Thursday, December 29, 2011

Salt of the Earth Announces 3rd Annual Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series

In what has become a wildly-popular winter/spring tradition, West Michigan’s Salt of the Earth announces its third-annual monthly Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series at its downtown Fennville rustic American eatery, starting on January 11 and running through June 20.

“We’re excited to continue this unique experience where we showcase the finest Michigan beverages paired with our own style of casual cuisine,” says proprietor Mark Schrock. “Winemakers and brewers are present at each event, along with a very special lineup of guest chefs from around the state. We invite you to come celebrate the best of Michigan food and beverage with us!”

The 2012 series will span six months and feature Michigan wineries and breweries exclusively. Multiple courses will be served at each event, paired with the best from each producer. Many taste selections are from wine and beer maker’s personal cellars that are not always available to the public. A “Guest Chef” will also join SotE Chef Matthew Pietsch in the kitchen to prepare the evening’s locally-infused menu.

The series kicks off on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:00PM when the SotE team – along with Chef Drew Turnipseed from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids – will prepare its first “Wine Meets Beer” themed dinner – a double-tasting, featuring wines from nearby Fenn Valley Vineyards and beer from Grand Rapids’ Brewery Vivant. The five-course menu includes: Course 1 – Salt / Vivant Cured Meats (pork – venison – lamb – beer wort); Course 2 – Soup & Salad (peach – turnip – rye – poppyseed); Course 3 – Swedish Chef (char – potato – beef – parsnip – smoke); Course 4 – Duck, Duck, Goose (confit – roast – poach – squash); and Course 5 – Doughnuts! (sour cream – yeast leavened – cake). Cost is $65 plus tax & gratuity. Reservations are required, call 269-561-SALT (7258).

ABOUT THE PLAYERS:
Brewery Vivant opened its doors in late 2010 under the ownership of former New Holland Brewery founder Jason Spaulding, and his wife, Kris. Their aim is to create a world-class experience through beer and food. With a bent toward Belgian styles of beer, Brewmaster Jacob Derylo is constantly experimenting with the highest quality ingredients at his disposal. Additionally, they are now distributing throughout the state with plans to service Chicago in early 2012. Although a natural in producing amazing food, Chef Drew Turnipseed attended culinary school at the Art Institute of New York City. He is a trained sommelier through the International Wine Center and holds a graduate certificate in Food and Beverage Operation from New York University. His experience ranges from the vineyards in Bordeaux, France to an adventure lodge in Alaska, to the catering company he and his wife Lauron started in Southwest Michigan. (www.BreweryVivant.com).

Fenn Valley Vineyards is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery complex established in 1973. Their goal then, as it is now, was to produce world-class wines from grapes grown along the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan. The Fenn Valley estate is a 230 acre farm located five miles from Lake Michigan just south of Holland, Michigan. Fenn Valley continues to be a progressive estate bottled winery, growing the grapes that are processed in the cellars. The vineyards are located on the top of a large sand ridge that extends inland from Lake Michigan between the Black River and the Kalamazoo River valleys – in one of four federally-recognized viticultural areas in Michigan. The vineyards are being expanded as new varieties are tried and additional plantings are made of those varieties that prove to be successful. The numerous awards and medals that Fenn Valley continues to receive for its wines attest to the fact that they are always keeping an eye on quality. (www.fennvalley.com).

Salt of the Earth is a rustic American eatery and bakery, tucked away in a historic building in quaint downtown Fennville – in the heart of the Southwest Michigan’s thriving agricultural region. Under the direction of Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon), this full service restaurant offers a seasonal menu of made-from-scratch entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, often sourced locally. Artisan bread is baked in house, served with dinner and available to take home. You’ll also find a bar stocked with an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers, and spirit, alongside other domestic and international selections. Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live house concerts held weekly. Winter Hours: Dinner served Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm. Fresh baked artisan bread is available at the restaurant during dining hours and at select local retail outlets.

What others are saying-

“ Salt of the Earth has done so much with their Michigan wine dinner series, to raise awareness of the quality revolution taking place in Michigan's wine industry, that they deserve an award – if one existed,” says Jim Lester, owner of Wyncroft Winery and a three-time series participant.

“We have always enjoyed the food at Salt of the Earth, but, the wine and beer dinners really elevate their take on local cuisine to new heights,” says Brian Cain – Grand Rapids Magazine wine columnist. “The braised brisket served at the Short’s beer dinner is the best I have ever eaten!”

“My wife and I have attended three of the dinners…great food, great wines, lots of friendly folks to meet,” says Bill Koski, manger at Rose’s on Reeds Lake and coordinator of the “Wine School” at the Gilmore Collection in Grand Rapids.


2012 SotE Michigan Wine & Beer Series Schedule

Wednesday January 11
“Wine Meets Beer”
Double tasting event with Fenn Valley Winery and Brewery Vivant and five courses.
Winemaker: Doug Welsch | Brewer: Jason Spaulding | Guest Chef: Drew Turnipseed, Brewery Vivant $65

Wednesday February 8
“Rustic Bubbles- v2”
L. Mawby/M.Lawrence
Michigan sparkling wines, with appetizers and canapés.
Winemaker: Mike Laing | Guest Chef: Jesse Hahn, Trailer Park’d & Fork in the Road restaurant $45

Wednesday March 14
“Jolly Pumpkin & North Peak Beer Dinner”

Wednesday April 18
“WOMP Wine Dinner”
Seven Old Mission wineries, seven courses!

Wednesday May 16
“Founders Beer Dinner”

Wednesday June 20
“Wyncroft Summer Wine Dinner”

Salt of the Earth
114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408
269.561.SALT (7258)

www.saltoftheearthfennville.com
www.facebook.com/saltoftheearthfennville

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Northern United Brewing Company Takes “Civilized Spirits” Statewide - Just in Time for the New Year!

Just in time for the New Year, Northern United Brewing Company delivers two of its Civilized Spirits – Vodka and Sakura – to retail accounts throughout the state. General Wine & Spirits has added Civilized Spirits to its portfolio and spirit-connoisseurs will now be able to seek out these Michigan-made liquors at retails stores, restaurants and bars around the Great Lakes State.

Previously, Civilized Spirits have only been available at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin restaurants on Old Mission Peninsula, just north of Traverse City. Additional spirits – rum, whiskey and gin – which are currently available exclusively at Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin, will be released state-wide in the coming months.

Civilized Spirits are created in a forest hideaway on the Old Mission Peninsula, a site with a long tradition of distillation. Spirits have been made on the site since the late 1800s when it was built by lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife, Genevive. Civilized Spirits is a family of liquors created for the woodland gentleman of yore – the sort of man who cut wood for a living and wrestled grizzlies for fun, but still found time to wax his mustache and comb some pomade through his hair. Although the grizzlies may have gone, the legacy of dedication and appreciation of artisanal spirits lives on in every hand-bottled Civilized Spirit.

Master Distiller Mike Hall is the big gun on Old Mission Peninsula. A native of Nova Scotia, he is ultimately responsible for the sublime list of artisanal Civilized Spirits. A world-renowned distiller, brewer, designer and educator, Hall is also a Senior Member of The European Institute and Guild of Brewing. He has trained more than 100 brewers and distillers during his career and has also designed, built and installed over 60 breweries and distilleries around from as far way as Siberia to the Bahamas, as well as several here in Michigan.

Civilized Spirits are produced through the grand collaboration between Hall and brewer/distiller Ron Jeffries, handcrafted from the fruit of the Northern Michigan landscape. Grapes are picked from vineyards on the property, as well as from throughout Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas; cherries are harvested from the Old Mission Peninsula, while sugar beets are grown in the fertile soils downstate in Eastern Michigan near Saginaw/Bay City. Locally-grown ingredients such as these enable Hall to distill remarkable vodka, sakura, whiskey, gin and rum, with unique character, smoothness and flavor.

“Jon and I grew up on the Old Mission Peninsula,” recalls Greg Lobdell, who – along with Jon Carlson, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company, in Traverse City – the parent company for Civilized Spirits. “As children, we used to pick buckets of cherries and set up a stand downtown on Front Street and sell them during the Cherry Festival parade. I remember picking cherries for two days and then working all day selling them at the parade. I think we brought home $12 for the three days work and we were the happiest kids in the world. It is only fitting that we are now distilling cherries from the same trees on Old Mission Peninsula, making Sakura, and distributing it throughout the state.”

CIVILIZED SPIRIT DESCRIPTIONS:

VODKA (Percent Alcohol: 40 | Proof: 80) — Smooth as the bay waters at daybreak, subtle as a fleeting wisp of cool summer breeze. Proper manners dictate you put on your good shirt for Civilized Vodka, even though it will always extend you the courtesy of its company, and clean finish. Descended from wine borne of Northern Michigan Riesling vines, this vodka graciously hints at its ingredients with a bouquet of grape and clean finish. And finish it off is what you’ll be tempted to do. Distilled in the ways of the north woods, every bottle of Civilized Vodka has the social graces to complement and enhance the flavors of any cocktail or confidently stand alone. This vodka is as pure as the spring water at its heart and as approachable as the community in which it’s made.

SAKURA (Percent Alcohol: 40 | Proof: 80) — Although the first cherry trees were planted in the 1600, we have Peter Dougherty to thank for making a good thing great. He searched for the perfect combination of rich soil and weather patterns that lend to healthy cherry trees for the best tasting cherries on the planet. He was the first to bring cherry pits to the Old Mission Peninsula in 1852. This cherry vodka is hand-crafted in a custom-built still and with each level of distillation, the purest spirit rains though the 23 caps and trays of the still. The distillation of cherries from Traverse City’s finest orchards is expensive, but it produces a character that is unmatched. The distilled cherries blend well with our distilled vodka and the natural cherry flavor renders it delightfully smooth, with a cherry nose and distinct cherry sweetness. This cherry flavored vodka is perfect for sipping or mixing!

Northern United Brewing Co. encompasses the North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the Bonafide Wines and Civilized Spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices. All of the NUBC beverages are produced at either the 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter. Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.

www.civilizedspirits.com
www.facebook.com/civilizedspirits
www.drinkcivilized.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Michigan's Homestead Resort Offers the Friendliest Family Pricing

The Homestead announced today that it is taking strong steps to encourage families to ski and ride – kids 17 and under will ski and ride free.

There are only three restrictions and there’s no fine print. The restrictions are:

• The family must be registered guests at The Homestead.
• At least one parent must have purchased a same day, all day lift ticket.
• Proof of relationship must be presented.

This offer is available every day of the season, including holidays, as there are no blackout dates. Call 231.334.5100 for reservations.

Jamie Jewell, a Vice President of the resort stated: “Industry research showed that younger people are not pursuing outdoor winter recreation opportunities that lead to healthy, lifetime skills. This goal of this offering was to make those outdoor opportunities accessible to families with the next generation of skiers and riders." Those first time visitors who pursue this opportunity will discover a place that’s luxurious yet relaxed, nearby yet far away. They’ll also discover the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the place the viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America chose as “America’s Most Beautiful Place.”

Repeat visitors will be welcomed back with a gift commemorating ABC’s recognition. While here, they will see and enjoy new facilities and services made possible with $1.5 million in improvements that were made to the property this year.

www.TheHomesteadResort.com

Monday, December 5, 2011

Enjoy the Tastes of the Season with North Peak’s Blitzen Festivus Ale

Just in time for the holidays, North Peak’s delivers its latest seasonal brew: Blitzen Festivus Ale – a gift to celebrate a joyous holiday feast from the enchanting Northern Magical Wood Elf.

The raisin, currant and berry notes in Blitzen are attributed to Bramling Cross hops, three types of Crystal malts, cara and Chocolate malt, which rounds out the flavors and aromas, with a hint of burnt sugar and chocolate. A combination of citrus peel and citrus pith flavors are accented by Hercules, Cascade and Pilgrim hops added throughout the boil. The subtle spiciness of Riwaka’s hops, combined with the crisp spiciness from rye malt, presents liberated flavors, reminiscent of savory holiday cakes.

Blitzen, like all of the North Peak beverages, is born out of Northern lore,” says Jon Carlson, who – along with Greg Lobdell, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall, are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company, in Traverse City. “We created this beer to celebrate the holiday season this winter! It is the perfect beer to drink while competing in ‘Feats of Strength’ or to share with your loved ones during the ‘Airing of Grievances.’"

With 55 IBUs and 6.8% ABV, the well-balanced Blitzen warms the palate and soul, awakening memories of holidays past. As with the other North Peak beers, it is brewed incorporating locally-grown hops on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. Blitzen is available through the holiday season. Find it on draft and in six-pack stubby bottles throughout Michigan and Ohio, wherever your favorite North Peak beers are sold.

The North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the soon-to-be-released Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.


Northern United Brewing Company
Jolly Pumpkin Brewery | Mission Table at Bowers Harbor Inn
13512 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 223-4222
www.NorthPeakBeer.com
www.MissionTable.net

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reserve Wine & Food Boasts One of the World's Largest Cruvinet Wine Systems

Reserve Wine & Food is home to one of the country’s largest cruvinet systems, holding 102 wines that are served by the glass. As the focal point of the bar area, the cruvinet system – with its hand-blown glass from local artist Joe Sherry – stretches some 36 feet (3 rows, 12 feet each) and is proudly displayed under the 2009 ArtPrize winning entry, Open Water, by Ran Ortner.

The cruvinet is a custom-build, temperature-controlled wine preservation system that works much like a keg system for beer taps. The cruvinet pumps nitrogen into the bottle of wine as wine is poured through a different set of tubing. This creates a barrier of gas between the wine and potential oxygen, therefore, extending the life of the wine for as long as six weeks.

“This intricate wine preservation system extends the life of wine exponentially, giving Reserve the liberty to offer a wider range of varietals and price points,” says Peter Marantette, General Manager. “We can now pour a bottle that other restaurants wouldn’t dream of opening, for fear that they wouldn’t sell it before the wine turned.”

There are only a handful of restaurants and bars in Michigan that use a cruvinet system, most of those under 25 taps. Even on a national and international scale, few are as impressive as that which Reserve operates – most claim between 25 and 55 taps. The Ristorante Panorama inside Philadelphia’s Penn’s View Hotel has a 120-bottle cruvinet system and is believe to hold the “Guiness Book of World Records” for the largest system of its kind in the nation.

“To the best of my knowledge, the cruvinet in Pennsylvania is the only system out there that is larger than Reserve’s,” Marantette says. “We definitely operate the largest system of this kind in Michigan and the Midwest.”

Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at 201 Monroe Avenue NW, Reserve Wine & Food offers a world-class menu fully embracing the West Michigan farm-to-table philosophy, paired with over 100 wines available by the glass and 200 wines by the bottle, in an elegant yet casual fine dining setting. In the fall of 2011, Reserve was named a winner of OpenTable Diner’s Choice Awards for Top Wine Lists in the United States, one of only two restaurants in Michigan to be recognized.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attendance Jumps More Than 12% at 4th Annual GR International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

Organizers of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival are happy to report that attendance jumped more than 12% – to some 12,000 people – for their fourth-annual event, which was held November 17-19 in the elegant 40,000-square-foot Steelcase Ballroom inside DeVos Place. That’s four consecutive years of growth – in terms of both attendees and exhibitors.

“Grand Rapids is the perfect size city for this type of event,” says Henri Boucher, show producer. “It comes alive because it’s such a dynamic downtown – an area that is the envy of all of Michigan. We’re proud to host this event, which is the true kickoff to the holiday season.”

Considered the largest food and beverage festival in the state and one of the premier events of its kind in the Midwest, the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival has shown steady growth since its first year in 2008. That year, some 8000 people attended the festival. In 2009, organizers welcomed a 30% increase in the number of exhibitors and beverages, and twice as many restaurants – welcoming nearly 10,000 guests throughout the three-day festival. Close to 11,000 attendees were reported in 2010.

“This fourth annual event once again exceeded our expectations,” says Richard MacKeigan, Regional General Manager, DeVos Place, DeVos Performance Hall & Van Andel Arena. “We believe we are in the early stages of an event that will be around for a long, long, time. Comments from exhibitors, sponsors and most importantly guests have determined that 2011 was a grand success. The feeling seems to be that the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer and Food Festival is another great reason why Grand Rapids is such a great city to live and work in.”

The three-day festival spotlights more than a dozen restaurants; hundreds of wineries, breweries, distilleries and thousands of their products; countless local businesses; and the area’s leading industry experts who deliver countless seminars, workshops and demonstrations at no added cost to attendees. Dates for 2012 are moved up a week, to November 8-10.

“We are proud to produce the finest wine festival in the Midwest,” says show manager, Cathleen McDonald. “It comes together because of the great exhibitors – wineries, breweries distributors, restaurants and retailers – that we have the pleasure of working with.”

COMMENTS FROM EXHIBITORS
“The event far exceeded our expectations,” says Brad Dahlhofer of the Michigan-based B. Nektar Meadery, who made his first appearance at the festival this year. “The response to our Zombie Killer cherry cyser was off the charts. We'll definitely be there next year!”

“What a great way for us to get our name out to the West Michigan community,” says Theresa Arkesteyn of Great Lakes Pierogies, who was also new to the show this year. “The amount of visibility we received exceeded our expectations! We had great time serving our pierogies to the public and had great response from all! Can't wait till next year!!!”
“We received very positive feedback and our products sampled well as we had a consistent line the entire event,” says Jennifer Baranska, representing Buitoni. “Our intention was to target potential Buitoni customers and drive total brand category awareness in the Grand Rapids local market… it was an extremely successful event. I cannot wait until next year.”

“We had a great show and the traffic was super on Friday and Saturday, [with] quality attendees who were fun to talk to and very receptive to tasting,” says Mike Freestone, owner of Good Life Granola, who exhibited in the Riverfront Marketplace for the second consecutive year. “I look forward to being there next year and would love the same spot...two thumbs up!”

COMMENTS FROM ATTENDEES
“I loved the show! A great way to meet innovators and businessmen and women who are bringing outstanding products to Michigan.” ~Rebecca Eyke, editor of Michigan HOME & Lifestyle Magazine

“Thank you, Fred, and Gail Ambrosius, for creating a wonderful and inspiring experience. This seminar was the highlight of our visit!” ~Jennifer Reed, via Facebook

“My family and I had a GREAT time for the third year in a row. Thanks for a memorable experience! Sadly, however, I dropped by beer glass on the way to the car :( It was lovely while it lasted though, nice addition to the usual wine glasses.” ~Kaitlyn Winter, via Facebook

“Had a great time last night and enjoyed all the wine choices I selected.” ~Lisa Baird Karafa, via Facebook

“Dear Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival, You were absolutely fantastic tonight!! thank you for the fabulous everything!!” ~Marco Riolo, via Facebook
“Sorry for cutting in front of everybody at the coat check last night I was just so excited.” ~Keith Lefteye Allard, via Facebook
“Went for the wine, but stayed for the beers! What a great time Grand Rapids International Wine & Food Festival!” ~Nick Dionne, via Facebook

www.GRWineFestival.com
www.facebook.com/grwinefestival
www.twitter.com/grwinefestival

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saugatuck Brewing Company launches "The Singapore Room"

In the facility previously known as the “Bier Hall”, SBC has upgraded décor, expanded services and has hired Jodie Howitt to serve exclusively as Event Coordinator for the newly named “Singapore Room”. Jodie comes to SBC with a strong hospitality background, having planned all aspects of special events for Fortune 500 companies as well as many wedding ceremonies and receptions. The Singapore Room is a full service banquet facility complete with bar, stage, dance floor and multiple lighting options and can accommodate well over 200 seated guests. A Grand Opening is planned for Fri. Nov. 18th 5:30-9:30. This will be an open house featuring SBC beer, wine and appetizers.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is a microbrewery with a traditional Irish style pub and upscale banquet room that features hand crafted beer, wine, food, and service. Fifteen unique beer styles, all brewed in house, plus wine and hard cider are served daily in the Pub. “SBC” also distributes five styles in 6 and 4-packs throughout lower Michigan. The brewery also features the only active brew-on-premise facility in Michigan, utilizing five copper kettles and an array of natural ingredients and recipes, for the public to become “Brewmaster for a Day.”

Saugatuck Brewing Company
2948 Blue Star Hwy. – Douglas, MI 49406
(269) 857-7222
www.saugatuckbrewing.com
www.facebook.com/saugatuckbrewingcompany

Monday, October 31, 2011

Reserve Wine & Food in GR Receives OpenTable “Diner’s Choice Award” for Top Wine List

Reserve Wine & Food in Grand Rapids has been named a winner of OpenTable Diner’s Choice Awards for Top Wine Lists in the United States. The list of 50 winners is derived from more than 10 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Reserve is one of only two restaurants in Michigan to make the list; the other is Vinology in Ann Arbor.

“We are very pleased to be recognized by OpenTable for our wine list,” says Peter Marantette, Sommelier and General Manager of Reserve Wine & Food. “We have worked hard to create a wine list that fits into our guests’ everyday lives, while also providing selections for those extra special occasions.”

Reserve Wine & Food is home to one of the country’s largest cruvinet systems, holding 102 wines that are served by the glass. This intricate wine preservation system extends the life of wine exponentially, giving Reserve the liberty to offer a wider range of varietals and price points.

“We can now pour bottle wine by the glass, something that other restaurants wouldn’t dream of opening, for fear they wouldn’t sell it before the wine turned,” Marantette says.

An additional 200 wines are available by the bottle at Reserve, including local, domestic and international favorites, as well as many exclusive and hard-to-find wines.

“The sommeliers at the winning restaurants put as much passion into carefully curating their wine lists as chefs put into their menus,” says Caroline Potter, OpenTable Chief Dining Officer. “We’re so proud to be able to honor the winners and their commitment to building wine lists that excite and educate diners seeking the ultimate compliment to their meal.”

Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between October 2010 and September 2011, some 50 award-winning restaurants received the highest scores. For more information about all restaurants on the list, visit www.OpenTable.com/wine.

OpenTable is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners, and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants. OpenTable has more than 20,000 restaurant customers, and since its inception in 1998, has seated more than 200 million diners around the world. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA and services are available throughout the United States, as well as Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at 201 Monroe Avenue NW, Reserve Wine & Food offers a world-class menu fully embracing the West Michigan farm-to-table philosophy, paired with over 100 wines available by the glass and 200 wines by the bottle, in an elegant yet casual fine dining setting. (616-855-WINE | www.ReserveGR.com)

www.facebook.com/ReserveGR
www.twitter.com/ReserveGR

Cherry Tree Inn & Suites in TC Hosts Fall Women’s Weekend, November 11-12

Grab your sisters, mother, aunts and girlfriends for the “November Women’s Weekend,” November 11-12, at the Cherry Tree Inn & Suites on East Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City.

Featuring a Friday night reception (with a prize-winning game, complimentary wine and massages), discounts to local shopping and restaurants, and multiple classes on Saturday, this weekend is sure to be a hoot for you and your gal pals. Classes will include a variety of offerings from making you sweat to pampering you just right. Best of all, after all this spoiling by the Cherry Tree Family, you'll still have plenty of time on Saturday to enjoy Traverse City's shops, wineries, restaurants, and more.

Rates start at $79 per person for the entire weekend based on four-person occupancy; only $99 per person for the entire weekend based on two-person occupancy.

Reservations are being accepted now, online at www.cherrytreeinn.com or by calling (800) 439-3093.

As a top Traverse City resort, the Cherry Tree Inn & Suites leads in service, cleanliness and comfort. With 400 feet of East Grand Traverse Bay waterfront, the Cherry Tree’s smoke-free facilities provide the comfort you look for while our staff provides the service you need. Amenities include a complimentary hot breakfast, complimentary wireless Internet access, an indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna, fitness and arcade rooms, and kitchenettes and Sony Playstation 2’s in every room.

Cherry Tree Inn & Suites2345 US 31 N
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
(800) 439-3093

www.cherrytreeinn.com
www.facebook.com/CherryTreeInnTraverseCity

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reserve Wine & Food to Host Signature Wine Auction to Benefit Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Autographs from some of Grand Rapids’ most prominent business and community leaders will be “up for bid” during the Signature Wine Auction to be held next fall – Thursday, October 18, 2012 – at Reserve Wine & Food. The auction will raise awareness and dollars for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

“I wanted to find a way to recognize our community leaders – those who have helped shape Grand Rapids’ future and put this city on the map,” says local radio personality and children’s advocate Kevin Matthews, who first came up with the idea after a meeting with friends Dick and Betsy DeVos. “This exciting fundraiser will not only showcase these individuals and their accomplishments, but it will raise much needed funds and public awareness for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.”

During the Signature Wine Auction, attendees will participate in silent bidding on as many as 50 1.5L magnum bottles of wine, each displaying a custom label autographed by the community’s top leaders in business, as well as state and local celebrities. A live auction will conclude the evening, as guests bid on a bottle to be autographed by all in attendance that evening. The goal is to raise at least $30,000 during the course of the evening.

Tickets to the Signature Wine Auction will go on sale September 13, 2012 and will be $100 each. Space will be limited to 80 individuals. The event will be held from 6-9pm on Thursday, October 18 in the upper level of Reserve Wine & Food.

“We are honored to be the host venue for this inaugural event,” says Peter Marantette, General Manager at Reserve Wine & Food. “We expect this to be the first of many such events, which will bring together those who appreciate good food and wine and who are also willing and able to contribute to such a worthy organization as the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.”

About the charity:
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, a member of Spectrum Health, is a Grand Rapids-based hospital serving children throughout Michigan. A teaching hospital, it includes more than 200 pediatric specialty physicians with specialized training in providing medical and surgical care to children in more than 40 pediatric specialties.

About the venue:
Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at 201 Monroe Avenue NW, Reserve offers a world-class menu fully embracing the West Michigan farm-to-table philosophy, paired with over 100 wines available by the glass and 200 wines by the bottle, in an elegant yet casual fine dining setting.

www.SignatureWineAuction.org

www.ReserveGR.com

www.helendevoschildrens.org

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Michigan Made Harvest Beers Highlight Fall Season

The autumn season brings an abundance of things to the Great Lakes State – like fall colors, harvest festivals and a variety of pumpkin, apple and harvest-themed beer. While the recipes may be similar, there’s always a touch of something unique in each of these fall brews – including the originality of the names. Michigan made harvest brews available for 2011 include:

Arcadia Ales
Jaw-Jacker (6% ABV). Grandma's pumpkin pie never tasted this good. This fall seasonal is a celebration of harvest time and the changing of the seasons. Using only the finest malted barley and a touch of wheat, Jaw-Jacker pours a brilliant orange-amber color with truly unique flavors. Although no pumpkins are actually used, a blend of nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon work with the malty flavors to create a bold flavor reminiscent of pumpkin pie. A light hop note balances out the beer nicely. This seasonal beer, available for a limited time on draft and in 6-pack, 12oz glass bottles, is a favorite for harvest festivals, Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dinner. It pairs well with boiled brisket with root veggies, roast duck or turkey, pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie, with vanilla bean ice cream.

Atwater Brewery

**Blocktoberfest (6.3% ABV). Our interpretation of the German style Marzen. Similar to the Oktoberfest style, but stronger and hoppier. A two-time silver medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival tells you this beer is strong, hoppy and thirst quenching. Brewed with Munich, 2 row and Cara 120 malts, along with Perle and Hersbrucker hops.

**VoodooVator (8.5% ABV). Atwater's Dopplebock. it’s a little drier and stronger than the normal dopplebock and we like it that way. Brewed traditionally in the winter for springtime, but we make it for the fall just in time for Halloween!! This nutty sweet caramelly beer is brewed for six months of the year for your pure enjoyment. Brewed with Munich, 2 row and Cara 120 malts and Aurora and Hersbrucker hops

Bastone Brewery

Rocktoberfest (5.5% ABV) A celebrated beer of the season. Named for Brewmaster Rockne Van Meter, it is Bastone’s most popular seasonal and a World Beer Championship medal winner from 2008 and 2009. This Oktoberfest style lager is light copper in color, with a light tan head and slight caramel and toasty flavors. Purchase Rocktoberfest, or any Bastone beer, in a Limited edition Oktoberfest pint glass for $5 while they last.

Bell’s Brewery

Octoberfest Beer (5.5% ABV). Crafted as a flavorful session beer, Bell's Octoberfest Beer is perfect for a week-long wedding celebration in Germany or the start of the Michigan autumn. As with Bell's Lager Beer, Octoberfest spends a full six weeks maturing in the fermentation vessels. Unlike its cousin, Octoberfest trades in the assertive hop presence for a focus on a light caramel malt note, lending body without too much sweetness. Available on draft and in bottles.

Blue Cow Café

Pumpkin Chunkin Ale (6.3% ABV). Simplistic grain background is accentuated by a few German specialty malts that compliment but do not overpower the earthy flavors that large quantities of 100% natural pumpkin bring to the party. Freshly ground nutmeg and whole cinnamon sticks are added to the boil to give the finished product a more well rounded easily identifiable fall harvest taste and aroma. This is not a sweet beer, this is not a spice beer, this not a niche beer, this is a beer in which every flavor lives in perfect balance and does not overstay its welcome. This is, simply put, a damn good beer.

Cheboygan Brewing Company

Oktoberfest. Created after the Spaten Oktoberfest bier from Munich, Germany, this new introduction will be orange in hue with a notable hops presence and a large amount of German malt. This all gives a rich mouth feel and chewy malty body.

Founders Brewing

Harvest Ale. This liquid dream pours a hazy golden straw color with a white, two-finger head. Your first sip rewards you with a super juicy hop presence bursting with fresh citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones.

Great Baraboo

Pumpkin Spice (5.0% ABV). With pumpkin in the mash and boil, this beer also has cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and molasses added to the boil, giving it a medium body and orange color and an almost pumpkin pie aftertaste. A special batch with vanilla gives that pumpkin pie with whipped cream aftertaste.

Jolly Pumpkin, Dexter

La Parcela (5.9% ABV). OK, so the joke was Jolly Pumpkin doesn't brew a pumpkin beer! Well, now we do – just this one – No. 1 pumpkin beer. With hints of spice, and a gentle kiss of cacao to liven the soul, this oak-aged sour beer has real pumpkin added to the barrels during the aging process. An everyday easy way to fill your squashy quotient. Guess now folks will have to find something else to joke about!

Kuhnhenn Brewery

All Hallows Ale (6.0% ABV). All Hallows Ale is made with 100lbs. of hand roasted Michigan pumpkins per 8-barrel batch, which intensifies the squash character of this beer. That is over 6 pounds of pumpkin in each 1/2 barrel. It has hot cinnamon and pumpkin aromas. This Ale is medium-bodied and only slightly sweet. Its many spices hit the palate first and finishes with roasty pumpkin goodness.

Liberty Street Brewing Company

**Punkin Pie Ale (5.4% ABV). Clean tasting malty ale blended with everything you would expect from pumpkin pie. Our specialty malts give this beer a nice bready balance to make you think there is a crust. This is an easy drinking version of a lightly-hopped amber ale that is seasoned with a specially blended combination of spices. The caramel sweetness and bready character of the specialty malts mingle with the spices, to make you think you are eating an actual piece of pie. Try it at the pub with Guernsey's French Vanilla ice cream (Punkin' Pie ala mode). Available in our tasting room only, through the holiday season or while supplies last.

**Octoberfest Style Lager (5.8% ABV). Brewed with all German malts and hops, we used Munich style water and then lager for months before bringing this delicious seasonal lager to our taps. LSBC will release its Octoberfest style lager on Sunday, October 17 at 12:00 noon in conjunction with Detroit Beer Week.

Michigan Brewing Company

Screamin’ Pumpkin Spiced Ale (5.0% ABV). This amber-colored, spice-packed ale is brewed with three different malts, Michgian winter wheat and real pumpkin mixed in at the boil, which makes it a true celebration of the fall harvest. Often described as “pumpkin pie in a pint glass,” this ale is the perfect combination of comforting aroma and sweetly-spiced flavor that makes it a scream at every Halloween party and the perfect complement to Thanksgiving dinner. Available on tap and in 12 ounce bottles.

New Holland Brewing

Ichabod (5.5% ABV). As fall brings color to our trees, a chill to our evenings and countless aromas of the changing season, we instinctively look for early harvest flavors on our plate and in our glass. Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. It befits any autumnal adventure, including mysterious rides through the hollow, and pairs well with autumnal foods such as poultry and root vegetables. After dinner, try it with your favorite dessert. Available on tap and in bottles through November.

North Peak Beer

**Hooligan (5.5% ABV). Tired of having to decide between your favorite pumpkin beer and IPA? Well fret no more! Enter the Hooligan; your new favorite hoppy pumpkin beer. All the spicy pumpkin goodness one could ask for, brewed with real pumpkin and fresh spices, and did we mention hops!

**Hoodoo (9.0% ABV). Brewed with fresh from the farm Michigan hops for flavor unparalleled. Given its strong malt backed spine we gave this Hoodoo hops to run. Starts hoppy, ends hoppy, and nuthin' but hops in the middle - well OK, a little malt in the middle, too. Just enough to keep this Hoodoo from getting fussy, though, so not to worry - pretty much nuthin' but hops.

Right Brain Brewery

Pomona Pumpkin Ale (5.5% ABV). The Pomona Pumpkin Ale is certainly a no brainer, right brained, seasonal brew. It’s mashed with locally sourced fresh pumpkins and a secret blend of harvest spices. This isn’t your Grandma’s pumpkin pie! The base is a deliciously-smooth amber ale with a flavor the highlights the wonderful fall harvest. This brew should hit our pub in early to mid October depending on the harvest. How long it will last is up to the thirst of the people!

Short’s Brewing, Bellaire

Funkin Punkin (5.6% ABV). A seasonal blend of pumpkin, spices, and carefully formulated ale. Notably aromatic of pumpkin pie, and the color of a light pastel brown, this brew is especially true of ale and comfortably consumable. Brewed with real pumpkin and real spice, it’s still very much a beer, but beautifully engineered with spice, pumpkin and beer balance.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state.

For more information about the Michigan Brewers Guild, including a dates of upcoming events and a list of member micro-breweries, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.

www.facebook.com/michiganbrewersguild
www.twitter.com/MiBrewersGuild

Join us later this month:
3rd Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival
Saturday, October 22 (1-6pm)
Eastern Market – Detroit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Street Dance for Zombies: The Traverse City "Monster's Ball"


Ever heard of a Silent Disco?

Well, you wouldn’t actually hear it. It’s silent, right? But you could watch one on Oct. 29, when Traverse City adds yet another entry to its list of eldritch fall happenings: the first-ever Old Town Halloween Carnival and Monster’s Ball. And it’s a spooky sight to behold.

In a Silent Disco, dancers are issued wireless headphones through which music is broadcast via an FM transmitter. It’s the perfect eerie effect for a Halloween street party, since everyone appears to be moving to no discernible music at all. (An added benefit is that non-dancers don’t have to shout at each other over the music, and the neighbors don’t call the cops to report you for making a public nuisance.)

Already known among Halloween cognoscenti for its ghoulish 5K Zombie Run footrace, where shambling “zombie” runners chase down normal-looking “survivors,” and the unspeakable cuteness of its kid-friendly Downtown Halloween Walk, Traverse City seems determined to make itself the Halloween capital of the Midwest with yet another event.

Billed as “the largest Halloween event in Northern Michigan,” the Oct. 29 Halloween Carnival and Monster’s Ball is being assembled by Porterhouse Productions, which runs the successful Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival in August. As the name implies, it will be held in the city’s historic Old Town district, on Union Street between 7th and 8th streets.

"It's going to be so out of the park!" says promoter Sam Porter. "We tested this idea at the microbrew festival, and it caught on like wildfire -- we know we've got something really exciting here."

The “daylight” portion of the carnival starts with a Saturday morning “Monster Pancake Throwdown” – a contest among local chefs in this bastion of culinary competitiveness for the title of Best Pancake in Traverse City. Pancakes will be served out with a host of other locally-produced sausages, eggs, jams, syrups and ciders. Family-style fun continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a kids’ costume contest, a haunted bouncy castle, old-school carnival games, Halloween creatures, a pneumatic “virtual hearse ride,” a pumpkin pie-eating contest, performances by local bands and dancers and other fun.

But things really begin to happen after dark, when the streets are taken over by the Monster’s Ball, with local food, wines and microbrews, and music from live bands and DJs. Entertainment will include the last live performance of Michigan dance-rock group Ella Riot (this will be the band’s farewell show), a costume contest featuring premium prizes, and an all-night Silent Disco dance party featuring DJ Body Rock and Wally Sparks (of Ella Riot), DJ Dominate and others.

Tickets for Porterhouse Productions’ Old Town Halloween Carnival & Monsters’ Ball can be purchased online at www.porterhouseproductions.com . Admission for the Monster Pancake Throwdown and Halloween Carnival is $8 for attendees 13 and up and $ for children ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and under are free. Admission for the Monsters’ Ball is $20 in advance or $25 at the door (if not sold out in advance). The Monsters’ Ball is open to attendees ages 21 and over only – no exceptions.
For more information, visit www.porterhouseproductions.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/porterhouse.mi.

For help with lodging and dining options, and to learn about other adventures, activities and attractions in the Traverse City area, contact the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-TRAVERSE or on line at www.TraverseCity.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Brys Estate Hosts 2nd Annual Harvest Celebration - Every Saturday in October

You are invited to experience autumn on Old Mission Peninsula with the Brys Estate 2nd Annual Harvest Celebration, running from 11am to 6pm, every Saturday in October.

For $5 per person,* guests are given a large souvenir wine glass to use as they visit four different wine and food pairing stations throughout the tasting room, barrel rooms and winery cellar giving visitors a glimpse into the inner workings of the winery. Each wine will be paired with a small bite, created by Eileen Brys – including her famous dark chocolate brownies. The last wine sample, at the main bar, is “guest’s choice.”

The patio will be open for guests to enjoy their favorite wine by the glass, while soaking up the fall colors that will be exploding in every direction. Guests may even sneak a peak at the grapes being harvested in the estate vineyards that surround the tasting room.

“This Fall Harvest Tour was a hit last year and we expect it to be just as popular this season,” says Patrick Brys. “This year’s dates are October 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. On October 1 the winery will close at 5pm.”

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery is centrally located in the heart of the Old Mission Peninsula – situated on 80 acres with breathtaking views of East Grand Traverse Bay – in Traverse City, Michigan. This boutique winery began with the planting of 32 acres of European vinifera grapes in 2001 and opened the tasting room in May of 2005. Using the highest quality standards, Brys hand picks its grapes and hand crafts its small batch, single vineyard wines, giving attention to every detail during the crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling process. You are invited to visit Brys Estate's old world-style tasting room and new outdoor patio this summer to sample their International award-winning estate wines.


* Admission for current Wine Club Members is complimentary.


www.BrysEstate.com

North Peak Brewing Company Sponsors Free Screening of Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez Movie “The Way”

Viewing set for Wednesday, October 12 at 7pm - Michigan Theater, Downtown Ann Arbor

North Peak Brewing Company invites the public to enjoy a bottle of its Wanderer Session IPA, while enjoying a free screeing of the new movie “The Way” – starring Marting Sheen and Emilio Estevez, who also directs this poingnant film. The screening will be held at 7pm on Wednesday, October 12 at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor.

Following the 115-minute film (PG-13), Sheen and Estevez – who will be attending the screening – will answer questions and discuss the film with the audience.

Online reservations are required here. Tickets are limited to the first 300.

"The Way" is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends and the challenges we all face while navigating this ever changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emily Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James.

Rather than return home, Tom decides embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son's desire to finish the journey. Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. Along "The Way," Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own "issues" and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen) a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt) who is suffering from a bout of "writer's block."

From the unexpected and oftentimes, amusing experiences along "The Way," this unlikely quartet of misfits create an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through Tom's unresolved relationship with his son, discovers the difference between "The life we live and the life we choose".

Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, “The Way” was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.

More about the movie
http://theway-themovie.com
https://www.facebook.com/thewaythemovie
https://twitter.com/thewaythemovie

North Peak’s Wanderer
A wonderfully-refreshing Session IPA, brewed with locally-grown hops on Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. Session IPA is an exciting new style, balanced with malt and hop characters with a clean finish. Hopped with Perle, Willamette, Centennial and Citra that give it a citrus and pine finish, Wanderer is rounded out with a generous amount of dry-hopping with Citra hops to fill the nose to give it a light, clean and stimulating body. This combination of full-hop flavor and lower alcohol gives Wanderer a wonderful drinkability, allowing the craft beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or “session.”

North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the soon-to-be-released Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.

North Peak Brewing Company
www.NorthPeakBeer.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

West Michigan Signature Tour of Kitchens Takes an Inside Look at 18 Professionally-Designed Rooms - Saturday, October 8

Tour Presented by National Kitchen & Bath Association – West Michigan and Michigan HOME and Lifestyle Magazine to Benefit Gilda’s Club – Grand Rapids.

Step inside 18 of the area’s best professionally-designed kitchens during the West Michigan Signature Tour of Kitchens – Saturday, October 8. Presented by the West Michigan Chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and Michigan HOME and Lifestyle Magazine, the tour showcases the talents of more than a dozen NKBA designers and studios, and benefits Gilda’s Club – Grand Rapids.

“We are excited to be offering this unique ability to view kitchen designs from a variety of local professionals throughout West Michigan,” says John Valente, NKBA-West Michigan Chapter Representative. “We planned this event with the consumer in mind. This is a fantastic opportunity to view the final kitchen design in a home setting. This format may give you a different perspective on what is available from your local NKBA member showrooms.”

The Tour runs from 11 am to 7 pm and homes are located throughout west Michigan, Spring Lake and the greater Kalamazoo area.

“We are pleased to be involved in the West Michigan Signature Tour of Kitchens again,” says Dennis Stadel, publisher of Michigan HOME and Lifestyle Magazine. “Being able to showcase the finest designed custom kitchens fits perfectly with the style and mission of our magazine and the interests of our readers. Each home on the tour is featured in the fall issue of the Magazine, available at retail outlets statewide. The complete description and photo will help visitors get an early glimpse of what is offered on the tour.”

The kitchens on display are the best of the best in west Michigan designed by:

GREATER GRAND RAPIDS AREA
• Tru Kitchens
• DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen
• Lifestyle Kitchen Studio
• Williams Kitchen & Bath
• Kitchen Design Studio Inc.
• Woodways Inc.
• Hearthstone Design Studio
• Standard Kitchens

GREATER KALAMAZOO AREA
• Kalamazoo Custom Kitchens
• Scholten Kitchen & Bath

LAKESHORE
• Rycenga Building Center
• Woodways Inc.

Tickets for the West Michigan Signature Tour of Kitchens are $10 at the door of any home on the tour, or in advance at NKBA member retail outlets (see list above).

www.KitchenTour.org
www.facebook.com/SignatureKitchenTourWM

SPONSORS:
Gerrit's Appliance
Virginia Tile
Fifth Third Bank

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ford Brings the “Power of Choice” tour to GR; Unveils Local Driving Behaviors

(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich) -- Ford Motor Company showcased its Power of Choice Tour and clean vehicle lineup in Michigan today, where Ford’s all-electric vehicles hit Grand Rapids streets, along with hybrids and additional class-leading, fuel-efficient driving options. Ford is differentiating itself from competitors by offering a family of electrified vehicles and advanced engine options, all designed to meet today’s diverse range of driving needs.

“Fuel efficiency in my hometown of Grand Rapids and across the nation is a high priority for new car buyers right now, and consumers want options when it comes to green driving,” said Erich Merkle, U.S. Sales Analyst for Ford Motor Company. “Ford is meeting these consumer needs by offering a suite of fuel-efficient vehicles – from hybrids to electrics to ultra-efficient gas-powered cars. Even more, Ford is packing these vehicles with class-leading technology, giving consumers both exciting and cleaner driving choices.”

As part of the Power of Choice Tour, Ford recently conducted in-market, quantitative research to uncover key driving statistics and insights among Grand Rapids drivers. Results included:

• Lack of education for Grand Rapids residents, with regard to alternative fuel technologies

o 48% of residents surveyed did not know the difference between a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full battery electric vehicle

o Even though hybrid technology has been on the road for 15 years, one in five residents surveyed were unclear on what hybrid vehicle technology entails

o 39% of Grand Rapids residents surveyed do not know what flex fuel vehicles are or how they differ from petrol or compressed natural gas engine technologies

• 75% of those surveyed said an electric vehicle would fit their family’s needs, but 60% were not comfortable with a limited-range vehicle being their primary mode of transportation

• By far, Grand Rapids residents felt fuel efficiency was the most important factor when making a car purchase (41%), followed by brand loyalty (16%) and style (15%); Additionally, more than 25% of Grand Rapids residents surveyed were dissatisfied with their current fuel economy rating

• Saving money on gas was the most appealing aspect of a hybrid or electric vehicle, for area residents

• Grand Rapids residents’ driving habits included: 74% drive to work; 54% have a daily commute of less than 30 minutes; 86% drive more on weekends than weekdays; 45% cite traffic as biggest concern

Today, Ford shared this data and an overall industry analysis with Grand Rapids’ thought leaders and media, as part of a larger push to educate drivers on the range of fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies available. Attendees were offered test drives in the Transit Connect Electric – a small, fully-electric utility van which debuted in 2010, as well as numerous other clean driving vehicles. Additionally, the Focus Electric – Ford’s first zero-emission, all-electric passenger car coming in late 2011 – was on display.

Power of Choice
Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy, which includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and in Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and will launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year. In 2012, these models will be joined in North America by the new C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and the new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. This diverse range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

Beyond electrification, Ford continues to lead the industry in fuel efficient technology development, with a firm commitment from President and CEO Alan Mulally to bring each new Ford and Lincoln vehicle to market as a class or near-class leader in fuel efficiency and quality.

Ford is achieving this leadership in a variety of ways, including through advancements in the internal combustion engine with technology like EcoBoost, which combines direct injection into smaller engines and turbo-charging to give customers the power they want and the fuel efficiency they need. EcoBoost is a global Ford engine that provides affordable fuel efficiency for millions of drivers, increasing fuel economy up to 20 percent while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent. By the end of 2011, Ford will have built nearly 180,000 EcoBoost-powered vehicles in North America, and the engines will be offered in 90 percent of Ford vehicles by 2013. Ford holds more than 125 patents on its engine technology.

In addition to the EcoBoost engine offering, Ford’s recent line up of smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle sales have gained significant market share in key regions of the country. Vehicles like the all-new Ford Focus and the Fiesta both achieve 40 mpg or higher, boasting fuel economy that most hybrids don’t even achieve.

“Small car sales now account for 25% of vehicles sold in the U.S., compared to 19% in December 2010,” said Merkle. “We’ve seen this shift take place at Ford, with the Focus and Fiesta becoming the two fastest turning vehicles in our showrooms. In fact, Fiesta sales in August were up 76% and the Focus continues to perform beyond expectations.”

Green Driving Leadership
Ford has 14 vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy, more than any other full line auto maker. Additionally, Ford has four cars that achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg or higher, including Fiesta, Focus, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Thirteen Ford vehicles achieve an EPA-rated 30 mpg or higher.

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ford Motor Company is committed to delivering vehicles with the best or among the best fuel economy. Ford has 12 vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy - more than any other full-line automaker – giving consumers a real choice when choosing a vehicle that suits their needs and saves money at the pump.

Ford’s Power of Choice tour will be rolling through Grand Rapids to highlight Ford’s fuel efficient lineup and the new electrified vehicles that will be available in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013.

Ford’s Power of Choice tour - Grand Rapids includes:

WHO:
Erich Merkle, Product Strategy Communications Manager for Ford Motor

WHAT:
Power of Choice Vehicle and Technology Tour

WHERE:
Holiday Inn Downtown
310 Pearl Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Rogue Conference Room

WHEN:
Thursday, September 15th
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM – Presentation and Q and A
(Continental breakfast will be available throughout the presentation)

10:30 AM - 1:00 PM - Vehicle test drives and demonstrations.

Vehicle display includes the:

*Focus Electric (static)
*Transit Connect Electric (drivable)
*Fiesta (drivable)
*MKS with EcoBoost (drivable)
*Fusion Hybrid (drivable)
*Explorer (drivable)

INVITATION ONLY. For details, email Dianna Stampfler - Dianna@PromoteMichigan.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

North Peak Carves Out Latest Brew with Hooligan: A Hoppy Pumpkin Ale

Tired of having to choose between your favorite pumpkin beer and your favorite IPA when fall comes around? Well, fret no more. Enter the Hooligan – the new hoppy pumpkin beer from North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City. Coming in at 5.5%ABV with 35 IBUs, Hooligan is a real treat for beer lovers – just in time for the harvest season.

“It’s no trick. This brew delivers all the spicy pumpkin goodness one could ask for, along with a kick of hops,” says brewer Ron Jeffries, who along with brewer Mike Hall bring a combined 40 years of brewing experience to their North Peak beer recipes. “Hooligan is brewed with real pumpkin and fresh spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice, oh my). And, did we mention…hops? Hooligan is brimming with locally-grown hops.”

So who is this Hooligan you may ask? He is a legendary and impish figure who appears but once a year on Devil’s Night, October 30 – the night before Halloween. He lurks through the darkness, traipsing in the shadows from house to house with a rogue gait and a devilish grin on his face. This scoundrel is more mischievous than wicked, yet his reputation for mayhem is wildly known. Anyone who has woken up on Halloween morning to find their pumpkins smashed or yard toilet-papered is familiar with the antics of the Northern Michigan Hooligan.

Hooligan is available only on draft, now through October when the last pumpkin is smashed. Find it throughout Michigan and Ohio, wherever your favorite North Peak beers are sold.

The North Peak is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the soon-to-be-released Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.

www.NorthPeakBeer.com

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saugatuck Brewing Co.’s ESB/Amber awarded “Best in the Midwest”

The USBTC (United States Beer Tasting Championship) held their 17th annual Midwest regional competition in early August and has awarded 1st place in the Bitter/ESB category to Saugatuck Brewing Co., for their ESB/Amber. Over 120 beers in 11 categories were entered in this year’s competition. USBTC’s company overview states… “USBTC has but one simple mission, to find the best beers in America and share the results with you.” More information may be found at www.usbtc.com.

ESB/Amber (5.5%ABV | 25 IBUs) is a classic medium-bodied British-style Extra Special Bitter with an even balance of six different malts and Goldings, Tettenang and Williamette hops. This beer is one of SBC’s mainstay beers and is available on tap and in 6-packs throughout most of lower Michigan.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is a microbrewery with a traditional Irish style pub and German style bier hall. They feature hand crafted beer plus a full food menu and excellent service. Fifteen unique beer styles, all brewed in house, plus wine and hard cider are served daily in the family friendly Pub. “SBC” also distributes four beer styles in 6-packs throughout Michigan. The multi-purpose Bier Hall is a full-service banquet facility complete with bar, stage and multiple lighting options. Accommodating well over 200 seated guests, this venue is available for weddings, receptions, reunions, corporate events and concerts. The brewery also features the only active brew-on-premise facility in Michigan, utilizing five copper kettles and an array of natural ingredients and recipes, for the public to become “Brewmaster for a Day.”

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

www.saugatuckbrewing.com
www.facebook.com/saugatuckbrewingcompany

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Michigan Nature & History Lovers Will Fall for Camp Tosebo’s Autumn Allure

Nestled amidst more than 50 colorful acres of protected forests along the southern shore of Portage Lake, between Manistee and Onekama, sets a picturesque camp that has been welcoming visitors for generations. Founded in 1912 as a private camp for boys, Camp Tosebo is one of the most historic and treasured vacation retreats in Northern Michigan. Located just off the famed M22 scenic highway, this four-season destination provides the ideal setting to soak up the explosion of fall colors.

Within just a short drive of Camp Tosebo, visitors will find dozens of natural and historic sites waiting to be explored, camera in hand. A nearly 100-mile route, originally created by the West Michigan Tourist Association (www.wmta.org), takes travelers along the winding backroads of M22-, M115 and M55 through the nearby towns of Onekama, Pierport, Arcadia, Thompsonville, Kaleva, Brethren and Manistee.

Among the sites one can expect to find nearby are the Lake Bluff Audubon Center & Bird Sanctuary, the North Country Scenic Trail, Arcadia Overlook, Gwen Frostic Studios, the Bottle House Museum and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – recently named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by viewers of Good Morning America.

Listed with both the Michigan and National Register of Historic Places, Camp Tosebo boasts two lodging buildings which can collectively accommodate 20 guests.

Originally built as a dance pavilion, the 1893 Victorian-era Clubhouse with its covered porch easily accommodates 17 guests, with nine bedrooms and 7½ bathrooms five with antique claw-foot tubs. There’s plenty of space to spread out through the fully-equipped chef’s kitchen, dining hall, game room, library and large living room with a stone fireplace.

The rustic Trunk House – which once was a storage facility for the campers’ luggage – is a large, one-room studio with vaulted ceilings, living and dining areas, kitchenette, queen bed and twin bed, and a bathroom with a claw foot tub and shower.

Situated in the heart of the Manistee National Forest, Camp Tosebo is the ideal setting for a quiet autumn escape, where time is spent walking the trails, paddling the lake, catching up on a good book and relaxing in front of the fireplace. Whether planning a romantic weekend, a family reunion or group gathering, the outdoor splendor and indoor relaxation of Camp Tosebo cannot be compared. Find out for yourself!

www.Tosebo.com

Friday, September 2, 2011

Upcoming Fundraisers to Benefit Capital Campaign for Fulton Street Farmers Market Improvements

The Fulton Street Farmers Market (FSFM), located in the southeast corner of the Midtown Neighborhood, is the last remaining of three original Grand Rapids farmers markets established in the early 1900s. Originally constructed in 1922, the market has retained its regional popularity over the years. Drawing more than 8000 patrons per week during the peak of the season, the market generates millions of dollars worth of revenue for local growers each season.

With the recent influx in “buy local” initiatives, the Fulton Street Farmers Market is seeing a resurgence in both the number of participating growers and in customers. As such, the market is literally busting out at its seams. Earlier this year, a $2.0 million dollar “Our Goodness is Growing Campaign” was announced by the Midtown Neighborhood Association, which will generate funds to provide much needed infrastructure improvements to the space, including:

• Permanently covered, open-air sheds with increased water and electricity access points
• Reconstructed plaza with added space for seating, bicycle storage and vendor overflow
• A small LEED-certified building with indoor stalls for year round vending
• Traffic flow reconfiguration
• New parking area pavement, landscaping and striping
• Two sets of wheelchair-accessible restrooms
• Complete site re-grading to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards
• Upgraded heating / cooling systems, insulation and wiring
• Rebuilding of the east side retaining wall
• Storm water retention system reconstruction

“When complete, the renovated Market will offer a better overall experience, more capable of serving local neighbors, area shoppers and our regional farming vendors,” says Diane Griffin, Campaign Chair. “Most importantly, the facility upgrades will provide a space where people can continue to enjoy the finest in locally-grown food, flowers and other goods.”

To date, $1.6 million of the project funds have been raised, leaving just $400,000 to go. Thanks to the strong fundraising efforts and a dedicated group of community leaders and volunteers, organizers will break ground on the new facility in November and celebrate the grand re-opening in May, 2012.

Upcoming fundraising events to benefit the Fulton Street Farmers Market “Our Goodness is Growing” campaign include:

Friday, September 16 (6-9pm)
An Evening in the Neighborhood
From the Heart Yoga Center
714 Wealthy Street SE

Relax and enjoy a delicious dinner provided by local restaurants, using locally-grown goods, as well as local wine and cider pressed from West Michigan apples. Participate in the silent auction for local goods and services and listen to the music from Jimmie Stagger and local chef & blues guitarist Jim Powell and his son, Sam.

Tickets $50 each (including food & drinks) are available at:

o Fulton Street Farmers Market (in office near Fulton)
o From the Heart Yoga Center (on Wealthy)
o Jeffrey Richard Salon (on Wealthy)
o Art of the Table (on Wealthy)
o BarterTown Diner (on Jefferson)
o Grand Central Market (on Monroe Center)
o Or by calling 616-328-9547.

Tuesday, September 27 (11am-1pm | 4-8pm)
Brick Sale for Fulton Street Farmers Market
Grand Central Market
57 Monroe Center, Downtown Grand Rapids

Local singer/songwriter Susan Picking will provide music throughout the day. Purchase a brick or paver and have your name forever etched into the history of the market.

o Brick (2.5x8 inches | one line | 16 characters): $35
o Half Paver (4x8 inches | three lines | 14 characters per line): $50
o Full Paver (8x8 inches | four lines, 14 characters per line): $100

Wednesday, October 5 (11am-1pm | 4-8pm)
Brick Sale for Fulton Street Farmers Market
BarterTown Diner – 6 Jefferson Street


o Brick (2.5x8 inches | one line | 16 characters): $35
o Half Paver (4x8 inches | three lines | 14 characters per line): $50
o Full Paver (8x8 inches | four lines, 14 characters per line): $100

Wednesday, October 19 (5-9pm)
An Evening in the Piazza
Tre Cugini’s La Scala Banquet Room
125 Ottawa, Downtown Grand Rapids (Ledyard Building)

Enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by Tre Cugini’s culinary team – using locally-grown ingredients. Participate in the silent auction for goods and services donated by local businesses. A cash bar will be available.

Tickets $75 each (including food & drinks) are available at:

o Fulton Street Farmers Market (in office near Fulton)
o BarterTown Diner (on Jefferson)
o Grand Central Market (on Monroe Center)
o Or by calling 616-328-9547.

Owned by the City of Grand Rapids and managed by the 501(c)3 Midtown Neighborhood Association, improvements to the Market fall under the auspices of the Parks & Recreation Master Plan. All charitable gifts to the campaign are tax deductible to the full extent of state and federal law.

www.FultonStreetMarket.org
www.facebook.com/FultonStMarket
www.twitter.com/FultonStFarmers

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Circa Estate Winery Releases “Mosaic” – Michigan’s first Appassimento-style wine

Circa Estate Winery has announced the upcoming release of Michigan’s first commercially produced appassimento-style wine. Christened “Mosaic,” this dry white wine is a blend of white grape varieties that have been partially dried prior to fermentation.

“The great Amarone winemakers of Italy employ the appassimento technique,” says winemaker Margaret Bell. “Removing some of the water from the grape by partial drying leaves an amazing juice of concentrated flavors. What we have done is translate those methods to the wonderful, aromatic white wines of the Leelanau Peninsula.”

“Appassimento” involves bringing grapes inside after harvest and placing them on drying racks for a period of weeks or months, allowing moisture to slowly evaporate from the berries and producing a juice of pronounced character. The percentage of fermentable sugar in the berry is also increased.

“We used specially made white oak racks and kept the fruit in a controlled humidity environment, allowing us to control and monitor the rate and degree of evaporation. By weighing and tasting the berries weekly we were able to stop the process at the ideal time. Biting into the grapes was like a flavor dance on my tongue.” Bell says. “As with an artists’ mosaic, this wine is a piecing together of parts to create something unique and beautiful. It is a hand-crafted, unfiltered palette of flavors.”

Mosaic is the first wine being released under Circa’s new Artisan Series line of wines. These wines represent smaller production, limited release offerings which Bell will be producing in addition to Circa’s regular lineup of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Improvisation, Requisite and Cabernet Franc. The Artisan Series wine labels will feature reproductions of local artworks that comprise the Circa tasting room collection. The Mosaic label features the painting ‘Ebullience’ by Traverse City artist Charles Murphy.

Mosaic garnered its first gold medal at the recent Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition and is being shipped this week to members of the Circa Wine Society, prior to its public release on September 2. The Bells will be pouring the new wine and answering questions at a special release party from 6-10pm on Friday, September 2 on the Circa patio. Live music and small plates will round out the festivities.

Circa is located at 7788 East Horn Road in Lake Leelanau on the Leelanau Peninsula.

www.CircaWinery.com
www.facebook.com/CircaEstate

Friday, August 19, 2011

Brys Estate Wins “Hardings Cup” During 2011 Michigan Cab-Franc Challenge

For the second time in three years, Brys Estate’s 2007 Artisan Series Cabernet Franc has been awarded with the “Hardings Cup” – the coveted prize of the Michigan Cab-Franc Challenge. This vintage was also the top gold medal winner in 2009, during the inaugural year for the competition. Ironically, Brys’ 2007 Cabernet Franc was the 3rd place bronze medalists both years as well – tying this year with the 2005 Cab Franc from Free Run Cellars.

The Michigan Cab Franc Challenge, which was held Thursday, August 18 at the WK Kellogg Manor House on Gull Lake in Hickory Corners, is the brainchild of Terry Stingley of Harding’s Friendly markets in Kalamazoo.

“Winning this amazing award twice in the last three years shows my commitment to producing world class and varietally-correct Cabernet Francs. I am very pleased and am looking forward to walking a long road with this amazing varietal.” says Brys Estate winemaker Coenraad Stassen. “I’d also like to thank Terry Stingley and the Harding’s team for their ongoing dedication to Michigan wines in general and the Cab Franc varietal specifically. Our wine industry has continued to raise the bar when it comes to producing world-class wines, and competitions such as this allow us the platform on which to showcase the fruits of our labor.”

The Brys Estate medal-winning wines from the 2011 Michigan Cab Franc Challenge include:

• 2007 Artisan Series Cab Franc:
The 2007 Brys Estate Cabernet Franc showcases the terroir of our beautiful estate vineyard. It is rich and complex with plum and dark berry flavors. On the nose this wine has hints of cigar box, leather, and sweet mint. This wine offers a luscious mouth feel with hints of dark chocolate and berry. A soft white pepper spice on the finish completes this wine. Enjoy our Cabernet Franc with red meats, especially lamb, or any seasonal game, or simply by itself.

• 2007 Cab Franc:
The 2007 Brys Estate Cabernet Franc showcases the terroir of our beautiful estate vineyard. It is rich and complex with cherry and dark berry flavors. This wine offers a luscious mouth feel with hints of dark chocolate and berry. A soft spice on the finish completes this wine. Enjoy our Cabernet Franc with red meats, especially lamb, or any seasonal game, or simply by itself.

Other Michigan medalists for the 2011 competition include Domaine Berrien 2005, 2nd Place; Hickory Creek 2007, 4th Place; and Domaine Berrien 2002, 5th Place.

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery is centrally located in the heart of the Old Mission Peninsula – situated on 80 acres with breathtaking views of East Grand Traverse Bay – in Traverse City, Michigan. This boutique winery began with the planting of 32 acres of European vinifera grapes in 2001 and opened the tasting room in May of 2005. Using the highest quality standards, Brys hand picks its grapes and hand crafts its small batch, single vineyard wines, giving attention to every detail during the crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling process. You are invited to visit Brys Estate's old world-style tasting room and new outdoor patio this summer to sample their International award-winning estate wines.

www.BrysEstate.com
www.Facebook.com/BrysEstate
www.Twitter.com/BrysEstate

Thursday, August 18, 2011

4th Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival Planned for Sept 10 at Uncle John’s Cider Mill

More than one hundred different ciders and perries will be available for sampling from producers throughout the Great Lakes region at the 4th Annual Great Lakes Cider & Perry Festival, September 10, at Uncle John’s Cider Mill at 8614 N US 127, St. Johns – just north of Lansing. The festival is presented by the Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association.

A special VIP hour runs from 11am until Noon, which includes a special pour of cider from participating cideries and a unique cheese station featuring local and international selections. Special presentations from Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw from England and Dick Dunn, editor of the Cider Digest, are also planned. VIP admission is $25 and also includes a commemorative glass and 10 sample pours.

General festival admission runs from Noon to 5pm. At $15 per person, regular admission includes a commemorative glass and 10 sample pours. Group tickets are also available for general admission ($25 for 2 tickets | $40 for 4 tickets | $75 for 10 tickets). The group rate for VIP is $10 additional for each VIP admission. Members of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) and Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) trained staff receive free regular admission.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.greatlakescider.com/ciderfest.html

All profit proceeds from the festival benefit the Great Lake Cider & Perry Association (est. 2008). Find them online at www.GreatLakesCider.com.

www.facebook.com/GreatLakesCiderPerry
www.twitter.com/GreatLakesCider

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association (GLCPA) is a nonprofit organization formed to showcase and promote fermented apple and pear beverages and to help educate consumers and producers about them. Our members include both commercial and non-commercial producers, as well as affiliate members located outside the region. Come join us at one of our events and discover some of the finest North American ciders and perries!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tall Ship Manitou Offers Multi-Day Sailing Experiences on Grand Traverse Bay

You are invited to escape the daily grind of monotony, meetings and technology, by setting sail on a relaxing multi-day excursion on one of the Great Lakes most treasured bodies of water: Grand Traverse Bay. The Traverse Tall Ship Company is once again offering a series of educational and entertaining experiential cruises throughout the month of September aboard the Schooner Manitou.

• Astronomy Cruise (September 16-19, 2011).

Astronomer Mark Nussbaum will be our guide as we study the brilliant northern Michigan heavens. Hillsdale College professor and avid amateur astronomer Mark Nussbaum will be our guide to the moon and stars as we study the brilliant northern Michigan heavens.

Charting a course just like sailors centuries before, this is a weekend for those who are awed by the vast wonders of the sky. Passengers will see how the stars rise and set, just like the sun, and appear to circle around Polaris (the North Star) as the earth rotates. Passengers may bring their own small telescope or binoculars. A telescope and half-dozen pairs of binoculars will be aboard the ship for the group to share.

Nussbaum will provide star charts and discuss the distances and sizes of the stars and how it is that we are actually looking back in time as we view deeper into space. A professor of analytical chemistry and chemistry for non-science majors, Mark has taken courses in astronomy and astrophysics and has taught astronomy at the college level. He’s also led or assisted at outdoor viewing sessions on several occasions.

• Wine Tasting Cruise (September 23-26, 2011).

Explore the great wine regions of the world with Jerome Smith, Partner and Director of Sales for Select Fine Wine in Traverse City. Each evening aboard Manitou he will discuss the winemaking histories and taste the varietals from several different countries. Dinners will feature paired wines, chosen as a perfect complement to our meals.

Jerome has an extensive 30 year background in the wine industry, working at all levels of the trade. He started his career as a sommelier in top New York restaurants, has managed fine wine wholesalers and has worked as a national supplier. Today, Jerome is a partner and the Director of sales for Select Fine Wine, a national wine importer specializing in New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and Spain. Jerome holds an undergraduate degree in film and television from Michigan State University and a law degree from Fordham University. He is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Wine Specialist with the Society of Wine Educators. In addition, Jerome is a certified Spanish Wine Educator with the Wine Academy of Spain.

• Music Cruise (September 30-October 3, 2011).

Join us as we once again welcome renowned folk singer Lee Murdock aboard for four days of Great Lakes music, history, and lore. It’s always a treat to have Great Lakes folk singer Lee Murdock join us aboard Manitou as he brings the history, legends, and characters of the Great Lakes to life through song and story. This one usually brings back old friends who have sailed with us in years past…..an added bonus!

Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in the Great Lakes. There is an amazing timelessness in this music. Great Lakes songs are made of hard word, hard living, ships that go down and ships that come in. The music is grounded in the work song tradition, from the rugged days of lumberjacks and wooden sailing schooners.

Murdock comes alongside with ballads of contemporary commerce and revelry in the grand folk style. Lee's fans have discovered a sweetwater treasure in his songs about the Great Lakes, finding drama and inspiration in the lives of sailors and fishermen, lighthouse keepers, ghosts, shipwrecks, outlaws and everyday heroes.
As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

With a 60 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight in 12 double-bunk cabins), there is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), email and definitely no itinerary.

The cost for each of these multi-day windjammer excursions is $685 per person (all inclusive). To make reservations, call toll free 800-678-0383. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log onto www.tallshipsailing.com. (www.facebook.com/TallShipManitou)