November 17-19, 2016Buy Tickets
Features & Attractions
It’s all about the wines!
The Elite Collection – Our consulting sommeliers, importing specialists and festival management have all reviewed the finest of the wines submitted for this year’s festival and designated this limited group of premium wines as some of the most “elite” wines of the world and at the Festival. Attendees are invited to visit the special ELITE COLLECTION feature area in the center of The Vineyard to sample some of these distinctive world-class wines. Tasting fees begin at a minimum of 10 tickets.
Last year’s ELITE COLLECTION was extremely popular and attendees were thrilled to savor the “best of the best.” This year’s selection is even more impressive and this is your opportunity to taste wines you’ve always wanted to experience.
All attendees can sample from the other 1200+ wines and compare them for the pleasure of your won palette. Whether you are looking for dry or sweet red, white, rose or sparkling varieties, they are all brought together from six continents to Grand Rapids for your enjoyment. Sample from the featured section of almost 200 wines from Michigan wineries as well.
Beer City Station
Step into the world of creative craft beers, imported and domestic brews, hard ciders, flavored malt beverages and food that pairs with both. Meet the brew masters whose products generate such passion and excitement. Over 250 new products and traditional favorites are offered for sampling.
Tap into the Cider Row at the Festival, featuring more than a dozen cider producers from Michigan and nationally-known brands. Hard cider is among the fastest growing craft beverages, on a national scale. It is fermented to produce a range of flavors – from dry to sweet to sparkling.
NEW to the Festival this year is a Craft Cocktail preparation area outside the Vineyard on the River Concourse. Two of Michigan’s finest distillers, New Holland Spirits and Copper Craft Distillery, will bring their best mixology specialists to host workshops with creative ingredients and then serve their creations for tasting tickets to attendees. Joining them in the GR Mixer area will be sampling and vending of cocktail mixers of all kinds and specialty garnishes.
The Ultimate Dining Experience
Grand Rapids’ and the surrounding area’s finest restaurants have been invited to provide “small plate” samples of their prize cuisine. The featured restaurants will be located throughout the Festival and designated by a knife and fork insignia. Use your tasting tickets to enjoy their special presentations. A perfect opportunity for an unparalleled dining experience. You will not leave the Festival hungry!
List of restaurants and menus available for sampling coming soon..
RendezBREW Coffee, Cordials and Dessert Cafe
Start your Festival experience, or make it a nightcap, with unique pairings of coffee and lattes brewed for your enjoyment with a variety of cordials, indulgent sweets and other treats. Available for the duration of the Festival in the Grand Gallery.
We have invited the area’s finest restaurants and partnered them with distinguished wineries, breweries and cideries as they prepare, present and serve gourmet multi-course meals. These casual settings offer chances to communicate with the chefs about their choices and decisions. Enjoy special exclusive multi-course pairings by the chefs and sommeliers of San Chez, Wolfgang Puck’s The Kitchen, Ganders, Reds, six.one.six and Vander Mill. Pairing tickets will be sold online in advance or on-site at the Festival at the Pairings Ticket booth.
Pairing Menus and tickets coming soon…
Grower’s Champagne Flights
Add a little extra class to your glass with an intimate tasting with Bradford Hammerschmidt from Imperial Beverage. These special flights offer champagnes you will not find anywhere else in the Festival. Each of the champagnes will be paired with specially selected cheese and crudités. Flights offered Saturday at 4pm and 7pm only.
Bradford Hammerschmidt is a 20 year veteran of the wine business and one of the founding partners of Imperial Beverage’s State Wide Distributor. Having lived and worked in Europe he developed a love for “Old World” wines and certainly is a proponent of estate bottled grower champagnes from the small family producers of Champagne, France.
Champagne Flight Menu and tickets coming soon…
Meijer Food Stage
Take a seat along the Meijer Food Stage as culinary leaders shows off their passion for cooking while sharing the latest trends and techniques for all to see. The presentations are included with your paid admission ticket.
Wine & Beer Seminars
What’s new in wine and beer? What are the latest trends? Professionals in the beverage industry offer a series of tutored tasting seminars on Friday and Saturday the Festival. The Seminar rooms are located just off of the Grand Gallery entry and are complimentary with your paid admission ticket.
Craft Cocktail Workshops
Blending together award-winning spirits and mixers into craft artisan cocktails, New Holland Artisan Spirits and Coppercraft Distillery’s noted mixologists and distillers will serve up hands-on workshops guaranteed to educate and entertain. These 15-minute workshops will amp up your bartending skills, just in time for holiday entertaining. Held in the new GR Mixer along the river concourse, each workshop is limited to the first 12 people who step up to the bar and the scheduled times.
Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet in the Vineyard
Boasting a who’s who lineup of regional players, the Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet plays straight ahead jazz, contemporary jazz and jazz fusion with a modern flair. Guitarist Steve Hilger fronts this ensemble with Steve Talaga on keys, Charlie Hoats on bass, Eddie Eicher on drums and John Gist on saxophone.
Steve’s Performance Schedule
Thursday: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Friday: 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: 1pm – 4pm and 5:30pm – 9:30pm
VALENTIGER at the Beer City Station Music Stage
Great beer. Great music. Relax with friends at the Beer City Station Music Stage! Enjoy a selection of fantastic beer while listening to VALENTIGER, who plays charismatic pop rock that caters to a wide variety of sensibilities. Carefully crafted and effortlessly orchestrated, their collective confidence as a band is as deserved as it is tongue-in-cheek. Their infusion of wit and humor with an enlightened cultural outlook creates a product as reflective of their individual personalities as it is cloaked in surprising wisdom.
VALENTIGER’s Performance Schedule
Thursday: 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Friday: 7pm – 10pm
Saturday: 2pm – 5pm and 6pm – 9pm
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 ~ 6pm – 9:30pm
Friday: Chris Laskos ~ 6pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: Alistair Beerens ~ 1pm – 4pm
Saturday: Sam Corbin ~ 5pm – 9pm
West Michigan Beer Round Panel presented by Experience Beer
Hosts Ben Darcie of Experience Beer and Gravel Bottom Brewery & Supply, and Pat Evans of the Grand Rapids Business Journal will host a live Q&A Session at the Festival on Thursday evening at 7pm. Participating breweries include Schmohz Brewing, Jaden James Brewing, Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery, Brewery Vivant, B.O.B.’s Brewery, Mitten Brewing, Pike 51, and Rockford Brewing.
Gold Medal Winning Wines
Gold Medal winners from the 2016 Tasters Guild International Wine Judging will be featured at the Festival, along with the winners from the Michigan Grape & Wine Industry Council! The Council is an 11-member group that supports the growth of the wine and wine grape industries in Michigan. New wineries are starting up in Michigan every year, wine grape acreage continues to grow, sales of Michigan wines are increasing, and the reputation of Michigan as a world-class wine region is gaining more national and international attention.
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 3:30pm. 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/