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With bars in Traverse City and Bellaire writing lengthy pleas to the public to respect their employees, to refrain from cursing, spitting and worse, it was time to check in with Leelanau County’s wineries and see how they’ve managed the COVID-19 requirements of mask-wearing, distancing, sanitizing surfaces, and more.

Dan Matthies, proprietor of Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau (along with wife Lucie), still remembers the day over 30 years ago that he saw a tiny advertisement in the Leelanau Enterprise: “Looking for farmers to grow wine grapes.” Matthies and his wife had been fascinated with wine and the idea of wine making since they’d first tasted the beverage in the 1970s — but they’d never seriously considered the possibility that their land, acres upon acres of steep hills with south-facing slopes, would be an ideal spot for following the lead of wine maker Bernie Rink. Rink, a neighboring farmer who’d planted a test plot of French-American hybrid grapes as well as a few vinifera varieties on 16 acres of rolling Leelanau County land back in the mid 1960s, had debuted his Boskydel winery, the first winery to open in Leelanau County, in 1975.

The Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail carries on a great holiday tradition in Northern Michigan with the 2013 Toast the Season wine tour either of the first two weekends of November. Choose your weekend to tour the wineries of Leelanau — either Nov. 3-4 or 10-11. The tour is self guided and participants may visit member wineries each day in any order desired, between the hours of 11am to 5pm Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The 11th annual Harvest Stompede Vineyard Run & Walk and Wine Tour is a great way to experience the beauty of the Leelanau Wine Trail at harvest time, with local food pairings and wine from the exceptional 2011 vintage. The event takes place the weekend of Sept. 8-9 and is considered one of the most scenic running & wine touring events in the Midwest.

In this video, Leelanau Peninsula Vintners spokesperson Andy McFarlane and Dan Matthies of Chateau Fontaine promote the annual Sip & Savor event, which encourages tasters to visit all wineries in beautiful Leelanau County during the May 5-6 event.

The Spring Sip & Savor returns to the Leelanau Peninsula wine trail the weekend of May 5-6. This annual celebration features food and wine pairings at 19 wineries along with the “Sip-o de Mayo Hat Contest” — a chance to show off your best hat and win prizes including a fantastic getaway to Michigan’s Wine Coast.