The Homestead Announces Winter Cooking Class Schedule

22 Dec

 (GLEN ARBOR, Mich) – The Homestead has announced its Winter 2012 schedule for cooking classes at Nonna’s Loft – a 900-square foot cooking school facility. Executive Chef John Piombo will lead hands-on instruction using fresh, local ingredients. Classes are being offered to both resort guests and the general public, starting in early January and running through early March.

 Baked Pastas Cooking Demonstration

Saturday, January 7 at 11:30am

$50 (plus tax & gratuity)

 Baked pasta dishes are popular in Italy because they can feed a lot of people without a lot of
fuss. Let Chef John teach you how to prepare these delicious classic recipes to add to your y dinner table this and leave the hassle of cooking to the oven! Class includes a welcome glass of Prosecco, generous samples of all the dishes, wine and recipes.

~ Crab Cannelloni Baked with Béchamel and Tomato ~
~ Gnocchi alla Valdostana (Baked with Prosciutto, Fontina and Cream) ~
~ Lasagna Napolitana (Sausage, Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella) ~

 Tenderloin Three-Ways Cooking Demonstration

Saturday, January 21 at 11:30am

$50 (plus tax & gratuity)

 Tenderloin, as the name suggests, is cut from the loin of an animal – a part of the body that does not get very much of a workout. It’s that very lack of activity that makes this the tenderest part of the animal. This big boneless cut is easy to portion, straightforward to prepare and a breeze to carve. It’s tender, delicious and easy to prepare making it the perfect solution for entertaining. Join Chef John for this demonstration, techniques and recipes using three cuts of tenderloin that will give your family and guests something to savor and remember. Class includes a welcome glass of Prosecco, generous samples of all the dishes, wine and recipes.

~ Tenderloin of Veal, Gorgonzola Dolce, Sunflower Seeds, Demi, Cream ~
~ Tenderloin of Beef  alla Rossini, Ham, Bechamel, Ementhaler, Crostino ~
~ Tenderloin of Pork Sicilian Style, with Fresh Tomatoes, Green Olives, Pine Nuts and Raisins ~

 The Art of Making Gnocchi Hands-On Cooking Class

Saturday, January 28 at 11:30am

$90 (plus tax & gratuity)

 Join us for this popular class where you will learn the skill of making feather light gnocchi. Chef John has been preparing gnocchi for over 20 years and will guide you along as you create this old and traditional recipe. You’ll also be making three different sauces to pair with your gnocchi. Following the instruction, sit down with your fellow chefs for a family-style lunch of your freshly made gnocchi. Limit 7 people.

~ Handmade Potato & Gnocchi ~
~ Alta Cucina Pomodoro Sauce ~
~ Gorgonzola Cream Sauce ~
~ Basil Pesto Sauce ~

 The Pastas of Italy Cooking Demonstration

Saturday, February 4 at 11:30am

$50 (plus tax & gratuity)

 In this class, Chef John will feature fresh pasta, its simplicity and three regional preparations. You’ll be amazed at the flavors of these pasta dishes and how easy it is to prepare them!  Class includes a welcome glass of Prosecco, generous samples of all the dishes, wine and recipes.

~ Trenette al Pesto (fresh linguine, green beans, potato, basil pesto) ~
~ Tagliatelle alla Bolognese (Tagliatelle with meat sauce) ~
~ Pappardelle con Funghi (Pappardelle, foraged mushrooms, garlic oil) ~

 Scaloppine Four-Ways Hands-On Cooking Class

$90 (plus tax & gratuity)

Saturday, February 11 at 11:30am (Limit 7 people)

 Join us for one of our most popular classes. Scaloppine is an Italian dish consisting of thinly sliced meat or fish sautéed and served with a sauce. For this class, roll up your sleeves, put on your apron and join Chef John in the kitchen to learn to prepare four unique and delicious scaloppini preparations destined to become family favorites. When your work in the kitchen is done, sit down with a glass of wine and your classmates to enjoy your creations.



~ Veal Pizzaiola ~
~ Walleye Piccata ~
~ Chicken Saltimbocca ~
~ Pork with Brandy, Green Peppercorns, Mushrooms, Cream ~

 The Art of Risotto Hands-On Cooking Class

Saturday, February 25 at 11:30am

$90 (plus tax & gratuity)

 Join us for this popular class where you will learn the skill of making the perfect risotto. Chef John will guide you along as you create these recipes. Following the instruction, sit down with your fellow chefs for a family-style lunch.

~ Risotto with Saffron and Asparagus ~
~ Risotto alla Pescatora (Seafood) ~
~ Risotto with Strawberries and Balsamic ~
~ Risotto ai Funghi (Mushrooms) ~

 The Cuisine of Genoa Cooking Demonstration

$50 (plus tax & gratuity) | Saturday, March 3 at 11:30am

 The people of Genoa inventors of the ravioli. Home of Pesto, Farinata and Focaccia al Formaggio. In this class, Chef John will feature classical Genoese dishes, their history and development. You’ll be amazed at the flavors of these dishes and how easy it is to prepare them! Class includes a welcome glass of Prosecco, generous samples of all the dishes, wine and recipes.

~ Farinata (chick pea crepe) ~
~ Gnocchi al Pesto (Potato Gnocchi with basil Pesto) ~
~ Pansotti con Salsa di Noci (ravioli with a walnut sauce) ~

~Focaccia al Formagio di Recco (Focaccia with Cheese)~

 The fee includes the demonstration or class, not inclusive of tax and gratuity. After the preparation, students – of course – get to eat what they’ve made. Reservations are required by calling 231.334.5150. Classes will be offered for at least four students, up to a maximum of seven.  Demonstrations will be offered for at least four students, up to a maximum of twenty.

About Chef John Piombo:

Born in the Bronx, Chef John Piombo’s parents returned to Italy when he was four and it was here that his love for all that is food grew immensely. After graduating from L’alberghiera Maria Mazzini in Genoa, Italy, Piombo spent years sharpening his skills in local restaurants. His travels took him to France, England, Germany and Spain, where he was exposed to different cultures, cuisines and cooking styles. 

 It was the late 1980s when Piombo returned to the United States, working at Tiberio’s (Washington DC-Bal Harbour), Stringfellow’s (London, England and Coconut Grove, Florida) and Letizia’s (New York).

 Wishing to broaden his culinary skills, Piombo moved west to the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2000, where he accepted a sous chef position with the California Cafe’ in Walnut Creek.  Here, he was exposed to Asian and Southwest influences, which he felt were missing from his repertoire. He was soon promoted to Executive Chef and continued to master his skills, observing all the talented chefs create culinary masterpieces with all the different ingredients that were available to them.

 An opportunity to be closer to his family prompted Chef Piombo to accept a transfer to Orlando. From there, he made the move to Northwest Michigan and The Homestead. He dedicated three years (2004-2007) to building up the resort’s reputation as a dining destination, catering to owners, guests and locals. He took a brief hiatus, but was back at The Homestead by the summer of 2008, helping shape the world-class, locally-infused menu.

 The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service.  Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons.


For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100.


The 12 Wines of Christmas

20 Dec

I thought I would offer some new finds for this holiday season.  All are reasonably priced and can be found at most supermarkets and wine shops in the area.  You couldn’t go wrong serving or bringing any of these wines to a holiday meal or party.

Mandolin 2009 Pinot Noir – The grapes for this wine were sourced from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, California.  The high winds, dry days and bay fogs create a cool and very long growing season; making an ideal climate for Pinot Noir grapes.  This longer growing season yields full flavor wines with great acid balance.  Mandolin Pinot Noir is rich and full flavored with a hint of spice.

Mandolin 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – The grapes for this fruit forward Cabernet were sourced from vineyards in the California Central Coast region.  The first fermentation was in stainless steel which allowed for the full cherry and currant flavors to develop.  It then spent its next 14 months in French Oak which allowed for soft tannins to integrate into the wine resulting in a great balanced wine.

Cupcake Vineyards 2010 Shiraz – Winemaker Adam Richardson traveled to Barossa in Southern Australia to carefully select the grapes for this rich and spicy Barossa Shiraz.  He comments that, “it is reminiscent of a chocolate mocha and blackberry cupcake.”  Aged in oak, this smooth creamy and subtly tannic wine would pair very well with a spice encrusted holiday rib roast. 

Cupcake Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc – This decadent and flavorful Marlborough New Zealand white demonstrates why the Sauvignon Blanc grape is so renowned.  After a cool first fermentation in stainless steel, the wine undergoes an extended sur lies maturation process.  This process gives the wine an added freshness and creaminess improving its color and clarity.  In other words, it softens what otherwise would be a very tart citrusy wine.  Pair it with any seafood dish you might be serving.

Cupcake Vineyards NV Prosecco D.O.C. – This Prosecco is made from 100% Italian Glera grapes, the official grape of Prosecco.  Prosecco has become very popular in the past couple years.  I think in part because it has a much finer and softer effervescence than Champagne.  Nor does it have the yeasty aftertaste of Champagne.  Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method, which unlike Champagne, means the secondary fermentation takes place in steel tanks rather than the bottle.  This gives the wine that softer creamy finish.  I recommend serving it well chilled with appetizers or desert.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 – This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sourced from California’s Central Coast including small amounts of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.  This artful blend has produced a smooth textured and slightly sweet Cabernet that can stand up against many of California’s finest Cabernet Sauvignons.  To soften the tannins and develop its complex flavor the wine was kept on the skins twelve extra days and then spent 12 months in American and French oak which added a subtle toasty note.  Enjoy this with wine with roast duck or goose or after dinner with hard cheeses.  A great value!

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2010 – This is a fruit forward Pinot Noir that is probably the most versatile when it comes to food this holiday season.  If you like red wine and are not sure what to serve with ham or turkey, this Pinot Noir is ideal; classic berry and spicy aromas with a silky texture and finish.  Given the price, a lot of wine making expertise and effort went into this wine.  Remember my motto; a wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be great.

Ravens Wood 2009 Vintners Blend Petite Sirah – If you like full bodied and concentrated fruit flavored wine, then you’ve found your holiday pick.  Of all the wines reviewed, this is probably the only one that could be aged for drinking later, so save a bottle for next year.  I would pair it up with ribs, hearty soup or chili.  A great wine to serve a Super Bowl party.

Ravens Wood 2009 Vintners Blend Zinfandel – This is my pick for pasta this season; enjoyed it with rigatoni in a marinara sauce with sweet Italian sausage.   A robust flavorful red wine and a bowl of red sauce pasta; now that’s comfort food!

Biltmore Reserve Viognier 2010 – This North Carolina wine is the surprise of the year! That’s right, North Carolina, the Biltmore Estate Vineyards.  Nice mouth feel, hint of honey, strawberry and lime and a tiny touch of acidity.  I served it with Chinese food and Sushi; paired perfectly.  It is a little more expensive but still under $20 and worth every penny. Biltmore Reserve Viognier 2010 is on my gift wish list.

Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs – Brut – Here is the new standard for New Year’s Eve bubbly.   Produced using 100% Russian River Valley Chardonnay grapes by the Methode Champenoise. The grapes were harvested at a high acidity and fermented at a low temperature.  The secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle for a full 18 to 24 months.  This lengthy process results in a refreshing and balanced sparkling wine with tiny bubbles and floral, lemony, apricot taste.  If you are serving seafood for New Year’s Eve, this would be my recommendation.

Happy Holidays from Michigan Wines!

8 Dec

Whether it’s bubbly, red, white or pink, Michigan wine adds the perfect touch to your holiday celebrations! Take a break from your busy holiday schedule and “gift” yourself some time at one of these winery events! Visit to get more details on these and all the other fabulous events throughout the year.

Old Mission Peninsula Day of Giving — December 10

Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula
Shop the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula on the Day of Giving to help support area nonprofit organizations. For one day only, each winery will be donating 15 percent of their gross sales to a select nonprofit. Join us in celebrating the season of giving during tasting room hours or by purchasing online at participating winery web sites.

Christmas Party with Live Reindeer! — December 10

Robinette Cellars, Grand Rapids
Have you ever seen a live reindeer? Come to Robinette Cellars on December 10th and see for yourself!! Not only can you see them, there will be a photographer on site so you can have your picture taken with them. Along with the reindeer, there will be refreshments and door prizes and don’t forget … free wine tasting.

Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Affair —
December 10-11 and 17-18

Dizzy Daisy Winery, Bad Axe
Come celebrate the holidays with Dizzy Daisy! Sample delectable cheeses and delicious artisan chocolates for free with your choice of over 35 varieties of Dizzy Daisy wines. Free hors d’oeuvres and homemade chocolates. Holiday Gift Baskets and Wine Accessories available for purchase.

Wine & Chocolate – A Holiday Event — December 11

Lone Oak Vineyard Estate, Grass Lake
Join us for a day of delicious wine and chocolate pairings and learn how chocolate is made, with demos by Mindo Chocolate Makers of Dexter. There will be two sessions for this event – 1 pm and 3 pm. Seating is limited, reservations required. Call 517-522-8167 to reserve your time slot and seat. Cost: $10 per person.

Wine Dinner with Larry Mawby — December 13

Uncorked Wine Bar, Traverse City
Do you like bubbles? WE DO!!! That’s why we’ve invited L. Mawby winery to join us for an evening of great food, local wine, and a little education about how bubbly wine can go with just about any food! Tickets are $30 per person. Make your reservations today: 231-668-6929 or email Amanda at

Christmas Eve Sing-Along — December 23

Old Town Hall Winery, Lexington
The biggest Christmas bash in town! We are planning another fun and festive evening of Christmas and Holiday songs led by the winemakers Connie and Steve, and many other local musicians, including Tyson Foerster, Roger Blume, Carol and Chuck McMillan. Last year it was standing room only, with four-part harmony coming from the audience. This year will be even better!

New Year’s Eve Celebration — December 31

Sandhill Crane Vineyards, Jackson
We are so pleased to announce a special New Year’s Eve celebration evening in our new dining space! It’s a chance to dress up, eat a delicious meal, listen to great music, and drink Sandhill wine. What a great way to welcome 2012! The evening will begin at 7:30pm and include hors d’oeuvres and open wine tasting, dinner, and live music with the Doug Horn trio. At Midnight we’ll toast the New Year with our “840” limited edition port! $75 per person plus 6% tax and 18% gratuity. This includes the 6-course meal, wine with each course, party favors, and live music. Reservations are required. Payment and entree selection are required at the time of your reservation. To make your reservation call 517-764-0679.  (Cancellations are subject to a 7% fee.)


Courtesy of Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council


14 Nov

On November 17th, over 400 cases of Beaujolais Nouveau will arrive from France by special airfreight to Champane’s Wine Cellars, Warren, MI. Just in time for the Annual Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Tasting Event. (French Law prohibits the sale of Beaujolais Nouveau before the third Thursday of November).

The annual Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Tasting will be the largest in Michigan. Over twenty French wines and eight different Beaujolais will be poured.

Beaujolais history goes back 2,000 years, but it was this century that started the madness on the third Thursday in November. According to Dean Champane, Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Historian. This is the largest international wine festival in the world. Every year at one minute past midnight on November 17th, millions of cases of Beaujolais Nouveau will begin their journey from France for immediate shipment around the world. By the time its over 95 million bottles will have been distributed, sold and tasted around the world. It has become a worldwide race to be the first to taste, the new previewed harvest.

This wine is meant to be consumed young. Due to the way the grapes are pressed, only three days after harvest. This keeps the tannis light, leaving it an easy to drink fruity wine. The wine is made for gulping, rather than sipping. It’s great chilled and the only wine that white wine drinkers find easy to move into red wine tasting.

On Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., the largest Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Tasting Event will take place at Champane’s Wine Cellars, 7007 Chicago Road (13 Mile Rd.), Warren, MI. Tickets are only $ 15.00 per person in advance.

7007 Chicago Road (13 Mile)
Warren, MI
(586) 978-9463

A few noteworthy new releases…

8 Nov

I’ve rated Concannon Conservancy Wines in the past and I’m particularly impressed with John Concannon’s fifth addition to his portfolio.  Crimson and Clover is his first Petite Sirah blend sourced from 100% Livermore Valley grapes consisting of 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel.  I had the privilege to taste a pre-release bottle this past August and have to rate it A+!  Crimson and Clover upholds the Concannon Winery history of world class Petite Sirahs while adding deep rich berry flavors and softness. Concannon describes the wine, “as having the aroma of currants, cloves and vanilla, the fruit flavors of black berry and a spicy soft and long finish.”  In part, due to the varietal blend and 18 months of aging in French and American oak but more due to the depth and structure of Petite Sirah.  Crimson and Clover is available nationally at a suggested retail of $15.00.  I wouldn’t wait too long to purchase some.  With only 10,000 cases produced and a noteworthy 90 points from Wine Lines and an 88 points from Wine Enthusiast, this ruby gem won’t last long on the shelves.

 Another noteworthy late summer 2011 release is from our friends at Octavin Home Wine Bar.  Octavin combines a 3 liter octagon shaped box, vacuum-packaging and special spot to prevent air from coming in contact with their wine.  Once opened, their 21st Century packaging technology keeps their wine fresh for at least 6 weeks. Allowing you to enjoy some highly regarded artisanal wines, a glass or two a day, without being concerned about unfinished wine in glass bottles. 

South African winemaker Pieter Carstens and Adam Richardson, Octavin’s international winemaker have joined forces in producing Herding Cats Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay.    These Herding Cats winemakers were artful in blending authentic South African varietals with globally known varietals.  The result is a medium bodied, bright fruit flavored wine.  Pieter Carstens describes it this way, “In this lovely wine, we have herded together the ever so popular South African Chenin Blanc with the ever so flavorful Chardonnay to achieve and aromatic white with hints of green apple, bright citrus and a crisp clean finish.”  Pieter is “spot on”!  This is a very food friendly and versatile wine.  At a suggested $24 for the 3 liter Octavin Home Wine Bar cask, Herding Cats Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay delivers an outstanding value.

 If you are interested in tasting these wines and several hundred more, I strongly encourage you to spend the weekend in Grand Rapids for the 2011 International Wine, Beer & Food Festival November 17 – 19.  In addition to being invited to sample from more than 1,000 wines, beers and spirits from around the world, 5 of Grand Rapids’ finest restaurants will prepare, present and serve exceptional multi-course meals with considered wine.  Chefs and winemakers will share their knowledge and insights about their selections in an elegant, yet relaxed, sit down atmosphere.  For more information about the festival, log on to .

If you would like to comment on our selections or share you own opinion email  Remember, you don’t have to pay a lot to enjoy a great bottle of wine.  Look, Smell, Taste, you decide.

‘Toast the Season’ with the Wineries of Leelanau Peninsula

13 Oct

(LEELANAU PENINSULA, Michigan) – In what has become a Northwest Michigan holiday tradition, the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association will hold the 2011 Toast the Season wine tour. Once again, two consecutive weekends of tasting and touring will be offered, November 5 & 6 or November 12 & 13. The self-guided tour includes a gift bag featuring local food items, and you may visit up to 8 wineries each day in any order you choose between the hours of 11am to 5pm Saturday, or noon to 5pm Sunday.

“Toast the Season is lots of fun, giving you a chance to experience the Leelanau wine trail, enjoy a great gift bag, taste some great wine and sample our food pairings,” explains Lucie Matthias of Chateau Fontaine. “It’s also a good time to get a start on your holiday shopping in our tasting rooms and at all the unique shops & stores in Leelanau’s villages. Deer hunting season starts on November 15th this year, and we see a lot of ‘deer widows’ too, who are looking for something fun to do while their husbands are away at deer camp!”

The tour features a special wine & food pairing at each of the 19 Leelanau Peninsula member wineries. At your starting winery you will be given a commemorative glass, an LPVA holiday ornament, a souvenir wine key and a holiday gift bag featuring local food including fair trade coffee from Higher Grounds Trading Company of Traverse City, cocoa-coated chocolate covered almonds from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate in Empire, and (of course) Michigan cherries from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor!

Tickets are available online at along with Toast the Season packages from a number of local lodging partners.

Food Pairings

Below are a few of the tantalizing wine & food pairings!

  • Chateau de Leelanau will be serving the “World Famous Willies Chili” with Solem Farm Red.
  • L.Mawby will offer Nature’s Treat dried apples slices with Black Diamond aged white cheddar, paired with the L. Mawby Consort.
  • Ciccone Vinyards will feature an Italian Bruschetta with fresh ingredients straight from the garden paired with their 2009 Cabernet Franc.
  • Willow Vinyards will be serving up some naughty French Vanilla Pumpkin Squares with Caramel topping, paired with their Semi Sweet Gris.
  • Cherry Republic will pair a Gorgonzola, Pecan and Cherry Fondue using their delicious Cherry Bread and with their Great Hall Riesling.
  • Verterra is offering different food pairings with their Pinot Gris for each weekend: 1st weekend will be Char-Grilled Pizzetta with sun-dried tomato, fresh spinach, garlic, feta & mozzarella and the 2nd weekend will feature Santa Fe Sweet Corn Chowder.
  • Forty-Five North will be serving up carnitas tacos paired with their new 2010 Dry Riesling.


Tickets for Toast the Season are $50 per person or $75 per couple (couple ticket holders receive two glasses, pours and food at each winery, but only one gift bag and ornament). Tickets are available online at

The LPVA encourages using a designated driver or local transportation services when touring its wineries. for more information including lodging packages at many great area hotels, B&Bs and resorts!

LPVA was formed in 2000 with a goal to help spread the word about all the wonderful things the Leelanau Peninsula has to offer including a growing number of award-winning wineries, excellent restaurants and a rich agricultural history. Today, it is the largest and strongest of the four organized wine trails in Michigan which promote the state’s nearly $790 million grape/wine industry.
Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association

Cool Weather is Wine Touring Weather!

16 Sep

The hot, humid days of summer are slowly giving way to milder days and cool evenings. This is a wonderful time to tour Michigan wine country and attend a few tasting events. Visit to get more details on these and all the other fabulous events throughout the year.

New Buffalo Harvest and Wine Fest — October 8
Lion’s Park, New Buffalo
The New Buffalo Business Association and the Four Winds Casino are hosting the 5th annual “New Buffalo Harvest & Wine Fest” from noon to 10pm. Representing all that the season has to offer, the Harvest & Wine Fest boasts an abundance of local treats including a copious farmer’s market, world-class wines from Southwest Michigan, tasty fare from area restaurants, hayrides, a pumpkin patch and more. Suggested donation at the gate is $5 per person — children 12 and under are FREE. Visit for more information.

Wine Country Tour — October 9
East Lansing to Southwest Michigan
Michigan State University and Lansing Community College have joined together to offer a day-long bus tour to some of western Michigan’s wineries. Visits to several Southwest Michigan wineries including Tabor Hill Winery are planned. The tour includes transportation, lunch and an experienced guide. The return trip home will include a stop to pick up food to go. Cost is $159, with lunch included. Call 517-355-4562 to reserve your spot.

Greater Lansing Wine Opener — October 20
Eagle Eye Golf Club, Bath
Indulge in the finer things at Eagle Eye Golf Club and support a great cause, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Guests will sip fine wines from five different regions, including Michigan, dine on delicious local cuisine and peruse the wonderful items in the live and silent auction in a unique setting. Guests attending the VIP Reception will enjoy exclusive fare before heading into the Wine Opener. Live music and celebrity pourers complete the evening making it unforgettable for all who attend. Cocktail attire please. $60 ($65 at door) for main tasting; $100 ($110 at door) VIP Tasting; VIP tasting begins at 6:00. Visit for more information.

The Big Grape Tour — November 5-6
Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail
Join us for a day of wine, food, and fun as we travel by motorcoach from one Wine Trail winery to another, five in all. Each winery will be featuring one of their best wines paired with food. Following the wine and food pairings, we will check into the Marriott at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti followed by dinner and dancing. This is one event you won’t want to miss! Registration Deadline: October 5. Purchase tickets online at

Toast the Season — November 5-6 & November 12-13
Leelanau Peninsula Wineries
The tour is self guided and you may visit 8 of our 18 member wineries each day in whatever order you desire between the hours of 11am to 5pm Saturday and noon to 5pm Sunday. The tour features a special wine pour accompanied by holiday themed gourmet food at each of the 18 Leelanau Peninsula member wineries. At your starting winery you will be given a commemorative glass, an LPVA holiday ornament and a holiday gift bag featuring local, fair trade and organic food and more! More information at

Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival — November 17-19
DeVos Place, Grand Rapids
Over 100 wineries from around the world will provide samples of as many as 1,200 assorted wines — including some hard to find, top shelf vintages. Brewmasters and distillers will also to be on hand providing tastes of their hand-crafted beverages. Chefs from eight of the area’s top restaurants prepare and serve samples of their culinary specialties. Six select restaurants partner with distinguished wineries and breweries for special Pairings — gourmet multi-course meals served on-site in a casual yet intimate “bar top” setting. Tickets are $30-$40 each and may be purchased in advance online at, or at the Festival on a first-come, first-served basis.

Great Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off — November 26
Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula
Local restaurants have turned the classic comfort food dish of Macaroni and Cheese into culinary marvels! This rich and creamy fare is paired with wines from Old Mission – Rieslings, Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and more. Taste what our local chefs have come up with this year! Tickets are $40 and will be available online at