Arts & Entertainment, Lakeshore, and Travel & Tourism

Wine About Winter pours at lakeshore

January 14, 2015
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A tasting and art event is helping West Michigan residents, visitors and businesses in a lakeshore town “wine” a little bit about winter.

The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority’s sixth-annual Wine About Winter is taking place this Friday in downtown Grand Haven, from 5-9 p.m.

Andy Cawthorn, chair of the promotions committee for the authority, said the event is intended to draw pedestrian traffic to more than 40 downtown merchants in a typically slower winter season.

“It is part of the mission statement of the downtown business authority to increase business for our member firms,” Cawthorn said. “In the middle of winter in West Michigan, there isn’t much going on, so the originators of the event said, 'Well, we have a nice snow free, warm, welcoming downtown. What would draw people downtown?’”

Wine About Winter originated from the phrase “quit whining” before focusing on the word “wine” and has evolved over the years to focus solely on Michigan wine.

The annual event has about 37 participating venues, with roughly 17 stores accommodating wine tasting and art, while close to 20 venues are featuring artists only.

“We have four appellations or regions in wine terms: there is Leelanau, Mission Peninsula Up North, Michigan interior and Michigan lakeshore,” Cawthorn said. “We invited the vineyards to participate, so we have a 'Pure Michigan' event that is all about Michigan wine.”

Fourteen vineyards throughout Michigan are expected to participate in the event and will feature both a white and red wine for people to taste.

The cost of each tasting is based on the projected retail cost of the wine, with an average price of $2 to $3. A tasting package is available in advance of the event for $10, which includes a wine glass and starter tasting tickets.

A number of Grand Haven organizations will feature both wine and art: Santo Stefano del Lago, Frame & Mat Shop, Down to Earth, Calico Cat, Tri-Cities Historical Museum, That Hat, Studio 206, Dockside Clothing, Chocolates by Grimaldi, Yoga Wave, C2C Gallery, Studio JSD, Gallery Uptown and Panache.

Local Grand Haven wine-tasting rooms Lemon Creek Winery and 12 Corners Tasting Room will also feature art and their own wine.

This year’s event also includes a guest panel of professional wine makers at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, from 5-6 p.m., at 200 Washington Ave., to address the types of grapes grown and the reason behind the selection, as well as the kind of wine produced.

The panel was created based on the positive response of the event.

“The event has gotten bigger every year that we have had it," Cawthorn said. "To feed that, this year, we added a panel discussion of the wine-makers themselves talking about Michigan wine. For a lot of people who are new to wine or not as knowledgeable about wine, the panel discussion is aimed at educating them about what is around to taste.”

The event will feature several special guests: Nancie Oxley, winemaker from St. Julian Winery; Aaron Haar and Brian Lesperance, from Fenn Valley Vineyards; Debbie Burgdorf, winemaker from Burgdorf Winery; and Rick Sigsby, author of “Michigan’s Holy Water.”

Sveral organizations will feature art only: Blueberry Haven, Borr’s Shoes, Grand Haven Oil & Vinegar, JJ Marche, J Morgan LTD, Krissy’s Kandies, MACKite, Michigan Rag, Pavilion, RK Jewelers, ReMax Lakeshore, Spice Merchants, Sun Title Co., The Bookman, The Creative Fringe, The Paper Place, Tlaquepaque, VerDuin’s and What A Gem.

Attendees will also receive a postcard for every venue visited and be eligible for a prize drawing at 9 p.m. at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, which includes items donated by local businesses.

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