Shady Lane Cellars
Why We Recommend
With new wineries populating this area every year, the rich history—not just the wine—of Shady Lane Cellars makes it stand out. Back in 1987, when the Michigan wine-scene was in its infancy, a neurosurgeon had a brilliant idea: to purchase a 100-year-old fruit farm and convert it into a boutique winery. This genius knew the old orchards held promise as vineyards, given the well-draining sandy soil and cool-climate altitude. He was right! What started as 11 acres of riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and vignoles vines, has sprawled today to 150 that produce award-winning wines and lasting memories.
Believe it or not, the lovely, current tasting room was once the property’s fieldstone chicken coop. It’s been transformed, updated with Italian tiling, granite and copper trimming, but the old charm of this place remains embedded it its DNA.
Even the new owner, Richard Fortune, is deeply committed to keeping the magic of this place alive. He had been visiting beautiful Leelanau County for 50 years before he set down roots of his own and began growing vines here.
The pulse of this place, located just 8 miles from Traverse City, is felt most in the beautiful outdoor seating area: a 34-foot, open-air tasting pavilion, decorated in warm earth tones. Visitors can relax in the spacious patio furniture and sip a glass beside the outdoor fireplace. There are always delicious snacks and often live music to enjoy. Every detail allows you to create a visceral experience.
Shady Lane Cellars exudes small-town, centennial-farm charm: guests often arrive by bicycle, utilizing the TART trail that runs along the property. And the bubbly staff makes visitors feel like fast friends.
The general manager, Rick DeBlasio, knows a thing or two about the power of a property’s history. He honed his skills at the nation’s largest privately owned home, the famed Biltmore in Asheville, NC. The 8,000-acre property is still in the Vanderbilt family after generations. DeBlasio brings his foodie expertise—think fig jam with your cheese plate—to Shady Lane. And speaking of food, locals love the popular Small Plates event, featuring mouth-watering gourmet tapas, with wine, of course.
Equally impressive to the wine selection here is the fact that this estate continues to be good stewards to the environment. Shady Lady is committed to utilizing farming practices that cause the lowest impact to the environment, helping to preserve the crystal-clear beauty of the Great Lakes.
So stop in to Shady Lane for a memory-making tasting. It’s time to make some history of your own.