Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Grand Rapids International Food and Wine Festival

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year……The third annual Grand Rapids International Food and Wine Festival is next week: Thursday Nov. 18th (5 pm – 9pm), Friday Nov. 19 (3pm – 9pm), and Saturday Nov. 20 (12pm – 9 pm). If you have not been to this pre-holiday event yet – it is a must. If you have, well…..I will see you there! It is expected to draw some 10,000+ individuals throughout the three days, making it the largest food and wine festival in the state and one of the premier events of its kind in the Midwest.

I’ve attended both of the prior years; I can attest to the fun. DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids turns into a food and beverage connoisseur’s dream. And, even a novice’s dream. There are seminars, wine, beer and food tastings, and food and wine pairings. This year will feature a Craft Brew Hall and the Riverfront Market will include more booths.

Admission to the festival is $15 per person and it includes a sampling glass and the official program as well as the seminars and food workshops. The food and wine pairings are an additional cost. The sample tickets are $0.50 and are redeemed at the tasting booths.

Here’s what is on my calendar:

Thursday 6:00: Homegrown Thanksgiving...Cooking with Foods Grown Locally Presented by Sue Chef, Host of Get Fresh with Sue Chef TV Show. My favorite topic – local food.

Friday 6:00: Celebrate the Season with Michigan Sparkling Wines Presented by Larry Mawby, L. Mawby Vineyards. We visit his winery when we are in Northern Michigan and celebrate New Year’s Eve with his Talismon sparkling wine.

Saturday 5:00: Craft Beer Seminar - What's Inside Counts by Casey Baxter, Arcadia Brewing Company. This brewery in Battle Creek, MI is one our finest in Michigan.

Visit the Festival website.

And, read my facebook and blog posts about the event.

Many Michigan producers will be there!

BEER - In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation. All breweries below are located in the new Michigan Craft Beer Hall, sponsored by the Michigan Brewers Guild, found in the south end of the Steelcase Ballroom. While there, enjoy the music of Really Keely who will be performing from 5:30-8:30pm on Thursday, 6-9pm on Friday and 1-4pm and 5-8pm on Saturday.

• Arbor Brewing ( Ranked by Brew Pub Magazine for the "Best Brewing in the Midwest,” with a home base in Ann Arbor.
• Arcadia Ales ( Stop by to sample these Celtic-style beers in booth #240.
• Atwater ( Located in Detroit’s historic Rivertown district since 1997, but boasting a true German-lager style brewing process that is over 200 years old.
• Darkhorse ( This micro-brewery and tap room is located in Marshall, where they brew a variety of beers and beer styles.
• Detroit Brewing ( Based in the Motor City, featuring a variety of beers.
• Founders Brewing Company ( Focusing their efforts to one simple pursuit…ignore mainstream and make the beers they want to drink. Made locally in Grand Rapids.
• Frankenmuth Brewery ( Located in Little Bavaria, you’ll find the finest German-style beers for tasting in booth #240.
• New Holland Brewing ( Makers of award-winning beers, hard cider and the newly released Artisan Spirits. You’ll find “Art in Fermented Form” worth a visit to booth #194.
• North Peak Beer ( Stop by and check out the great retro stubbie bottles of Siren, Vicious, ArchAngel, Diabolical, and Majestic – all made in Traverse City.
• Saugatuck Brewing (
• Short’s Brewery ( House-made beers like Pandemonium Pale, Huma Lupa Licious IPA, Bellaire Brown Ale, and Soft Parade will be available for sampling in booth #262.
• Tri Cities Brewing ( Taking its name from the three cities – Bay City, Saginaw and Midland – collectively known as the Tri-Cities. Stop by booth #248 for samples.
• Wolverine Brewing ( A brewer of premium lagers, based in Ann Arbor.

SPIRITS - Michigan boasts 11 licensed artisan distilleries producing top-notch vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, brandy, and au de vie from agricultural commodities such as rye, grapes, wheat and various locally-grow fruits.

• Grand Traverse Distillery ( Michigan’s first hand-crafted vodka micro-distillery will offer samples of its three award-winning flavors in booth #22.
• Valentine Vodka ( Detroit’s first micro-distillery since Prohibition, this spirit is handcrafted in small batches from a proprietary blend of Midwestern grains. Taste it at booth #36.

WINE - Wine, grapes, grape juice products, and related industries contributes $790 million of total economic value to the State of Michigan.

• Bel Lago ( Sample wines made from grapes grown in family-owned vineyards overlooking Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan, in booth #30.
• Black Star Farms ( Operating wineries on both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, as well as a tasting room at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Visit them in booth #26.
• Bowers Harbor Vineyard ( Situated along the 45th Parallel, this family-run winery produces cool climate Old Mission Peninsula wines. Sample the fruits of their labor in booth #45.
• Cascade Winery ( Calling Grand Rapids home, you can “make your own” wine – with Michigan fruit – at this winery. Find out more by visiting booth #24.
• Chateau Chantal ( Perched atop a bluff on Old Mission Peninsula, this winery B&B will be sampling some great holiday and reserve wines from booth #44.
• Chateau Grand Traverse ( As one of Michigan’s largest wine producers, you’ll find a wide variety of wines worth exploring at booth #43.
• Circa Estate Winery ( Michigan’s newest winery on Leelanau Peninsula will offer up its newly released wines in booth #25.
• Contessa Winery ( A third generation winemaker operates this Coloma winery, part of the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. Check out the wines in booth #143.
• Domaine Berrien Cellars ( Established in 2001 and committed to hand-crafting high quality estate bottled wines from the grapes grown in the vineyards. Visit them in booth #143.
• Douglas Valley ( Michigan’s first organic vineyard community can be found in Manistee, on a 640-acre historic fruit farm. Sample the fruits of their labor in booth #23.
• Fenn Valley ( You’ll find a wide variety of wines to sample from Allegan County’s only winery, including their 42 Ice Wine, by stopping by booth #33.
• Founders Wine Cellar ( New in 2009 in the Lake Michigan Shore appellation, you can sample these wines in booth #49.
• Good Harbor ( Producing many of Michigan's finest wines and champagnes in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sample these fine wines in booth #29.
• Hickory Creek ( Creating world-class wines from grapes grown exclusively on Lake Michigan's eastern shore in booth #143.
• L. Mawby ( Known as the premier sparkling wine maker in the state, and one of the top in the country, attendees are encouraged to ask for SEX when visiting booth #27.
• Leelanau Wine Cellars ( Sporting a new tasting room on Grand Traverse Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula, you’ll find award-winning wines (including fruit wines) in booth #133.
• Left Foot Charley ( Housed in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, sample award-winning white wines from one of the nation’s top Riesling makers in booth #45.
• Lemon Creek Winery ( A family-owned farm that has been in operation for over 150 years along the rolling clay loam hills of Berrien Springs. Visit them in booth #32.
• Robinette Cellars ( A Kent County agricultural treasure, you’ll find fruit wines and hard cider for sampling in booth #21.
• Sandhill Crane ( An award-winning, family-owned vineyard and winery in rural Jackson County, Michigan featuring estate-bottled wines. Visit them in booth #42.
• Shady Lane Cellars ( Recognized as one of Michigan’s premier wineries you’ll find award-winning vino available for sampling in booth #28.
• St. Julian Winery ( Michigan’s oldest and most decorated winery will be pouring samples of a variety of wines, including their new Forbidden Fruit Sangria, in booth #94.
• Tabor Hill Winery ( The only Michigan winery to also boast a full-service restaurant, you’ll find award-winning wines and sparkling wines for sampling in booth 34.
• Warner Vineyards ( Michigan’s second oldest winery, located in Paw Paw, and dating back to 1938. Sample a variety of wines in booth #32.

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