November 16-18, 2017Buy Tickets
Features & Attractions
It’s all about the wines!
Sample from 1500+ 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 100 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. Here, sommeliers from Tasters Guild International have hand-picked the finest premium wines and offer you a taste for a fraction of the price. Tasting fees begin at a minimum of 10 tickets for these distinctive world-class wines, 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. Two of Michigan’s award-winning distilleries, New Holland Artisan Spirits and Coppercraft Distillery, 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.
Traverse Wine Coast
Almost 40 unique wine destinations are closely located along the breathtaking shoreline of the Traverse Wine Coast. Two wine-friendly peninsulas, Leelanau and Old Mission, extend out into the waters of the Grand Traverse Bay and provide a fantastic backdrop of hills covered in vines. Discover the following Traverse Coast Wine Trail wineries while you are at the Festival: Aurora Cellars | Black Star Farms | Bonobo Winery | Bowers Harbor Vineyards | Brengman Brothers at Crain Hill Vineyards | Chateau Chantal | Chateau de Leelanau Vineyards & Winery | Chateau Fontaine | Chateau Grand Traverse | Good Harbor Vineyards | Hawthorne Vineyards | Leelanau Wine Cellars | Left Foot Charley | L. Mawby | M. Lawrence | Shady Lane Cellars | Traverse Bay Winery | Rove Estate Vineyard | Verterra Winery | Bluestone Vineyards
Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail
Explore the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail, right at the Festival! From deep reds to crisp whites, and everything in between, the flavors of these award-winning wines are as diverse as the wineries themselves.
The Ultimate Dining Experience
Bring your appetite to the Festival, because we’ve got you covered no matter what you’re craving. With nearly 14 of Grand Rapids’ 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 flavored malt beverages. Restaurants are designated throughout the Festival by a knife and fork insignia. Use your tasting tickets to enjoy their special presentations.
NEW this year! The public is invited to vote on which restaurant has prepared the best small plate sample at the Festival. Each restaurant booth will have information regarding how to vote on a specially designated website.
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, Gilly’s Smokehouse / B.O.B.’s Brewery, Nibi at FireKeepers Casino Hotel, Reds at Thousand Oaks, Rockwell Republic, San Chez, six.one.six., The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, and the Knickerbocker. 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.
NEW this year! The Festival’s Pairing restaurants will compete for Bragging Rights as the finest beverage and food pairing at the 2017 Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival. A collection of local food specialists will partake in enjoying the many pairings, consider the attributes of the match-up of beverage to food, and select the winner of the 2017 Festival Pairing Bragging Rights!
Tap Releases at Experience Beer in Beer City Station!
Stop by the Experience Beer booth in Beer City Station to sample a special tap release. The founder of Experience Beer, Ben Darcie, is the host of the booth and has scheduled some limited taps to be released throughout the Festival. Ben is an active Beer Writer and the Homebrew Shop Manager & Education Specialist at Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply in Ada, Michigan.
Thursday – 6pm: Liberty Street Brewing Co. – Eagle Eye Session IPA
Thursday – 8pm: Pigeon Hill Oatmeal Cream Pie
Friday – 5pm: Newaygo Brewing – Riverhouse Ale Saison
Friday – 7pm: Revolution Oktoberfest
Friday – 9pm: City Built Brewing – White Girls After Dark – Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout
Saturday – 2pm: Rockford – Hoplust IPA
Saturday – 4pm: Blackrocks Norskye Session IPA
Saturday – 6pm: Newaygo Brewing – Death Rye
Saturday – 8pm: Revolution – Mosaic Hero IPA
Meijer Food Stage
Take a seat along the Meijer Food Stage as culinary leaders show 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 at 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 Hemingway Hall along the river concourse, each workshop is limited to the first 12 people who step up to the bar and the scheduled times. Tasting tickets are required for sampling the cocktails.
The 2017 Beaujolais Nouveau Day
The third Thursday of November is the release date around the world for the most popular vin de primeur, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale: Beaujolais nouveau. On the Festival’s opening day, Thursday Nov. 16, the Tasters Guild will recognize this day by hosting a special pouring by the Elite Collection, presented by David Stanley and Meijer.
The Vineyard Music Stage featuring Melaphobix and the Steve Hilger Jazz Quartet
The Vineyard Music Stage Schedule:
Thursday: Melaphobix ∼ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Friday: Steve Hilger Jazz Quartet ∼ 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: Melaphobix ∼ 1:00pm – 4:00pm & 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.
Boasting a who’s who lineup of regional players, the Steve Hilger Jazz Quartet plays straight ahead jazz, contemporary jazz and jazz fusion with a modern flair. Guitarist Steve Hilger fronts his ensemble with Charlie Hoats on bass, Eddie Eicher on drums and John Gist on saxophone.
Beer City Station Music Stage featuring the Jake & Jimmy Band and Valentiger
Beer City Station Music Stage Schedule:
Thursday: The Jake & Jimmy Band ∼ 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Friday: The Jake & Jimmy Band ∼ 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Saturday: VALENTIGER ∼ 2:00pm – 5:00pm & 6:00pm – 9:00pm
The Jake & Jimmy Band plays the sounds of acoustic classic rock, pop and blues from musicians Jim Marcusse and Ron Keely.
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.
Sponsored by Stella Artois
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: Sam Corbin ~ 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Friday: Mark Sala ~ 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Saturday: Brant Satala ~ 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Saturday: Chris Laskos ~ 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Gold Medal Winning Wines
Gold Medal winners from the 2017 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 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/