A visit to Traverse City, Michigan just wouldn’t be complete without a tasting and tour at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery. Located on the 45th Parallel and on Old Mission Peninsula, covering a sprawling 91 acres and over 40,000 vines, Brys Estate is going to blow you away with their exceptional wine and beautiful grounds.
Walt and Eileen Brys purchased the 1980’s homestead that came with an old 80 acres of cherry orchards in 2000, and by 2004 had produced wine from 10,000 vines. Fast forward to today, the vineyard is thriving with over 40,000 vines and has become a hot destination for locals and visitors in Traverse City. Be prepared for a great day because not only is the vineyard stunning but the wine is amazing.
There are several wineries located on Old Mission Peninsula, but if you can only visit one, Brys Estate should be it.
Brys Estate Vineyard Grounds:
As you can imagine, 91 acres at Brys Estate Vineyards is quite large. In fact, 91 acres is 3,963,960 square feet. Of those 91 acres, only 40 of them make up the vineyard so the other 51 acres are being utilized for the tasting room, the private guest house on the grounds that is for rent, their home, the secret garden, the barn, and rolling hills.
Private Guest House:
The private guest house at Brys Estate is available for rent and easy to access on the property. When you first pull into the vineyard you pass the guest house on the left and you cant help but fall in love with it. The home is a former barn of the grounds that was converted into a “storybook home.”
This cute home offers 1,100 feet of generous living space over two floors, 2 bedrooms and 1 3/4 bathrooms. Inside the home you can see unparalleled views of the vineyards and East Grand Traverse Bay through the windows. If you enjoy sunrise views in the morning you’ll want to get up early because the wicker chairs and porch await you.
The house has 2 bedrooms with one offering a king size bed and the other offering 2 queens. Both bedrooms are on the top floor with a 1/2 bath so you will need to shower on the main level.
- Exclusive private use of the guest house
- Fully equipped kitchen features granite tops and stainless steel appliances
- 42 inch HDTV flat screen in great room with cable TV and DVD player
- Each bedroom includes a full size dresser, clothes closet, flat screen TV, alarm clock, luggage rack and 2 terry cloth robes
- Complimentary wireless internet access
- Complimentary wine tasting at the Brys Estate tasting room
- After the first night, a complimentary glass of wine in the tasting room is included for each adult guest for each additional paid night’s stay (additional $5 charge for premium wine selections)
- Central AC and heat
- Reverse osmosis purified drinking water system in kitchen
- Towels & linens
- Coffee, tea & creamer provided
- Ironing board & iron
- The following toiletries are provided for your convenience: handmade natural lavender soap, conditioning shampoo, makeup remover wipes and shower cap.
- Outdoor gas grill
- Outdoor furniture
- Washer & dryer with laundry detergent
- Winemaker Tour & Tasting with appetizers in our brick and mahogany cask room is available for $40 per person. Click here for more information on our winemaker tour & tasting experience.
**Brys Estate does not offer housekeeping because they want your stay to be private. However they will leave enough towels for you, so you will be settled.
The Secret Garden at Brys Estate
This is where the magic of Brys Estate lies. The 12 acres of this space were not suitable to grow grapes, so after some inspiration from France, Eileen and her two daughters came up with the concept of the secret garden. With over 6,000 lavender plants, newly planted sunflowers, strawberry/blueberry patch, and a herb garden, guests will fall in love.
The Farmhouse at Brys Estate Secret Garden has homemade lavender items for sale, a series of lavender lemonades and 5 flavors of Moomer’s Ice Cream. Moomer’s is an institution in Traverse City and there isn’t a better place place to enjoy their custom ice cream than Brys Estate.
With the tables outside, this is a great area for a picnic. You can see rolling vineyards and lavender.
Brys Estate Tasting Room
Brys Estate is easily one of the most beautiful wineries I have ever been to. The tasting room, upper deck and bridge included. When you walk into the wine room you will noticed the brick and mahogany immediately because its truly stunning. If you are not taking the Wine Wagon Tour, I highly recommend doing a tasting here or having a glass of wine. The tasting room exudes a decadence of grandeur that is worth enjoying.
Outside, Brys Estate has an upper deck to enjoy wine and food and a bridge that overlooks the vineyard. After touring the grounds, I strongly argue the bridge IS the best view of the entire 91 acres. So bring your camera for gorgeous shots of your own.
A wine tasting at Brys Estate is $8 dollars and you get to sample 5 wines. Each additional wine is $2 dollars.
On certain high season days, Brys Estate offers Progressive Wine Tastings for $10. This includes 5 wine tastings, a stemless souvenir glass and a self guided walking tour through the barrel room, production area and cask room. The area is not that big, so it is very easy to walk around and see everything.
Wine Wagon Tour and Tasting at Brys Estate
The wine wagon tour at Brys Estate is worth every cent, so plan on booking ahead for your visit. I did a wine tour with Erick and he truly made the experience engaging, educational and fun. Erick has been with Brys Estate for awhile and will tell you all the history of the land and transformations.
Once you board your seven seat passenger shuttle, you take off to explore five areas of the 91 acres of land for about two hours. Beginning with the starting point of the tasting room, Erick will give you your wine glass and you do your first tasting, and six more will follow over the next two hours.
During this tour of Brys Estate you will make stops at the Family Farmhouse, scenic overlook, the secret garden, Cabernet Franc Vineyard, and you will finish in the winery production areas.
You will be provided a light lunch when you arrive to the secret garden and have an outdoor picnic with your tour mates. The food was fantastic and Erick paired it with the 2016 Signature Rose Reserve.
At each stop Erick gives you a new wine to taste and talks about the area you have stopped in and the wine. Brys Estate is rich in history and the wine is sensational! In general I am not a fan of white wine so I usually do not drink it. However, every single wine that Erick poured was fantastic.
My favorite part of the tour is the secret garden. The lavender was already in bloom and it reminded me of Provence in France where a lot of people go to get their Instagram photos. It is nice to see a lavender field that is not filled with people. It was like our own little slide of paradise during our lunch.
Tip: If you do visit Brys Estate to see their lavender fields or newly growing sunflowers, be respectful. This is a business and you should not touch or ruin the growth. Don’t walk on the plants and be careful of the bees.
After a wonderful tour of Brys Estate and tasting seven great wines, Erick surprised on the bridge with froze! Froze is probably the best invention since individually sliced bread. Rose frozen into a slush is froze; so frozen rose. What a novel idea because it is one that people love.
Weddings at Brys Estate
Currently the local government does not allow Brys Estate to host weddings on the premises. However, you can have photos taken at the vineyard with advance notice. Here is a copy of the photo policy. Hopefully one day they will be able to hold weddings because it is a true gem in Traverse City.
Brys Estate Wine Club:
If you love the wine you had during your visit to Brys Estate, then joining the wine club is probably a good fit for you. Wine shipments that have been discounted and are made twice a year in April and November. If you live out of state, here is your chance to get the wine you love sent right to your home. Because you may not be able to find it locally.
Other benefits of being a member of the Brys Estate Wine Club:
- No charge to join! You pick what club level you would like to part of and that corresponds to number of bottles received, what kind and additional benefits.
- No monthly fees to join.
- 15-25% off wine.
- 10% off merchandise at Brys Estate.
- 10% off wine by the glass while at Brys Estate, cheese boards and wine accessories.
- Complimentary wine tastings for up to 4 guests depending on club level.
- VIP winery tour – not available on Saturday’s.
Even if you don’t live local or plan on visiting Brys Estate each year, you still benefit from joining their wine club because you will get discounted wine shipped to your home. Also, since you don’t have to pay a monthly fee or even a fee to join, you will not be paying for something you can’t have. I believe Brys Estate does this so that fans of their wine have access to it because otherwise they would just get wine elsewhere.
- Hours: Brys Estate is open at 11:00am each day and closes between 5:00pm-7:00pm each day depending on season
- Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day.
- Address: 3309 Blue Water Road Traverse City, MI 49686
- Phone: 231-223-9303
- Parking: available right in front of the tasting room.
- Pets: not allowed unless you have a service pet with proper documentation.
- Other lodging in Traverse City: Grand Traverse Resort
*Disclaimer: I was hosted by Brys Estate, but as always, opinions are my own.