Announcing 9 New Golden Palate® Wineries in Leelanau Peninsula Michigan!


At BluStone Vineyards in Lake Leelanau, Michigan.

  1. 45 North Vineyard & Winery:

Located squarely on the famed 45th parallel, 45 North uses its distinct location as the driving force behind its approach to crafting world-class wines that represent the region. Using grapes from estate and regional vineyards, everything is hand-crafted on-site with the ultimate goal of producing the most approachable, elegant wines possible. Aside from red and white varietals, they also make a variety of fruit wines sourced from locally-grown fruits like peaches and strawberries as well as experimental dessert wines such as 45 Gold, a bourbon-barrel-aged apricot wine. The rustic, post-and-beam barn nestled in the trees next to the vineyard sets the scene for an unforgettable tasting experience accompanied by warm-weather activities like bocce ball and live music, and cross-country skiing during the winter.


45 North Vineyard & Winery

8580 E. Horn Road

Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

2.  Aurora Cellars:

Aurora Cellars is a full production boutique winery with old world charm nestled in the heart of the Leelanau Peninsula. Enjoy award-winning wines from grapes grown throughout the peninsula along with epicurean small plates sourced locally to complement your wine tasting experience. Aurora Cellars is known for its welcoming atmosphere and knowledgeable staff. This ensures the rich treasures of this Estate can be savored and enjoyed in our European styled tasting room or on the patio overlooking the vineyard with a picturesque vista! The Estate transcends into the perfect setting for weddings and specials events of all kinds.


Aurora Cellars

7788 E. Horn Road

Lake Leelanau, MI 49653


3.  Black Star Farms:

Black Star Farms is a true one-of-a-kind destination with 2 wineries, 3 tasting rooms, luxury Inn, cafe, stables and event venues. Nestled among the gorgeous rolling hills of the Leelanau Peninsula, Black Star Farms was founded in 1998 in Suttons Bay, MI. Originally Sport Valley Farm, the 160-acre equestrian facility, known for its palatial red estate house, has now become a luxurious wine lovers retreat for many guests, and sits in the heart of Michigan Wine Country. With a hillside vineyard that welcomes guest upon arrival, the estate today features a palatial Inn, award-winning winery and tasting room, a distillery, cafe, stables, barns, outlying paddocks, and hiking trails, as well as a tasting room in Traverse City and a sister property on Old Mission Peninsula.

Black Star Farms

10844 E. Revold Road
Suttons Bay, MI


4.  BluStone Vineyards: started 20 years ago when the family visited Leland  for the first time. The simplicity and beauty of the “tucked away” secret that is Leelanau has always been what they treasure most about the area. There is a connection to the land found only here amongst the lakes, dunes, hills, and sunlit fields and their dream to start Blustone was born from that. The namesake is reflective of that connection and the celebration of life which we hope to inspire with every sip of wine.

BluStone Vineyards

Tasting Room

780 N. Sylt Road
Lake Leelanau, MI 49653


BluStone Vineyards (Above), Boat House Vineyards (Below)

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Fred Bollaci with Dave Albert of Boat House Vineyards.

5.  Boat House Vineyards’ hand-crafted wines are made with care from grapes grown in family-owned vineyard located in the heart of Leelanau County. From award winning “Dry Dock” Riesling (Best-in-Class in 2015 Michigan Wines Competition), Semi-Sweet Riesling (Double-Gold Winner at 2015 Finger Lakes Wine Competition) or “Northern Lights” Sweet Riesling (Double-Gold Winner at 2015 Michigan Wines Competition), to the 2012 Pinot Noir, awarded a “Best in Class” at the Pacific RIM wine competition or our increasingly popular Boathouse Red or Cabernet Franc, this dedicated family-owned winery prides itself on delivering wines they hope you enjoy our wines as much as they do.

The tasting room is located on M-204 at the bridge in the Village of Lake Leelanau along the beautiful Lake Leelanau Narrows.

Dave and Jane Albert were introduced to Leelanau County in the late 1980’s when they stayed at Fountain Point Resort on South Lake Leelanau. They fell in love with the beauty of the area and its wines as they vacationed annually at Fountain Point. When Dave retired from the automotive industry in 2004, they moved to Leland.

Dave began pursuing a career in the wine industry partially due to his and Jane’s love of wine and because of their desire to build a small business dedicated to producing high quality wines (in particular, high quality red wines) from vineyards that they owned and nurtured. After working in a local Vineyard and Winery for 6 months, Dave decided to “start from scratch” and purchased farmland they knew was ideal for growing grapes with its North-South slope high up in the rolling hills of Leelanau County. They now have 21 acres of predominatly (99%) Vinfiera with half the acreage devoted to red varietals (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot).

Boat House Vineyards

115 St. Mary’s Street

Lake Leelanau, Michigan 49653

6.  Chateau Fontaine:


Getting its French title from proprietor Lucie Matthies’ middle name and paying homage to the French immigrants who settled in the area, Chateau Fontaine was a deserted potato farm and cow pasture when Dan Matthies discovered the property in the 1970’s with its favorable south-facing slopes for growing grapes. Today, the cow pasture is one of three vineyards totaling 30 acres of grapes, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, among others.

Chateau Fontaine Vineyard & Winery

2290 S. French Road
Lake Leelanau, MI

7.  Good Harbor Vineyards:

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The Simpson family first planted their roots on the Leelanau Peninsula in the cherry industry back in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when John Simpson sent his son, Bruce Simpson to attend the University of California Davis to learn about viticulture and oenology, that the thought of planting vineyards was considered. Following Bruce’s return from the University, vineyards were planted and Good Harbor Vineyards was opened in 1980 by Bruce and his wife Debbie. Good Harbor was the fourth winery established on the Leelanau Peninsula. Today the winery has 70 acres of vineyard and manages hundreds of acres around the peninsula as well. The winery is now operated by the second generation, siblings Sam and Taylor Simpson, with hopes of continuing the family legacy and helping with the growth of the Michigan wine industry.

Good Harbor Vineyards

34 S. Manitou Trail

Lake Leelanau, MI 49653


8.  Green Bird Cellars & Organic Farms:

The vineyard, the orchard, the farm animals, the wildlife, the forest, and our families are all one living organism that make up this organic farm. Enjoy a variety of wines, hard ciders, and spirits, at this favored hangout of part-time local, Mario Batali, the northernmost winery on Leelanau!

Green Bird Cellars

9825 E. Engles Road
Northport, MI


9.  Verterra Winery:


Verterra’s interest in wine came quite naturally, just like it does for most people, a cool, bright Riesling on a warm afternoon, a mammoth California Zinfandel with a pile of BBQ Ribs, and pretty much everything in-between. Wines are so enjoyable for their wonderful flavors, an enhancement to a fine meal, and for their ability to provide a common interest for friends and family, and to provide a sense of terroir or location.

After many years of exploring, consuming, and talking about fine wine, a natural curiosity began to take form. How can such fresh vibrancy, power, and elegance emerge from dark, twisted, gnarled vines often grown under harsh conditions?

The northern Leelanau Peninsula of Michigan area is proving to be ideal for world-class white wine growing. The public has displayed a tremendous, growing thirst for quality wines from Michigan. As their life savings were just sitting there in the bank, the family decided why not go scatter it over the lush green hills of Leelanau County? Thus, the name, Verterra (Green Land).

Verterra’s goal is simple. Begin with high, sloped property with the right soil types. Then, plant the varietals, clones and rootstocks that have proven to produce great fruit.

Next, plant and farm these grapes with an eye towards the highest possible quality and sustainability. Visit the tasting room in Leland, across from Fishtown, and perhaps pick up some smoked white fish at Carlson’s or a sandwich at the Village Cheese Shanty and bring them in for a tasting and enjoy a couple glasses with a picnic lunch!

Verterra Winery

103 E. River Street
Leland, MI 49654

About Fred Bollaci

I'm CEO and President of Fred Bollaci Enterprises. I lost more than 100 pounds while living "La Dolce Vita" and I'm now known as "The Healthy Gourmet." Sample the good life with me through fitness, fine food, and good wine. Meet chefs who cater to a healthy gourmet lifestyle through my Golden Palate blog.
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