Traverse City Winemakers Party Sommelier Does a Mind Share

From left: Sommelier Claudia Tyagi, Traverse Travel Editor Kim Schneider and Andy McFarlane, event mastermind. Tyagi was offering tasty background on the wines to be served at the Winemakers Party, June 21 at the Grand Traverse Commons.

On the evening when daylight lingers as long as it possibly can in Traverse City—solstice, June 21— the Northern Michigan winemakers will be hosting their inaugural Winemakers Party. Expect to be wowed by the Traverse region’s wine and food scene as more than 20 vintners pour their favorite bottles, and seven chefs from top local restaurants offer up hearty small plate offerings. Northwest Michigan wines have been bringing home impressive national and international awards these days, and the TC food scene continues to gain national attention as well. It should be a fine evening on the lawn of the lovely Grand Traverse Commons.

Noted caterer Cammie Buehler of Epicure Catering studies the wine selections. Photographer Keith King at left.

If you have been curious about the Leelanau wine scene, the June 21 event is an ideal way to really check in on the state of the art. Everybody will be pouring the bottles they are proudest of, so you’ll get an A-list sampling. I know you’ll be pleased and impressed with the quality.

Lorri Hathaway, Associate Director of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association.

All good stuff, and even better for moi, because organizer Andy McFarlane invited me to a small-group tasting last night at which Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi guided us through the 22 wines currently on the tasting menu for the event. 

TV 7&4’s Holly Baker shows off an L. Mawby selection.

Tyagi covered lots of ground in our three hour session, and served some remarkable wines, including some of those award winners I just mentioned. I am not a wine connoisseur so I won’t go all tasting notes on you, but I will share this impression.

A bottle you can expect to see at the event—one of the delightfully dry rieslings produced by Chateau Grand Traverse.

Leelanau wines have matured marvelously as our regional knowledge and investment has increased. Today, the wines stand up to international standards. The slew of awards our winemakers are bringing home verify that, but the most convincing evidence is the way they taste on the tongue. 

Northern Michigan reds and rosés have come a long way in the past decade. You’ll be delighted by the quality. This Brys Pinot Noir recently won a prestigious award in an international wine competition in London, England.

Tickets are $50 for the Winemakers Party, but here’s some advice. Get a weekend pass, which includes the Saturday concert with Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodrigquez (of Searching for Sugar Man documentary fame) and you pay only $70 for both the concert and the dinner. That, friends, is an amazing deal. And even more important because the standard concert tickets are already sold out, so the weekend pass is the only way to access the concert at this point.


Check it: a complete list of event wines and Claudia Tyagi’s tasting notes.

Andy McFarlane (left) and Rick Coates, WKLT radio personality, contemplate a wine complexity.

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