November 15-17, 2018
Features & Attractions
It’s all about the wines!
Sample from 1200+ wines from around the world, six continents to be exact, in the Vineyard. It’s the largest tasting room experience you’ll ever find, with every variety under the sun. As you travel throughout the ballroom, you can sample sweet reds, dry whites, colorful rosés and bubbling sparkling wines and champagnes without ever leaving Grand Rapids. Over 200 Michigan wines are sure to impress and prompt future travels around the state.
The Elite Collection – Enhance your sampling experience and impress your family and friends with a stop at the Elite Collection, located in the center of the Vineyard. Savor the finest premium wines such as Opus 1 or Dom Perignon. Selections are made based on 90-point wine ratings, price point and sommelier recommendations. You can try these for a fraction of the full price of these bottles. Tasting fees begin at a minimum of 10 tickets for these distinctive world-class wines at the Elite Collection, which are normally only available by the bottle.
Beer City Station
Everyone is getting on board with the craft beverage scene, especially here in Michigan and more specifically Grand Rapids. Located inside Exhibit Hall C off of the Grand Gallery entry lobby, Beer City Station is home to hundreds of beers, ciders, and meads from around the United States and beyond. Meet the talented artists who craft these beverages and discover unique ways to pair them with your favorite snacks, meals and desserts.
Hard cider (or simply cider, as producers call it) dates back to the 17th and 18th century emigrants to America from the British Isles. Fermented apples (cider) was safer to drink than water at the time. Little did they know then that cider would become the fastest growing sector of the craft beverage market in the United States three centuries later. Michigan has a long-standing history in the apple industry and craft producers are serving up impressive award-winning ciders with vast flavor profiles. Sample from local, regional and national brands in Cider Row, located in Exhibit Hall C along with Beer City Station.
Internationally recognized author Ernest Hemingway’s love of Michigan and cocktails is legendary. The new Hemingway Hall pays tribute to his passion for craft – whether that was drinking, eating, writing or living life. Located outside of the Vineyard, along the Grand River concourse, craft producers and mixologists will showcase their finest spirits, mixers, garnishes and cocktails. One of Michigan’s award-winning distilleries, New Holland Artisan Spirits, will bring their show on the road to offer hands-on workshops featuring creative ingredients and tricks of the trade, and then serve their creations for tasting tickets.
The Ultimate Dining Experience
Bring your appetite to the Festival, because we’ve got you covered no matter what you’re craving. With the area’s favorite restaurants all under one roof, you’re sure to satisfy your hunger (and if you don’t you’re not trying hard enough). Spread out throughout the Vineyard, Beer City Station and the RendezBREW Café, these local eateries offer up an unparalleled progressive dining experience meant to pair perfectly with the thousand-plus wines, beers, spirits, ciders and specialty beverages. Restaurants are designated throughout the Festival by a knife and fork insignia. Use your tasting tickets to enjoy their special presentations.
RendezBREW Coffee, Cordials and Dessert Cafe
The popular gathering spot for the beginning, middle, or finale of your visit is where guests indulge their sweet cravings and discover new pairings; named, the RendezBREW Coffee, Cordials & Dessert Café. Coffee, teas and lattes are brewed on-site. Sip on cordials, savor chocolates, surrender to decadent offerings, and relax with soft musical sounds in the Grand Gallery.
Sit down and take a break from the action during one of the intimate multi-course Pairing dinners at the Festival. The area’s finest restaurants partner with distinguished wineries, breweries and distilleries as chefs prepare, present and serve gourmet meals paired with wine, beer and spirits. Featured restaurants include Black Star Farms, Reds at Thousand Oaks, six.one.six., and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. Pairing tickets will be sold online in advance or on-site at the Festival at the Pairings Ticket booth on a first-come, first-served basis.
Wine & Beer Tasting Sessions
What’s new in wine and beer? What are the latest trends? Professionals in the beverage industry offer a series of tutored tasting sessions on Friday and Saturday at the Festival. The rooms are located just off of the Grand Gallery entry and are complimentary with your paid admission ticket.
The Vineyard Music Stage featuring Melophobix
The Vineyard Music Stage Schedule:
Thursday: MELOPHOBIX ∼ 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday: MELOPHOBIX ∼ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: MELOPHOBIX ∼ 2:00pm – 5:00pm & 5:30pm – 9:30pm
The members of Melophobix are no strangers to the stage, which includes a seven-piece Funk/Rock/Reggae Fusion band. Within the group, they have accumulated decades’ worth of experience playing and performing across various cities, states and countries. Their influences stem from a plethora of genres and artists, which contributes to the band’s portfolio of original music. They are considered primarily an original band, but one can still enjoy their covers, which honor some of their favorites on music both past and present.
Beer City Station Music Stage featuring the Jake & Jimmy Band and Valentiger
Beer City Station Music Stage Schedule:
Thursday: The Jake & Jimmy Band ∼ 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday: VALENTIGER ∼ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: The Jake & Jimmy Band ∼ 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Saturday: VALENTIGER ~ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
The Jake & Jimmy Band has been a part of Beer City Station for several years now. The quartet’s eclectic and fun mix of blues and R&B standards, sprinkled with some new takes on classic and alt-country tunes provides an entertaining backdrop for your beverage sampling.
Grand Rapids rock/pop band VALENTIGER has ascended the ranks to become one of the area’s most popular live acts, exuding a collective confidence meshed with on-stage wit and humor, something that’s also reflected in the trio’s studio recordings.
Grand Gallery Music Stage
Need to recharge? Take a break at the RendezBREW seating area located in the Grand Gallery while enjoying music from talented musicians.
Grand Gallery Music Stage Schedule
Thursday: Mark Sala ~ 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday: Cody Bouchard ~ 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: Alistair Beerens ~ 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Saturday: Chris Laskos ~ 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Gold Medal Winning Wines
Gold Medal winners from the 2018 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging will be featured at the Festival. Look for the Gold Medal bottles in the individual displays (and identified in the program listings) to taste these International award-winning wines. For the past 40 years, the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council – operating under the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development – has hosted the state’s ultimate wine competition. The results are presented at the end of each summer and many of the Gold Medal wines (including several Best of Class) from Michigan’s five federally-recognized viticultural regions are available for sampling in the Vineyard.
The winning wines that will be available for tasting at the Festival are marked in the complete Wine, Beer & Spirits list. Look for the Gold Medal bottles at the wine displays to taste a winning wine!
Experience Grand Rapids and the Kent County Hospitality Association have teamed up to present the WAVE Awards at the Festival on Thursday at 4pm. WAVE stands for Way Above Visitor Expectations. This celebration is a ceremony with two components – 1) distinguish the WAVE Award winners, recognizing excellence in hospitality in Grand Rapids and Kent County, and 2) recognize the Certified Tourism Ambassador Star of the Year, who demonstrated exceptional customer service to Grand Rapids visitors.
For more information about WAVE Awards visit: www.waveaward.com
For more information about the CTA Program visit: www.experiencegr.com/experience-grand-rapids/cta/