Old Mission Peninsula AVA

Explore Old Mission Peninsula, Michigan's cool-climate gem, where there’s a Riesling for everyone.

The Old Mission Peninsula AVA, established in 1987, is a slender strip of land that extends into Grand Traverse Bay, deriving its name from a Presbyterian mission founded in 1842.

Surrounded by water on three sides, the peninsula enjoys a near maritime climate courtesy of Lake Michigan's vast waters. This geographical advantage provides a moderating effect that is crucial for the area's viticulture. This means longer autumns, perfect for leaving grapes on the vine to fully ripen. That’s why we find some great Riesling here, made in all different styles; from bone dry to luscious Ice Wine, and even sparkling Riesling too.

Old Mission Peninsula is surrounded by water on three sides. Photo by Grand Traverse Vineyard

Geography and Climate:

This 19 mile (31 km) stretch of rolling hills occupies a pivotal position in the heart of the Grand Traverse Region. The Old Mission Peninsula's unique geography gives it an advantage of an extra long autumn and a nearly frost-free environment.

The presence of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay on three sides ensures moderate temperatures in the autumn and winter, which supports not only the iconic Riesling in all its forms but also allows for the flourishing of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. The sandy soils, enriched with limestone bedrock from glaciers long gone, impart distinctive minerality and acidity to the wines.

Viticulture and Winemaking:

Home to just 11 wineries, this peninsula is very much focused on high quality wines, especially Riesling. You’ll also find elegant Pinot Noir and restrained, subtle Chardonnay.

Quick Facts: