On our last two trips to Traverse City, we’ve been fortunate enough to visit a few recently opened wineries. Our October 2014 trip found us at Hawthorne Vineyards on Old Mission Peninsula. We found ourselves back on Old Mission Peninsula at the newly launched Bonobo Winery earlier this month.
If you haven’t already heard, Bonobo Winery was founded by brothers and Traverse City natives, Todd and Carter Oosterhouse. It sits directly in the middle of Old Mission Peninsula, just a short drive from other wineries like Chateau Chantal.
Bonobo’s aim is to be approachable and unpretentious, yet refined. The tasting room and accompanying facilities are beautifully designed and tastefully furnished. A neutral color palette is surrounded with contemporary couches and chairs. Touches of rustic flare lend to a comfortable, homelike feel.
Outside, an expansive patio overlooks the vineyard with views of West Grand Traverse Bay in the distance. We applaud Bonobo’s vision to provide plenty of outdoor seating. In fact, retractable doors will make Bonobo a truly indoor/outdoor experience.
The staff was friendly and knowledgeable as we decided on glasses of Pinot Gris. We learned that 2 Lads Winery and Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery lent their production facilities to Bonobo before they were able to get their own production up-and-running. It was refreshing to learn of the comradery between local businesses.
Bonobo intends to appeal to tourists and locals alike. What makes them unique is that they stay open until 9 PM from Monday through Saturday, catering to locals who want a nice place to unwind in the evening. Wineries in the region typically close around 6 PM.
Their hope is to be both a neighborhood destination and a place where everyone can enjoy the beauty and splendor of Northern Michigan over a glass of wine. Based on our visit, we believe they hit the mark.
Bonobo Winery is located at 12011 Center Rd in Traverse City, Michigan.