The second morning we awoke in Traverse City we made an arrangement with Tami’s daughter. We would do something she wanted to do and in exchange, she would have to be dragged off with us to Two Lads Winery.
“Bowling!” she shouted. “It could have been worse,” I thought to myself. Though I really suck at bowling.
After a few hours at the local bowling alley, we headed up the peninsula. It was breathtaking. Imagine a narrow strip of land covered in undulating hills lined with fruit orchards and vineyards, sloping down on both sides into indigo-blue waters. Way up near the tip, on a hill with sprawling views on all sides, is the modern building that is home to the 2 Lads Winery.
Tami had been here before. One of the owners, she told me, was an experienced South African wine maker who fell in love with the landscape of Northern Michigan and decided to stay.
Michigan may surprise you
I was not surprisingly skeptical. I have never sampled a Michigan wine worth paying for. Michigan wines tend to taste amateur. Like teenagers, they are rambunctious, unfocused and too big for their britches. You learn not to expect much and hope for their sakes they grow up to be respectable. Much the same way New Yorkers talk about wines from upstate New York, Michiganders buy Michigan wine out of obligation or solidarity.
Tami and I ordered different pours. She was in the mood for their sparkling Pinot Grigio. I asked for a glass of the Riesling. Because Michigan white wines tend to be sweet, I figured I might as well order a sweet wine instead of hoping for complexity I wasn’t going to get. We sampled our own and then each other’s. My Riesling was… dry! With hint of fruity sweetness. I yearned for some foie gras. Tami’s sparkling was also dry, with the same delicate fruit finish. Tami looked satisfied; I was impressed.
The cheese plate here is a paltry selection of the best they could find at the supermarket, though, so I recommend instead that you pack a picnic and take your wine outside on their big grassy hill.