Shannon and I were up early while we were in Traverse City a few weeks ago; so early in fact, we ended up visiting a wonderful winery at 10am! I’d say that’s not too bad of a Friday morning. In fact, I think this blog would be much better if I had a glass of Chateau Chantal's Select Harvest Riesling wine while writing it- but alas, I think that may be frowned upon in the office. However, with or without wine, the blog must go on!
We pulled up to Chateau Chantal right at 10 am and were in automatic shock and awe just at the drive up to the parking lot. The name of the road to get up to the winery definitely held true to the drive up. Its name you ask? “Rue de Vin”, which means the road of wine. Endless rows of grape vines line the windy road up to the top of the hill where the winery sits. I found out later that the vines we passed were planted with Pino Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It was like something out of a movie- it was just how I imagined Italy looking- except I had to remind myself I was still in Michigan. After thinking it couldn’t get any better than that, we arrived in the parking lot, got out of the car, and just stood in silence for a minute. Every direction we looked we were surrounded by water. The east arm of the Grand Traverse Bay to our right and the west arm to our left. Chateau Chantal is perched right atop Old Mission Peninsula, and as I said before and will probably say it again and again throughout this blog, the view is absolutely breathtaking!
We finally made our way in to the tasting room and were instantly welcomed by the friendly staff. Apologizing for the “mess”, we quickly found out they were undergoing renovations to expand the tasting room. Liz, our wonderful tour guide and also the operations manager of the winery greeted us and took us on a fabulous tour of the whole facility.
We started in the tasting room, in which she mentioned again that they were currently in the final stages of expanding. We looked at the large tasting counter that stretched the whole length of the back wall with stacks and stacks of wine glasses waiting to be put away behind it. To our left was a large cooler with select cheeses and meats waiting to be purchased. There was also a large selection of retail items in the tasting room. Everything from wine stops, decorative wine glasses, and wine bottles filled with Christmas lights- they have it all. It was a gift shop junkies dream come true (which I definitely am)!
We made our way through the doors of the tasting room and into the bed and breakfast wing of the winery. There are 11 rooms to choose from. Each room is equipped with a whirlpool tub, high ceilings, and elegant furnishings. Every room offers an exceptional view of the vineyards or the surrounding water. The inn itself offers fireplaces and sitting areas. Each guest is served a complimentary ample breakfast everyday in the quaint and cozy dining area. It has all the amenities of a hotel, but the intimacy of a bed and breakfast- the perfect combo if you ask me J
Once we made it through the bead and breakfast, Liz took us down to the cellars so we could see where the wine is stored. HUGE stainless steel tanks of wine packed the basement cellar. Although there was no bottling going on the day we were visiting, Liz showed us exactly how it was done and the machine used to do the bottling. They bottle the wine in the spring and usually bottle about 15,000-20,000 cases per year. They produce 20 different kinds of wine and sell them in stores and on-site.
|View from the patio of the tasting room|
We made our way through one room of the cellar and into the newly added additional room. This room, although still being constructed, was massive. It was packed with hundreds of barrels ready to be used, and all new bottling, de-stemming and pressing equipment. As we made our way through the back hallways and stairwells, we ended up in the brand new tasting room. The final touches were being put on it as we were there, and I must say, it is absolutely beautiful. Large windows line the far wall and overlook the east arm of the Grand Traverse Bay. A circular counter is the focal point of the whole room. Placed in the center, this counter will be great for large tasting parties. There are large garage-like doors that open up into the old tasting room, so the whole area can be used and guests can move freely about. Attached to the new tasting room is a brand new patio. A huge area that overlooks the bay; it is an incredible spot for a small gathering or wedding. The grand opening of this area will be in May of 2011.
Chateau Chantal also hosts executive retreats. It is the perfect setting for mixing business with pleasure. Hi-speed wireless internet, digital AV equipment- paired with fireside conferences, catered wine dinners and mini-wine seminars, all make for the perfect setting.
|Conference and Meeting Room|
They also offer cooking classes twice a month, as well as tasting and tapas tours.
We had a fabulous time at Chateau Chantal and both agree we will definitely be going back to stay and taste! It is the perfect place for a weekend getaway with a loved one or an overnight stay to getaway from reality for a day. You cannot be bothered while perched atop one of the most beautiful vineyards you will ever see. Surrounded by wine and water, what can be better than that?
There is so much more I can rave about, but I just don’t have enough room. For more information check out our website for all of the winery’s event listings and deals. Chateau Chantal is located at 15900 Rue de Vin Traverse City, MI 49686.
Did I hear someone mention A wine tasting for six? Yes please!!
This week we are giving away a wine tasting tour at Chateau Chantal for SIX! This is the perfect getaway for you and a five of your friends. And since we are so excited about this giveaway we are going to keep it open for two weeks! We will be picking a winner on Wednesday December 23. All you have to do is tell us what your favorite kind of wine is and you will be entered to win!