enjoyed a tasting flight but instead absitively to begin a canteen of Alcazar Chantal’s Naughty white; B&B guests are offered a adulatory canteen of wine with their stay. We sat by the windows and took in the appearance as we decompressed, acumen how nice it acquainted to aloof be there and not accept to drive home after.
Chateau Chantal took aboriginal abode in the 2021 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Country Hotel. It additionally fabricated the Reader’s Digest 2021 account of the 25 Best Wineries in the U.S.
After the winery closes, B&B guests accept the run of the place. In the Accommodation Room, you can sit by the blaze and apprehend or comedy chess. Some guests booty chairs outdoors — there’s a patio and a terrace — to adore wine and the dusk over the baptize and vineyards.
If you appetite to buy a canteen of wine or bite afterwards hours, you can. It’s done by account arrangement — you aloof agenda it on a breadth provided at check-in and achieve up at the end.
Begin and his wife, Nadine — she anesthetized abroad in 2018 — purchased the 60-acre acreage in 1983. Today, there are 45 acreage of grapes on the property, and they acreage accession 60-plus acreage on Old Mission Peninsula. Grapes produced board Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Gewürztraminer, and specialty blends.
When the Begins buried their aboriginal accouterment in 1986, they set out to actualize a European-style winery chateau. “If you go to the Burgundy arena [of France], you may accept visited a alcazar breadth the ancestors lives there, you absorb the night, alcohol some wine from grapes appropriate alfresco the window,” Dalese says. “It’s that complete accommodation experience.”
A bounce affable chic is set for May 21 at Alcazar Chantal. June wine dinners are captivated Wednesdays and Saturdays alpha June 15, continuing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday in July and August. Jazz at Dusk runs every Thursday in July and August.
In the morning, we went to the dining allowance for the chef’s artfully argent breakfast of souffle, broiled potato hash, bacon, biscuit with raisins, beginning fruit, and toast. Afterwards breakfast, as he generally does, Begin offered guests a accommodation bout through massive assembly accommodation with huge animate drums and board barrels. He additionally showed off a new bottling arrangement from Italy that’s activity to accomplish it accessible to access assembly and aftermath sparkling wines on-site.
Chateau Chantal has 13 bedfellow accommodation — mostly suites and including one top-floor controlling accommodation with a abounding kitchen, assorted bedrooms, and amazing views. Allowance ante in-season ambit from $234 to $608 with best about $400; off-season ante are $220-$550 with best about $380. Alcazar Chantal, 15900 Rue De Vin, Traverse City; 231-223-4110; chateauchantal.com
An artisan asked to acrylic a ambience for an arcadian winery break ability not be able to brainstorm all of the capacity that accomplish Black Star Farms a one-of-a-kind destination.
There’s the country lane-like driveway arch down, around, and through the hillside vineyards. A country circuitous that includes a mansion-turned-inn, equestrian facility, wine cave, assembly building, and tasting room. A restaurant featuring locally sourced capacity that operates seasonally and for appropriate events. And beauteous sunsets.
The acreage abreast Suttons Bay breadth Black Star Farms sits was purchased in 1998 by Kerm and Sallie Campbell; 18 years later, their daughter, Sherri Campbell Fenton, abutting the business. Today, she oversees operations and all accommodation programs at the winery, which includes 180 acreage of vineyards on both Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas.
The Inn at Black Star Farms ranked third in the 2021 USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Country Hotel. It additionally took aboriginal abode in the 2020 USA Today list. In addition, Black Star was included in the Reader’s Digest 2021 account of the 25 Best Wineries in the U.S.
All stays at the acreage board a adulatory wine tasting in the tasting room. Besides sampling wines — we were abnormally alert with the Arcturos Pinot Blanc — we abstruse a accessible adumbration for canonizing already and for all how to accent Gewürztraminer from Tasting Allowance Administrator Chris Lopez. He said to aloof anticipate of “girls are meaner.” We’ll never forget.
The inn itself was originally a ancestors home — all 10,000 aboveboard anxiety of it. Our room, overlooking the admirable access hall, belonged to the aboriginal owner’s daughter. Alfresco the window was a appearance of a pergola and pinewood forest. Eight of 10 accommodation accept king-size beds; the inn additionally has three suites, including one that’s abnormally ill-fitted to families or a friends’ break that has an absorbed allowance with two accompanying beds.
New this year, Black Star is captivation Progressive Wine and Food Tastings May 11, 18, and 25. Black Star’s Bounce Arcturos Dining Series Dinner is May 13, with a arctic dupe augment theme. Appear June, attending for Acreage and Wine Tasting Tours, offered in accumulation architecture Mondays and Fridays at 11 a.m. and clandestine sessions by appointment.
Hospitality hour, additionally included in every stay, takes abode at Pegasus Lounge. It’s a bar that charcoal the aforementioned as it was back the aboriginal owners congenital it. There, Mitchell Myler, one of the innkeepers, served us a baby bowl with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and bootleg samosas from the kitchen of chef John Wojnarski, forth with a bottle of Arcturos Sur Lie Chardonnay. It’s a comfortable space, with a broiler and overstuffed appliance breadth guests can accumulate accidentally and mingle. There are additionally places to sit at the bar, breadth two of the seats are absolute saddles.
After a absolutely bashful night of beddy-bye — this is absolute quiet country — a beginning breakfast is served in the afresh adapted dining room. This one happened to be a yogurt parfait with granola that’s created on-site with Black Star adamantine cider, followed by a awe-inspiring banana-and-rum pancake aliment pudding topped with a creme anglaise fabricated with the winery’s own Sirius blooming ambrosia wine.
Guests who book brief anxiety at Black Star Farms can additionally align add-ons like bike touring, fat-tire biking, clandestine yoga instruction, picnics, clandestine dinners with wine bond opportunities, and more. Allowance ante are $390-$525 in aerial season, $275-$395 during the winter, and $310-$400 in May. Black Star Farms, 10844 E. Revold Road, Suttons Bay; 231-944-1270; blackstarfarms.com
It’s astounding — their chump account is above compare. It gets babble reviews from the minute guests airing in to the minute they leave.”
That’s Mary Ann Lippe, co-owner of Boyne Valley Vineyards abreast Petoskey, talking about Auberge Walloon in Walloon Lake. The winery and the auberge assignment carefully to alike visits for auberge guests who appetite to acquaintance the Petoskey Wine Arena with its 14 wineries during their stay.
Lippe’s comments adumbration at why. From the claimed greeting, sit-down check-in, and bout (featuring the address allowance with apparent broiler and auberge bar, the cartoon allowance with its Murano bottle chandelier, and a fettle room) to a acceptable bottle of wine and closing claimed addition to your room, it’s bright that this is no accustomed hotel. Every assemblage has a balustrade or a patio that sits anon on the hotel’s clandestine beach. There are additionally baiter slips.
Hotel Walloon came in additional in the 2021 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Wine Country Hotel. It took aboriginal abode in 2019 and was in the top bristles in 2020.
The marble bath floors are heated; there’s an cyberbanking “do not disturb” action in lieu of the acceptable assurance afraid over a doorknob. Soft apparel and slippers beg to be slipped into, as does the costly king-size bed. An alfresco hot tub functions year-round — it’s belted with bottle to action aegis from the wind off the lake.
“We are the alone abreast endemic auberge in arctic Michigan that does accept AAA diamonds, so with that we accept a akin of standards and account that are unmatched,” says Emily Jensen, sales and business manager. “It’s affectionate of a hidden gem oasis.”
Be abiding to acquiesce time to appointment bounded wineries, such as Petoskey Farms Acreage & Winery, Mackinaw Aisle Winery & Brewery, Walloon Basin Winery, and Resort Pike Cidery & Winery. For dining, there’s the Auberge Walloon-owned Barrel Back Restaurant for accomplished brewpub-style book and, for accomplished dining, the Walloon Basin Inn. Village Green Park, The Talcott accident venue, and several shops are additionally aural walking distance.
The Walloon Basin Inn offers Walloon Wine Time on its patio from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day, acclimate permitting, featuring wine pours and baby plates.
In fact, Jensen addendum that the hotel, congenital cast new in 2015 by Admirable Rapids-based developer Jonathan Borisch, was a agitator for development in Walloon Lake. It’s been a affection activity for Borisch. Afore he came on the scene, there was aloof a accepted abundance in the community. Now there are assorted businesses, some of them seasonal.
For breakfast, you’ll acquisition granolas and broiled appurtenances as able-bodied as specialty coffees, including lattes and cappuccinos. The auberge additionally offers candy through the day and hors d’oeuvres and ambrosia presentations against evening.
Hotel Walloon appearance 32 bedfellow accommodation — there are nine altered types in all, including suites with kitchenettes. Summer ante alpha at $400 per night and can run up to $1,300 for a suite. Winter ante are $200-$850. Auberge Walloon, 4127 N. M-75, Walloon Lake; 231-535-5000; hotelwalloon.com
An internet chase of “places to break in Michigan wine country” yields absolutely a continued account of links for aggregate from hotels to vacation rentals to bed-and-breakfasts.
Rebecca Harrison, who owns several vacation homes in abutting adjacency to southwest Michigan wineries, says she’s fabricated a point of announcement the rentals as wine-touring properties.
“We started [promoting wine tours in the advertisement headlines] apparently aural the aftermost four to bristles years,” Harrison says, answer that abounding of her renters appear accurately to appointment wineries. That’s decidedly accurate in the off-season, starting afterwards Labor Day.
“We get absolutely a few bodies that appear in either for girls’ getaways or a bachelorette party, accessible parties,” she says. “We additionally accomplice with Grape and Grain Tours — they accept tours to the wineries, you can set up your own tours, and they additionally accept clandestine tours.
“They accord our guests a discount, and they additionally will aces up and bead off at the abode so our guests don’t charge to drive.”
Also in southwest Michigan, Michigan Wine Aisle Cabins offers six tiny homes that can collectively board up to 18 people. Assorted added listings highlight adjacency to the region’s wineries.
In northwestern lower Michigan, Joni and John Sztykiel aloof purchased The Acreage Abode abreast Suttons Bay, which has been accessible for concise rentals. The $3.9 million, 9,000-square-foot home that sleeps 14 is in walking ambit to several wineries, is abutting to a 17-mile trail, and sits on 77 acreage — three of them a acreage — with its own in-ground acrimonious pool.
“It is gorgeous, aural a abbreviate drive from Detroit or Chicago,” Joni says, adding, “The land, the house, the vineyards, the baptize — the accomplished breadth is aloof amazing.”
Bonnie Modroo owns accession Airbnb rental, Chardonnay Shores, additionally amid in Leelanau County. With frontage on West Admirable Traverse Bay, the abode overlooks a vineyard.
“I would say 95 percent of our guests appointment the wineries,” Modroo says.
Find added listings at vrbo.com and airbnb.com. To chase for a B&B on or abreast a Michigan wine trail, appointment laketolake.com.
This adventure is from the May 2022 affair of Hour Detroit. Apprehend added belief in our agenda edition.
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