Janice and I took a short trip up to Traverse City to pick up delivery of some wine that we purchased for our distribution unit, Evanston Cellars. For those of you that do not know, Evanston Cellars distributes wines to about 25 retailers around Chicago and we are growing that side of our business as well as the Windy City Tour Company.
Traverse City is, in my mind, the leading wine region of the Midwest. With two appellations (Old Mission and Leelanau), there are at least 40 wineries in the area and the number keeps growing. Most specialize in aromatic white wines such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurtztraminer, and Auxerious but there are some nice reds being made as well from Pinot Noir and some French American hybrids such as Foch and Chambourcin.
We had a wonderful two days driving around Leelanau and catching up with some of the wineries that have over time become our favorites. These include L Mawby (specializing in sparkling wine), Good Harbor (run by the Taylor family), and the Brengman Brothers (a real favorite making wine that is not manipulated in any way).
We also enjoyed two wonderful dinners. One at Trattoria Stella and the other at a new place called Alliance. Both meals were spectacular and showed the impact that catering to a discerning tourist market can create in the culinary offerings. Both restaurants also offered local wines in addition to wines from CA and the Old World.
We can't wait until our next visit so that we can enjoy another round of great food and revisit the wineries we enjoy on the Old Mission penninsula!