California winemaker Robert Mondavi once said, “Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art,” a statement that is reflected by the award-winning wines of Northern Michigan. These masterpieces will be featured, along with actual art from local artists, at the 3rd annual Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, held on the front lawn of the Grand Traverse Commons, Saturday, Aug. 20.
MORE THAN WINE
“When we were seeking an identity for the festival, we talked about the other things that our area is known for,” said Andrew McFarlane, director of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association. “While there was no question that food and music would play a huge role in the festival, we realized that our region is home to some incredible artists of all kinds and felt that we could work to promote these artists and their work.”
Artwork will be on-display and for sale at individual booths, ranging from paintings and sculpture to fiber art and functional art.
Participants will have the opportunity to become part of the art, as well. A new element to the festival this year is the Fashion is Art contest. Judges will circulate the area looking for the most creative, the most flashy, bold and dramatic wardrobe. The grand prize winner will receive an overnight spa package from Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa as well as a welcome gift from the wineries of the festival.
LET THE WINE FLOW
For its first year, the festival had approximately 70 wines from 20 wineries. This year, participants have the option to sample over 100 wines from the 25 wineries represented by Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie counties, according to McFarlane. These establishments include, among others, Circa Estate, L.
Mawby, Shady Lane, Chateau Chantal, Tandem Ciders and Left Foot Charley.
Participant numbers have also grown, added McFarlane.
“We had around 1,500 the first year and nearly 3,000 in 2010. For 2011, we’re expecting around 4,000.” McFarlane attributes a regional wine interest as one force behind the staying power of the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival, despite the growing—and sometimes daunting—num ber of food and beverage festivals in the area.
“(It) has grown every year because of the big focus our festival coordinator Laura Herd has put on the design and flow of the festival,” he added. “So many people have told us that everything was so smooth and open, and also that they loved the art and performance and atmosphere of the festival.”
GOOD WINE, GOOD VIBES
Adding to the atmosphere will be live musical performances from area favorite artists including jazz/folk singer Claudia Schmidt, Shout Sister Shout (featuring Rachel Davis) and bluegrass/jazz/folk fusion dance band Steppin’ In It.
All musical performances will be held on the stage outside the wine tent, with plenty of room to dance, mingle or just listen and sip. Local restaurants will offer tasty dishes available for purchase, as well.
The Traverse City Wine & Art Festival is Aug. 20, at the Grand Traverse Commons front lawn, from 3-10 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and include two (full glass) wine tickets and a commemorative glass, as well as entry into a drawing for a pair of tickets to these wine events: the Harvest Stompede, Toast the Season, Taste the Passion, Spring Sip & Savor and the 2012 TC Wine & Art Festival. For more information, visit traversecitywinefestival.com.
Artists such as Bill Hosner will show and sell their work at the Traverse City Wine & Art Fest.