November 15-17, 2018Buy Tickets
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.
CLICK HERE to view the wines available for sampling!
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.
CLICK HERE to view the beer available for sampling!
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 such a 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.
CLICK HERE to view the Cider available for sampling!
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.
CLICK HERE to view the Spirits available for sampling!
The Ultimate Dining Experience
Bring your appetite to the Festival, because we’ve got you covered no matter what you’re craving. With several 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, the RendezBREW Café and the Hemingway Hall Outdoor Patio, 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.
CLICK HERE to view the participating restaurants and menus!
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 as chefs prepare, present and serve gourmet meals paired with wine. Featured restaurants include Black Star Farms, Reds at Thousand Oaks, six.one.six., The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, and Vintage Prime & Seafood. 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.
CLICK HERE to see the Pairing menus and make reservations!
Music at the Festival
Live music will be played throughout the Festival from talented local musicians in the Vineyard, the Grand Gallery, and Beer City Station! Musicians include Melophobix, The Jake & Jimmy Band, Valentiger, Mark Sala, Cody Bouchard, Alistair Beerens, and Chris Laskos.
CLICK HERE to view the Music Stage Schedules
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. Sample from almost 20 of the Traverse Wine Coast Trail wineries while you’re at the Festival!
Participating wineries include: Aurora Cellars | Bel Lago Vineyards & Winery | Black Star Farms | Bonobo Winery | Bowers Harbor | Brengman Brothers | Ciccone Vineyard & Winery | Chateau Chantal Winery & Inn | Chateau Grand Traverse | Forty Five North | French Valley Vineyards | Leelanau Wine Cellars | Mari Vineyards | Rove | Shady Lane Cellars | Verterra Winery
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.
CLICK HERE to view the Meijer Food Stage schedule.
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 throughout the Festival. The rooms are located just off of the Grand Gallery entry and are complimentary with your paid admission ticket.
CLICK HERE to view the Tasting Sessions schedule.
Craft Cocktail Workshops
Blending together award-winning spirits and mixers into craft artisan cocktails, New Holland Artisan Spirits’ 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.
CLICK HERE to view the Workshops schedule.
Experience Beer Special Taps & Releases
Ben Darcie, A beer enthusiast and educator, will be offering timed taps of some hard to find beer as well as some must-have releases. Located in Beer City Station, these tastings will only be available in limited supply until they are gone. Explore specialty and taproom only brews at the Experience Beer booth. An hourly schedule will be posted at the Festival as many of these releases will be brewed just weeks or days prior to the Festival.
7 PM: Paw Paw BC – Jake’s Vanilla Bean Porter
8 PM: Brewdog – Elvis Juice
5 PM: Blackrocks – Nordskye Session IPA
6 PM: ELK – Hefe Bridges
7 PM: Speciation Artisan Ales – Genetic Drift with cherries and wet hopped with MI Heritage
8 PM: Rivers Edge BC – St. Augustine – BBA Brown Rye Ale with cranberries, butternut squash and brown sugar
9 PM: CityBuilt – #Happyfriendsgiving – Berliner Weisse with Cranberry & Lactose
3 PM: Blackrocks – Potter Porter
4 PM: CityBuilt – Juicy IPA 6.7
5 PM: Elk – Peanut Butter Porter
6 PM: TwoGuys – Harvest Blonde
7 PM: Rivers Edge – Howden’s Field – BBA Strong Ale with Smoked Pumpkin
8 PM: Witches Hat BC – Train Hopper IPA
9 PM: Speciation Artisan Ales – Dimorphic, cherry aged fouder sour
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/
Better Drinking Culture
Started by a group of friends sharing their stories about alcohol, Better Drinking Culture has grown into a grassroots movement that is shifting our culture’s relationship with alcohol in a healthier and more positive direction – a lifestyle free from pain, harm, and regret. BDC is a call to action to drinkers and non-drinkers alike to challenge cultural norms and empower change. Drink better. Live healthier. #BecauseHangoversSuck. You can find additional information available just include the doors of Beer City Station at the Festival.