From July 26th through the 28th, Traverse City will host a unique Northern Michigan event, City of Riesling, which celebrates Northern Michigan wine, food, books, film, and music. City of Riesling will be a multifaceted exploration of the versatile and exciting wine varietal and will be fittingly hosted in a regional riesling hotspot; the event will comprise a book release from acclaimed wine writer Stuart Pigott, a film premier, a gala, tastings at local wineries and dinners and tasting events at local restaurants, a symposium, and live music from Girls With Guitars. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or don’t know the first dang thing about riesling, this educational and energetic experience is not to be missed. Read on for info to help plan for this wonderful weekend of wine.
A Grape Guru in Our Midst
For global riesling expert Stuart Pigott, the varietal a way of life. “Riesling’s range goes from bone dry to honey sweet, from feather light to tongue heavy and every single gradation and combination of those things,” he says. “No other grape variety can do that.” Pigott has spent years journeying across what he calls “Planet Riesling,” which happens to include the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, among many other regions. As the featured guest of City of Riesling, he will be a busy guy all weekend: presenting his book Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story; premiering his short film Watch Your Back: A Riesling Movie; and hosting a tasting symposium at The Franklin called ‘Salon Riesling,’ which will feature analysis and discussion riesling and the grape’s ideal growing regions across the world. For Pigott, Traverse City is the ideal place to host City of Riesling with its reputation as a mecca of food, wine, and entertainment. “It’s fitting that Traverse City should be the location for the most ambitious presentation of my book, because it’s not only the center of one of America’s most innovative riesling regions, but also one of the most creative cities in the entire country.”
Eats, Tunes, and a Whole Bunch of Rieslings
On Saturday the 26th, there will be a riesling showcase held at various Traverse City restaurants and wineries. The following Sunday afternoon from 3–5 pm will be the Riesling Oyster Riot: an event hosted at the popular food truck destination The Little Fleet by chef Michael Peterson of Siren Hall, featuring flights of riesling and a plethora of oysters.
After that—from 5:30–10:30 pm—is the Night of 100 Rieslings. Following the premier of Watch Your Back: A Riesling Movie at Bijou By the Bay, attendees will be able to enjoy a gala in Clinch Park highlighted by a pop-up bar presenting, yes, one hundred kinds of rieslings. The bar will be tended by expert winemakers and sommeliers to help you understand the quality and significance of the rieslings available to sip. Restauranteur and advanced sommelier Amanda Danielson is the co-founder of City of Riesling along with Sean O’Keefe of Chateau Grand Traverse, and she thinks Night of 100 Rieslings is an opportunity to provide knowledge to visitors on the diversity of the wine. “Our goal is to educate the industry at every level about riesling first,” she says. “The fact that Michigan produces some amazing rieslings is important, but meaningless if not presented in a global context. Therefore, Sean and I decided to balance 25 Michigan rieslings with selections from every major and minor riesling producing region in the world.”
Tickets to the Night of 100 Rieslings are available at MyNorthTickets.com:
Night of 100 Rieslings will also feature live music from Girls with Guitars (a Michigan collective including Traverse City’s The Accidentals) and a farm-to-table dinner from Epicure Catering.