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Brewvine: Learn About Making Wine and Growing Grapes at Aurora Cellars

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to make a bottle of wine or wanted to know more about growing grapes in northern Michigan, Aurora Cellars in Leelanau County has a special tour just for you.

Whitney Amann and chief photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take us to the winery to check out their newest educational experience.

“We certainly encourage them to walk through the vineyards, learn a bit more about Michigan wine, about the Aurora brand, and then come taste the wine themselves,” said Taylor Simpson, co-owner of Aurora Cellars.

There is plenty to taste at Aurora Cellars, and even more to learn about what it takes to make their beautiful wines.

To help their guests get a better understanding of what goes into each bottle, they started offering a special tour.

“We have launched our self-guided vineyard walking tour, which we welcome guests to enjoy when they’re here,” said Simpson. “It’s about a 15 to 20 minute walk in total, and what guests can do is they have a number of stops, I believe it’s about five. At each stop, they can scan a QR code and then they get to watch a video hosted by the winemaker that is going to teach them a bit about the property and Michigan wine, what grapes are growing here and all different aspects of making wine in Aurora.”

Right now is the perfect time to venture through the vines and watch the grapes and the fall leaves change color.

“It’s a special section of vineyard that we allow the guests to walk through,” Simpson explained. “And this time of year is perfect because the fruit is just about ready to harvest / Although the reds we won’t harvest until end of October/ beginning of November. But it’s gorgeous. It’s definitely guests are going to want to come out and learn a bit about the brand and the property and Michigan Wine and probably also take some photos.”

The tour is open during the cellar’s tasting room hours and is an added layer of entertainment and education for Aurora’s wandering wine-lovers.

“We wanted to give the guests a different, more interactive experience, because people can read about the vineyards, they can read about a property,” said Simpson. “But until you actually walk through it, you see the vines up close. You look at the property, you learn about the dirt and the soil that’s underneath those vines. I don’t know that you truly understand it as well/ so this is a way for guests to connect a bit more to the viticulture and the farming that is taking place here.”