Thursday, November 20, 2014

Convention/Arena Authority Presents 2014 Chairman’s Award to Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council

((L-r) Henri Boucher, ShowSpan; Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Director; Richard Rinvelt; Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Mark Esterman, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Steve Heacock, Convention Arena Authority; Karel Bush Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Staff; Michael Brenton, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Board; Gordon Wenk, Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council Chair.)

Michigan’s wine industry has been an integral part of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival since it was first held in 2008. To recognize this long-standing support, the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) will honor the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council with its 2014 Chairman’s Award. The honor will be presented on Thursday, November 20 at DeVos Place, during a kick-off reception to this year’s Festival and is sponsored by Clark Hill.

This year, 31 Michigan wineries will sample close to 250 wines, including many Gold Medal offerings from the 2014 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging and winners from the Michigan Gold Medal Wine Competition.

“Michigan’s award-winning wine industry has been an integral part of the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival since its early planning stages,” says Steven Heacock, CAA Chairman. “From samplings and pairings to seminars and workshops, the local wineries have helped us create memorable experiences for our guests. We are proud to recognize them this year with our ‘Chairman’s Award’ and look forward to many great years together.”

The actual award is a large wine glass (large enough to hold a bottle of wine), inscribed with the CAA logo at the top, then “Cheers! To Our Exceptional Community Partner” followed by the Michigan Wine Council’s logo.

“The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has been pleased to support the Grand Rapids Food, Wine and Beer Festival since its inception in 2008,” says Gordon Wenk, Chair of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “It is gratifying to see the number of Michigan wineries that participate each year. The event has had an important impact in raising awareness of the quality of Michigan wine among consumers.”

The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council is a 12-member panel that supports the growth of the grape and wine industry in Michigan. It is housed in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which is the official state agency charged with serving, promoting and protecting the food, agriculture and agricultural economic interests of the people of the state of Michigan.

In addition to the nearly three dozen Michigan wineries participating in this year’s Festival several tasting workshops are planned. Additionally, two of the Pairing restaurants will toast their local winemakers. Spinnaker and Reds on the River will each feature Gold Medal Michigan wines at their Pairings throughout the festival. Reds will showcase the Peninsula Cellars 2012 Late Harvest Riesling during the dessert course, paired with a Gala Apple Tarte Tatin. The Spinnaker will offer an award-winning Michigan wine selection with each of its courses.

Michigan Wine Facts:

• Michigan ranks #7 in the nation in wine grape acreage—at about 2650 acres.
• Michigan boasts four Federally-recognized viticultural appellations (Lake Michigan Shore, Fenn Valley, Old Mission Peninsula & Leelanau Peninsula).
• Riesling is the most widely planted wine grape, and Michigan is the only state/province in North America with that distinction.
• Michigan's 125+ winery tasting rooms welcome more than 2 million visitors to their tasting rooms each year and offer a truly Pure Michigan agri-tourism experience.
• Michigan ranks in the Top 10 states in the U.S. for wine production.
• Sales of Michigan wines in the state rose nearly 5 percent in 2013. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 12 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5%.
• Michigan’s wine and grape industries annually contribute more than $800 million to the state's economy.

Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award, which was first presented in 2011, include West Side Beer, Meijer and Gemini Publications. Clark Hill has been the primary sponsor of the award and the Chairman’s Reception, since both were first introduced.

Clark Hill PLC is an entrepreneurial, full-service law firm that provides business legal services, government and public affairs, and personal legal services to clients throughout the country. With offices in Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia, Clark Hill has more than 300 attorneys and professionals.
DeVos Place Convention Center is owned and operated by the CAA, a Michigan statutory authority, which is governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the County of Kent, the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the private sector. In addition to DeVos Place Convention Center, the CAA owns and operates DeVos Performance Hall and the Van Andel Arena. Kent County and the City of Grand Rapids established the CAA to encourage economic development and job creation in downtown Grand Rapids. The CAA has contracted with SMG, a private management company, to run day-to-day operations of the facilities.

The 7th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival – produced as a partnership of the CAA and Wine & Food Festival, Inc., using ShowSpan event production and personnel – is expected to draw more than 17,000+ individuals throughout the three days – making it the largest food and wine festival in the state and one of the premiere events of its kind in the Midwest.

*Attendance at this festival is for those 21 years of age and older. ID is required for admittance.*

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