Wineries prosper from warmer late winter

Unseasonably warm weather has caused more customers to visit Northern Michigan wineries than normal in late Winter.

LEELANEAU COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- The calendar may have just turned to March, but thanks to warmer-than-normal temperatures Northern Michigan wineries are getting a taste of the business they usually have to wait 'til Spring to see.

Late winter in Northern Michigan is usually accompanied by snow on the ground and cold wind in the air, but recent mild weekends with sunny, mid-40s days have allowed tourists to make a worry-free voyage North to shuffle from winery to winery a little earlier than normal.

"In recent weekends, we definitely have had clear roads, a lot of sunny weekend days," said Peter Root-Wiley, manager and assistant winemaker at Chateau de Leelaneau. "That's definitely attractive to a lot of people. So even though it's February, it almost feels like we're getting the traffic of early spring, which is great.

The smaller crowds this time of year enable visitors to have a more intimate wine-tasting experience.

"In the summer it's really busy. People are just tasting and you don't really get a chance to talk about the wines and things," Lily Richter, assistant tasting room manager at Shady Lane Cellars, said. "People that really like wine enjoy coming here in the winter because likely you'll have the tasting room to yourself, sit there and try everything and talk about it and learn about things."

A list of wineries in the Grand Traverse Bay Area can be found here.

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