Walter and Eileen Brys, proprietors of Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan, planted the first of 40,000 vines in 2001 and opened the doors of their tasting room in 2005. That 40-acre vineyard is just part of the 155 acres that makes up Brys Estate today.
The farm originally harvested cherries and apples, was historically successful, and was locally known to have good produce even when other area farms were suffering. The farm was active until the 1970's when all the fruit trees were removed. The land sat dormant until 2000 when the Brys family planted a cover crop to enrich the soils before the first planting of the grape vines in 2001.
Below the rolling hills, hidden by tree lines, a low-lying, 12-acre parcel of the Estate was deemed too cold to grow grapes and sat unused. So what were they to do with it? A visit to France was all the inspiration Walt and Eileen needed.
There, in French wine country, they saw great fields of lavender growing alongside the vineyards. The beauty and peacefulness of it all quickly convinced them to do the same on their own property. After careful research, they experimented with a test crop in 2013. The results were promising, and the Secret Garden garden-inspired gift shop opened in the summer of 2016. Today the garden is in full bloom and is managed by Walt and Eileen, and their daughter Katie.
We welcome visitors who want a respite from the hectic pace of daily life. A special place to relax and renew amid our area’s incredible natural beauty. Come experience it for yourself. Sip a glass of lavender lemonade on our patio. Wander amid the vibrant flowers. Or simply rest awhile on “picnic hill” and watch the world go by. We can't wait to share our piece of Heaven with you.