Leelanau Peninsula AVA

Explore Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan's cool-climate gem, famed for its diverse wines, including vibrant Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.

Leelanau Peninsula AVA, nestled in northwest Michigan's Lower Peninsula, is celebrated for its cool-climate viticulture. Sitting at the same latitude as Bordeaux (45 degrees north), this is definitely one of the shining stars in Michigan.

Established in 1982 over 75,000 acres with 1,000 acres dedicated to Vitis vinifera, it's recognized for its glacial soils and Lake Michigan's moderating effects.

Stretching 21 miles (34 km) north to south, this unique terroir supports a variety of grapes, producing wines noted for their vibrant acidity and complexity. Recently, Gamay has emerged as a rising star, alongside traditional favorites such as Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Noir.

Aerial views of Verterra Winery in the Leelanau Peninsula.

Geography and Climate:

Encircled by Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay, Leelanau's microclimate benefits from the Lake Effect which extends the growing season and offers frost protection, enabling growers to produce a wide range of styles.

The peninsula's rolling hills, sandy loams, and glacial deposits provide great drainage for the vineyards but also help accentuate the aromatics of the grapes planted there. You can expect intense and complex wines with lovely concentration.

Viticulture and Winemaking:

Home to 25 wineries, Leelanau Peninsula underscores its dedication to terroir-driven wines. The region's well-drained sandy loam soils are perfect for growing key varieties such as Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. This versatility allows for a broad spectrum of wines, from dry to sweet. still to sparkling, rosé, red, and white.

Quick Facts:
  • Major Varieties: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir
  • Vineyard acres: 1032 acres (405 hectares)
  • Established: 1982
  • 2nd largest producer of wine in Michigan but is the 2nd smallest AVA in the state.
  • Highest point on the peninsula is 1165 feet (355 m)
  • Leelanau also has 30% of the state’s cherry trees.
  • Annual Rainfall: 30 inches (762 mm)
  • There are 25 wineries in Leelanau Peninsula.


Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Federal Registrar

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