The taste of wine is an expression of place. On the surface, it’s the varietals of grapes that provide the expectation of flavour in each bottle. But on a deeper level, it’s the unique characteristics of the soil and microclimate where grapes are grown, paired with winemaking techniques that nurture each release into their distinctive vintages.
In Traverse City, wine is grown in a pretty great place. As the fifth largest wine producer in the United States, and a mere three-hour drive from Sault Ste. Marie, the Cherry Capital yields some of the most renowned wines in the country.
To celebrate Michigan Wine Month and the release of new wines in Michigan wine country, Traverse City hosts Traverse City Uncorked, a month-long event in May filled with social wine tastings, lively winery events, and discounted lodging packages.
Traverse City Uncorked is for everyone (of legal drinking age) and is a great opportunity to explore what the Travel Channel calls one of The New Top 10 Cities for Wine Snobs. Two Traverse City Uncorked signature events include Blossom Day with the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and Spring Sip and Savor on the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.
Whether you’re new to wine or an experienced taster, wine tasting events offer a fun, social way to learn about different varietals, discover new favourites, or find out what grapes you should steer clear of in the future.
Feel a bit intimidated about wine tasting?
Use this list of simple wine tasting tips to prepare for Traverse City Uncorked and enter any tasting room with confidence:
Taste wine like a pro in four steps:
- Look: Hold your glass up and check out the colour and clarity of the wine. Is it cloudy or clear? What kind of red is it? How do think these different shades will correlate with the taste of the wine?
- Swirl: Swirl the wine in your glass to expose it to more oxygen. This will help the wine “open up” and release the aromas that will give you a first impression of the wine.
- Smell: Bring the glass up to your nose for a second impression. Don’t rush it. What are you smelling? Dark fruit? Chocolate? Petrol? A freshly opened can of tennis balls? It could be any scent in your unique experience. Note: Traverse City wines tend to be fruit-forward.
- Drink: Sip it. Roll the wine around in your mouth and pick out the different flavours as it rebounds off the inside of your cheeks. Swallow and breathe out. Does the flavour stay in your mouth or disappear quickly? This is the finish of the wine.
Your host and their staff will know everything about the wine you’re tasting. So ask them questions and gain some context about what you’re sipping on.
Have an opinion
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers in wine tasting. Share your thoughts and listen to what others are experiencing. This is part of the fun.
Try something new
Wine tasting is about discovery. Don’t just stick with what you know. Be open to tasting a variety of wines and leave any misconceptions at the door. Hey, you might just stumble on your new favourite wine.
Start planning your Traverse City Uncorked experience
Celebrate Michigan Wine Month and start planning your Traverse City Uncorked experience here. The Traverse City Uncorked packages offer discounts on lodging plus gift certificates along with a “Super Ticket” redeemable for one pour each, for two people, per Traverse Wine Coast winery.