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Rick Coates - April 12th, 2010
Taste of Grand Traverse
The Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Traverse City has for years hosted an annual “Extravaganza” as their major fundraiser (raising $50,000). The event was quite the social affair, attracting a who’s who of the business and social community. The evening was all about “dressing to the nines,” enjoying great food and drink, and kicking up one’s heels on the dance floor to some pretty impressive national musical talent.
But in keeping with the current trend in the country of “toning down” fundraisers, the WRC has restructured their annual event in what will now be The Taste of Grand Traverse. The event will take place Sunday April 18 at the Great Wolf Lodge.
While tuxes and evening gowns may not be a part of the fundraising focus at the WRC’s annual fundraiser anymore, great food will be. At press time, 19 restaurants from the region have agreed to participate along with some beverage producers (coffee, tea and soda) from the area to create a family friendly event. Organizers decided to make the event more affordable and wide-reaching and allow for family participation. Tickets are $15 in advance and include three tasting tickets; children ages five to 12 are just $1 and kids four and under, no charge. Additional tasting tickets are available for $1 each and tasting items will require one to three tickets.
To accommodate more attendees organizers have divided the event into two tasting times: 11 am to 1 pm and 2 to 4 pm. This “Taste of Grand Traverse” is long overdue, considering that so many communities have similar events. One tip for organizers for next year, however; the concept of dividing the tasting into two sessions is great, but next year consider a family tasting in the afternoon and then an “adults only” tasting later to include the wonderful beverages being produced in the region. This year’s event will offer a cash bar.
This is going to be a great event for an organization that has provided so much for our region in assisting families and individuals with a variety of needs. The Women’s Resource Center for the past 34 years has been working to end domestic and sexual violence in Northern Michigan. To learn more about their services or to purchase tickets to the Taste of Grand Traverse go to (you may link to the WRC website from there) or call them at 231-941-1210. --Rick Coates

Hunter Wines
In many ways searching for a great bottle of wine is somewhat of a treasure hunt. Sometimes you find a treasure, other times you come with fool’s gold. So enter the Treasure Hunter line of wines from a small group of California-based wine professionals. They do the searching for you and let you enjoy all of their hard work.
Here is how it works: every Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from their panel of nine called “The De-Vine Nine.” Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs this panel tastes hundreds of wines before they allow a wine to be considered for Treasure Hunter.
So exactly where does the wine come from? The best growers in California, as Treasure Hunter does not own vineyards; rather they take the excess supply of juice from various winemakers and bottle it under the Treasure Hunter label. “When wineries have excess supply we quickly go through our review process and if it passes the De-Vine Nine’s examination, we buy it,” said Hunter Vogel, a principal with Treasure Hunter. “Rather than bottle too much wine or try to lower their well-deserved price point we liberate the wine and bring it to the consumer under our Treasure Hunter label without hurting the wineries’ reputation and potentially threaten their price point. It is a win–win–win proposition.”
Hunter and his partners sign confidentiality agreements with vineyards so as not to compromise their identity. The result is the consumer ends up with a world class California Cabernet for significantly less than the typical price under the wineries’ label.
Recently I had the opportunity to taste a half dozen Treasure Hunter wines. These wines just became available in Northern Michigan and are must - haves for the connoisseur of big bold California cab’s. In particular, the 2007 Oakville (Napa) Cabernet was impressive (though I bought a case of all six). Oaked to perfection, this wine has all the expectations and flavors one expects from a classic Oakville Napa cab with an earthy black truffle nose and hints of chocolate, blackberries and plums. This wine was a nice accompaniment to the lamb chops that had just come off the grill.
Here is the catch, Treasure Hunter wines truly are a treasure; each labeling is limited in supply (the Oakville is almost sold out), and once they are gone they are gone. But that’s what makes Treasure Hunter so fun, because as these great wines sell out they follow up with new releases. Ask for them at your favorite wine shops and restaurants. For info go to --Rick Coates
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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