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The Global Wine Pavillion

Rick Coates - July 5th, 2010
The Global Wine Pavilion offers a taste from all over
By Rick Coates
About 10 years ago the National Cherry Festival saw a trend taking
place in the festival business: festivals were going under. Realizing
the economic and historical importance of the event for Traverse City
and Northern Michigan, they set out make sure they would not become
another statistic on the list of festivals of the past.
In the search to identify what would make the Cherry Festival
successful for the future, research pointed to hanging on to
traditional events and creating more events that appeal to the
traveling public that seeks food and cultural experiences.
Thus, the first Cherries DiVine was launched five years ago. The event
blends the best in local wines with cherry-infused recipes prepared by
the team at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute. The success of that
event led to exploring other food and wine events.

RAVE REVIEWS
Enter Matt Sutherland. Part of the team that started the popular
Epicurean Classic seven years ago (the event has since moved to
southern Michigan) A long-time resident of Northern Michigan,
Sutherland currently writes on food, wine, restaurants, and cookbooks
for three regional and national magazines. Last year, Sutherland
pitched the Global Wine Pavilion, a three-day affair that focused on
wines of specific regions and smaller boutique wineries all selected
by Master Sommelier Ron Edwards.
 The inaugural event received rave reviews. This year once again the
Global Wine Pavilion will take place the final three nights of the
Festival, July 8-10.
“It was exactly what we were looking for in an event to expand the
Festival’s appeal,” said Cherry Festival spokesperson Susan
Wilcox-Olson. “It truly is a unique experience and very popular with
our volunteers. We had well over 100 sign up to help this year.”
So exactly what is the appeal and what sets the Global Wine Pavilion
apart from the many other wine events in the region?
“Several things,” said Sutherland. “But if I were to pick one it would
be having Master Sommelier Ron Edwards on board. He has personally
selected every wine and we will have 120 wines from 40 different grape
varieties from 15 different countries. To have someone of his stature
hand-select each wine means we are getting the best of the best.”

SMALL IS GOOD
Sutherland is quick to add that these are small boutique wineries.
“We all want to support that family-owned winery, that is producing
less than 10,000 cases a year,” said Sutherland. “That is what Ron has
done in his selection. These are not corporate conglomerate wineries,
but rather these wines are from the small guys that most in the wine
world have never heard of. What is cool is these are exceptional wines
that, had Ron not sought them out, most attending would never get a
chance to taste them otherwise.”
The Global Wine Pavillion is not looking past what is available in its
own backyard.
“This bay side Festival venue will offer the opportunity for wine and
food enthusiasts to enjoy and learn about  many award winning wines
including several that are produced right here in Northern Michigan”,
said Tim Hinkley, National Cherry Festival executive director.
Attendees will receive an Andrea Immer-designed Stolzle wine glass,
considered by many to be one of the world’s finest “tasting” glasses.
The $10 entrance fee also includes a glass of “featured” wine
corresponding to a nightly theme – Greek on July 8, South Africa on
July 9, and France on July 10. Wine-friendly appetizers will be served
by two of Traverse City’s top restaurants, Red Ginger and Cooks’
House, as well as Janene Silverman, an acclaimed northern Italy-based
chef who will serve authentic Piedmont dishes.

GOT BEER?
“We have not forgotten about the beer connoisseur,” said Sutherland.
“In addition to tasting more than 1,000 wines to make his selections,
Ron Edwards tasted dozens of beers as well.”
Sutherland wants to emphasize that this is not a sampling or a wine
festival, this is a tasting experience.
“While certainly coming out and enjoying the Pavilion one night is
great, it is really structured to be a three day tasting expedition,”
said Sutherland. “It is an opportunity to get educated while having a
lot of fun. We are not pouring little tastes, rather half glasses, so
you really get to experience the wines you choose. Obviously you have
to limit your selections so ask lots of questions.”

Tickets for the ‘Global Wine Pavilion’ may be purchased in advance by
visiting cherryfestival.org or by calling
(231) 947-4230.  Tickets will also be available at the event.

 
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