One of the finest backdrops for sampling Michigan vintages is the St. Joseph Wine Festival, Sept. 26, 4-9 p.m., in Whirlpool Centennial Park, just yards from Lake Michigan. This festival celebrates the arrival of autumn with local wines and cuisine, live music, a public art auction and premier seating for the evening’s sunset. Admission is free.
Presented by Lake Michigan College’s Great Lakes Wine Institute and St. Joseph Today, this festival brings together some of the area’s favorite winemakers. Some of the wineries to be represented are:
- Baroda Founders Winery
- Burgdorf’s Winery
- Cody Kresta Vineyard & Winery
- Dablon Vineyards
- Fenn Valley Winery
- Lazy Ballerina Winery
- Lemon Creek Winery
- Mackinaw Trail Winery
- Round Barn/Free Run Winery
- St. Julian Winery
- Tabor Hill Winery
- Warner Vineyards
- White Pine Winery
These wineries will be popping corks and pouring tastes throughout the event. Wine tasting starts at $10 and includes five drink tickets and a souvenir wine glass. Tastings may be purchased with 1-2 tickets or by the glass with 4-8 tickets. A small selection of hard cider and craft beers also will be available from Bud Distributing. An additional treat is that the wine will be paired with food choices, available for purchase, from popular local restaurants, Coach’s Bar & Grill, and Lake House Restaurant and Bar.
Entertainment will include two concerts on the Festival stage. The first concert, starting at 4 p.m., will feature South Bend, IN. cover band Vyagra Falls, a group of medical professionals known as the “Docs that Rock” that will perform a spectrum of genres that cross four decades of music fun, including: surfer rock, country rock, alternative rock, and classic rock. Vyagra Falls’ Wine Festival performance will benefit the Alex Mandarino Foundation, a local charity that funds research for a cure to childhood cancers.
The second concert, which starts at about 7 p.m., will feature Detroit-based Laura Rain and the Caesars take the stage. This quartet, described as an “electrified powerhouse” of Motor City-style soul, blues and R&B, has spent more than a decade performing in Los Angeles and Detroit. The band’s influences include Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Patti LaBelle, BB King, Freddie King, Ann Peebles, and Etta James.
“One of the highlights of this festival is the City of St. Joseph Public Art Auction,” said Jill Stone, executive director, St. Joseph Today. “This year’s theme was Splishin’ and a Splashin” and the City will put nearly two dozen one-of-a-kind sculptures on the auction block including rubber duckies, frogs, whales and two bathtubs.” Registration for live auction paddle numbers is from 4-5:45 p.m. at Whirlpool Centennial Park, with Auctioneer Jerry Glassman starting the bidding at 5:45 p.m. Stone said this year all live auction bids will start at $500 or the sculpture’s highest silent auction bid. For more information about the silent auction and live auction opportunities, contact Susan Solon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269.983.5541. Proceeds from this year’s auction will help fund future outdoor art exhibits hosted by the city.
Sponsors for the Wine Festival include Beaudoin Electrical Construction, the City of St. Joseph, Lake Michigan College’s Great Lakes Wine Institute, 98.3 The Coast and 94.9 WSJM. To learn more about this and other fall events, contact St. Joseph Today, a 501(c)(3) membership-based organization dedicated to developing and promoting events and business in St. Joseph and its surrounding communities. Visit www.stjoetoday.com, facebook.com/stjoetoday or call 269-985-1111.