Preview of Bonobo Winery
Earlier this summer you may have noticed that we were in Michigan for a while. We started in Traverse City, then traveled southwest to Silver Lake, Holland then home. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken and we were only 7-ish hours from home. I cannot overstate the fact that Michigan is a very beautiful state. We mainly traveled up the coastline of Lake Michigan and in the last year we have made a similar trek 4 times.
A friend of mine that lives near Traverse City, Kirsten Kubert of Comfortably Domestic told me I just had to drive by a new winery that was being built on Old Mission Peninsula. I didn’t even know where that was so she set about to setting up a private tour for the two of us.
The day we got to TC Kirsten arrived at our hotel, Bay Shore Resort, to pick me up with the marketing director of Bonobo Winery– Heather Fortin. I knew I would have a great evening with these ladies on their home turf so I sat back and enjoyed the beautiful drive up the coastline of Old Mission Peninsula. The weather was noticeably cooler than where I had left that morning. There was almost a 20 degree difference as a matter or fact. Perfect for growing grapes.
On the way to Bonobo, Heather shared with us a bit of history of the owners- Traverse City natives Carter and Todd Oosterhouse, and the genesis of the winery concept. As brothers, Todd and Carter are united by many innate qualities: determination, creativity, thoroughness, and imagination. They intend to make world-class wines but with a business model inspired by the close harmony of traditions, philosophies and ecological integrity of the region. They will employ local residents and utilize local resources to create an ethereal experience that captivates all five senses with everything representative of Traverse City.
Heather and Kirsten gave me tips on wineries to hit or miss and places to eat along the way. Later you will read about where we went on that one day we spent on OMP, where we ate, where we swam and the bottles we brought home. For more resources on Michigan wine visit Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula.
What struck me on this evening trip was how beautiful the peninsula was from every angle. Look one way you see the expansive blue waters of Lake Michigan, look another you see Grand Traverse Bay. Rolling hills of grapes, hops, apple and cherry trees on every property. It looked like Heaven.
Bonobo will be large enough for large-scale gatherings, educational classes, music events and daily tastings. Right where we are standing (above) is the future location of the tasting bar. Every last detail has been planned from the local wood and stone used to how each window and doorway is situated where it can have the best view.
And that view….
It is as breathtaking as this photo shows. Our guide, Heather Fortin, is front and center in this photo wearing the denim jacket. Recognize the woman to her left? That is actress Amy Smart. She is married to Carter Oosterhouse.
Here we are on the stone terrace overlooking acres of grapes and Grand Traverse Bay. The breeze coming off the water was chilly that day, but this is why the grapes will grow well here. There are already generations of successful vintners in this area. The Oosterhouse’s are joining their ranks.
Here are a few more views of the property and the tiny buds I found on the grapevines. Remember, this was in June. Now- the grapes look like this:
I look forward to going back to Traverse City and I am already planning my next trip north. There is just something about being there and taking it all in. If you are a wine lover or even a lover of natural beauty- this is a trip you need to make.
I want to thank Kirsten for arranging this tour for me and Heather for taking the time to share this new winery with me. With her permission I borrowed a few of her photos to use in this post. The other ones, the lesser quality ones, are mine 🙂
Visit Bonobo Winery on facebook to get updates on their opening date and information on how you can join their wine club HERE.