Two Lads is one of the more recent additions to the Mission Peninsula wine region, founded in 2007 by two lads: Chris Baldyga, who grew up working in Mission Peninsula vineyards, and Cornel Olivier, who hails from the famed Stellenbosch winegrowing region of South Africa, where he built a reputation as a world-class winemaker.
The winery crafts wine from its own grapes, 23 acres planted on hillsides near the northern tip of the Mission Peninsula. The latitude and climate is quite similar to some of the famed winegrowing regions of Europe; Two Lads specializes in some of the same style cool-climate red wines and sparkling whites, too, including pinot noir, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and pinot gris. It’s somewhat of a departure for Michigan wineries, many of which have long focused on cherry-based and other sweet wines.
The tasting room and winery also take advantage of the fine site, with a modern and minimalist 10,500-square-foot facility near the crest of a high hill. The multi-level building allows Two Lads to use gravity-flow rather than a traditional pump-and-filter system to process its wine, a method that is more environmentally sustainable and is gentler on the wine. Visitors to the tasting room may be the biggest winners, sampling and sipping while soaking up views of Grand Traverse Bay through a grand wall of glass.