Try These Pure Michigan Wine Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Meal

Did you know that Michigan grows more than 50 different grape varieties? As you’re planning your holiday menu, there’s sure to be one variety that suits your fancy. Guest blogger Karel Bush from the Michigan Wine and Grape Industry Council shares some Pure Michigan wine pairings for your Thanksgiving meal. 

Photo courtesy of Michigan Wines - Bowers Harbor Vineyards

Photo by Jeff Greenberg – Bowers Harbor Vineyards

There’s no better way to celebrate the season and Michigan’s agricultural bounty than to include Michigan wines on your holiday shopping list. Whether served at your own table or presented as a gift to friends and family, sharing local wines is a tradition all over the world.

There are many different savory flavors and levels of sweetness in a traditional Thanksgiving feast, so don’t limit yourself to just one wine – have some fun with your wine selection. Most holiday gatherings include a variety of people with a variety of tastes when it comes to wine – another reason to offer a few different selections.

This weekend, November 20-22, more than 25 Michigan wineries will be pouring their wines at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival. This event is the largest event of its kind in the Midwest. Sample from more than 100 Michigan wines and ask winemakers and winery owners what they’re serving at their holiday table!

You can also try some of these award-winning wines from the Michigan Wine Competition and start your own tradition this holiday season.

Sparkling

Photo by Jeff Greenberg

Photo by Jeff Greenberg

Start out with bubbles! Aurora Cellars Brut received Best of Class Sparkling honors at the 2014 competition. It’s crisp with lovely aromatics of toasted brioche and roasted nuts. A bright, dry finish makes this the perfect way to start the celebration.

White

With traditional roast turkey and stuffing, the go-to choice is often a dry Riesling, but Pinot Grigio also makes a great pairing. Many Michigan wineries produce these varieties. Try Blustone Vineyards or Fenn Valley Vineyards for Riesling; Boathouse Vineyards or St. Julian Winery for Pinot Grigio.

There are always sweet elements on the holiday table, so consider adding a semi-dry Riesling or Gewurztraminer to the mix. Try semi-dry Rieslings from Gill’s Pier Vineyard and Winery or White Pine Winery, and Gewurztraminer from Peninsula Cellars or Tabor Hill Winery. For a fun alternative, try a Traminette – an offspring of Gewurz – from Sandhill Crane Vineyards or 12 Corners Vineyards.

Red

Photo by Steve Sadler

Photo by Steve Sadler

Pinot Noir or another soft, flavorful red is an excellent choice, especially if your traditional bird is duck or goose. Try first-rate examples from Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery or Round Barn Winery. Delight your guests with a variety they might not be familiar with, like Chateau Grand Traverse Gamay Noir; or try one of the many delicious red blends made in Michigan, like “Sole di Sera” from Northern Sun Winery, and Lawton Ridge Winery’s “Two Handed Red.”

Dessert

Last, but certainly not least, for Aunt Jenny’s pumpkin pie try a sweeter wine like Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling. Or for a real treat, try “Snow Moon” – a delicious, decadent Vidal Blanc ice wine from Lemon Creek Winery (makes an incredible gift, too).

You can contact any of the Michigan wineries to have your favorite wine delivered right to your door. Be sure to order an extra bottle or two (or six) for gifts. Visit www.michiganwines.com for a complete list of Michigan wineries.

Which Pure Michigan wines do you plan to enjoy with your holiday meal? 

Karel Bush is promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, a program within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

 

 

How the Grand Rapids Ballet Put a New Spin on The Nutcracker

Is The Nutcracker one of your yearly holiday traditions? This December, see it live at the Grand Rapids Ballet! Today, our guest blogger from Experience Grand Rapids shares how Michigan-born writer and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg and team put a new spin on an old favorite.

TheNutcrackerArtworkChris Van Allsburg, the East Grand Rapids native known for writing and illustrating books including The Polar Express and Jumanji, can add another credit to his impressive list. He, along with Tony and Emmy award winning set designer Eugene Lee and renowned choreographer Val Caniparoli, are giving new life to the Grand Rapids Ballet version of The Nutcracker under the direction of Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB) Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

Barker is quite fond of traditions. She was a principal dancer in the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) production of The Nutcracker with set designs by children’s author Maurice Sendak. The lavish production became a holiday tradition in Seattle, and upon her arrival in Grand Rapids, she knew she wanted to create a similar tradition here.

Photo courtesy of The Grand Rapids Ballet

Photo courtesy of The Grand Rapids Ballet

It was Barker’s dream for a new Grand Rapids tradition that set the ball rolling. The Grand Rapids Ballet asked Van Allsburg to design The Nutcracker with his own vision two years ago. Although his daughter Sophia has danced the role of Clara with Festival Ballet Providence in Rhode Island, he still needed some “encouragement” from his wife Lisa along with friend and co-designer Eugene Lee to take on the project.

While Van Allsburg is not in Grand Rapids currently, Barker said he was an integral part in creating the aesthetic for this re-imagined production and is still involved. “I have been in conversation with Chris weekly, sometimes daily,” said Barker.

With the help of Barker’s German speaking husband, Barker and Caniparoli spent more than a year going over the E.T.A Hoffman story that The Nutcracker is based upon in its original German. And although the set design, production and costumes are all new, the heart of The Nutcracker remains the same.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Ballet

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Ballet

Van Allsburg and Caniparoli were steadfast in their determination to focus on the original story of The Nutcracker. Eugene Lee also played a large role in ensuring from beginning to end the audience sees the complete story line of Clara coming of age and going through a wonderful adventure for all ages.

“We uncovered interesting nuances that have been lost over multiple translations such as architecture, clothing, embellishments, etc.,” said Barker. “But with that being said, there will still be recognizable plot lines from modern renditions of The Nutcracker.”

The spirit of The Nutcracker isn’t limited to Grand Rapids Ballet.

Opening Curtain - Photo courtesy of Grad Rapids Ballet

Opening Curtain – Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Ballet

Hotels will be offering Nutcracker Season packages along with special “Land of Sweets” desserts and a Nutcracker Cocktail contest at participating restaurants and bars.

For a more behind the scenes look, from November 20-January 15 the Grand Rapids Art Museum will have original artwork on display illustrating the process of this amazing production, along with costumes and set models that will give insight on how a production goes from conception to stage.

So get your tickets and plan a trip to Grand Rapids to the world premiere performance of the largest production in Grand Rapids Ballet history starting December 12. You won’t be disappointed.

Have you ever seen a performance at the Grand Rapids Ballet? Tell us about it!

Pure Michigan December 2014 Events Roundup

The holiday season brings concerts, festivals and community lighting celebrations that make us remember why we love the snowy season and are proud to call the Great Lakes State home. Pull out your calendar and discover some of the many events that are happening in Michigan throughout the month of December. For a full list of events in Pure Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

Week of December 1 – 7

detroit-zoo-wild-lightsParade of Lights
December 2, Holland
Santa arrives in downtown Holland during the annual Parade of Lights escorted by bands, floats, vehicles and individuals…all decked out in sparkling holiday lights! Over 50 different entries will illuminate the streets of downtown during this brilliant procession. At the end of the parade, Santa will take the time to greet his fans, both young and old!

Run Through the Lights
December 4, Kalamazoo
Make your way to the west side of the state for a festive run or walk through the holiday lights of downtown Kalamazoo. Run Through the Lights is an untimed, non-competitive, fun run and everyone is invited. Race starts and ends at Bronson Park, registration required.

Mid-American Conference Championship
December 5, Detroit
2014 Mid-American Conference Championship will match the champions of the East and West divisions in one of the nation’s most underrated athletic conferences. This annual game played at Ford Field offers the excitement of a championship game right in the heart of the city. Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University and Western Michigan University are all Mid-American Conference programs.

Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Concert
December 5, Ann Arbor
Get a jazzy start to the weekend by joining Vincent York’s Jazzistry for a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong! You’ll enjoy classics such as “Oh, Lady Be Good” and “What a Wonderful World.” Vincent York’s Jazzistry, an Ann Arbor based nonprofit, uses live performance to teach the story of jazz and its role in American history and culture to students in Michigan schools.

Reindog Parade
December 6, Saint Joseph
winter-runnersCostumed pets and their owners will escort Santa into downtown to kick off the holiday season. The annual Reindog Holiday Parade features dressed up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Be prepared to see all kinds of costumes from “Santa Bernards” to “Reindeer Rotweilers” – this is definitely a must-see event. The parade will start at 4pm and will also feature Santa’s arrival to downtown St. Joseph.

Farmland 5K European Style XC Challenge
December 6, Traverse City
Are you really tough? Rain, sleet, snow, or shine – this event is for you! Enjoy the natural challenge of running or biking in early December (event to be held no matter the weather). Traverse over grass or snow and ice, wooded dirt trails, and farmland running terrain. Post event food and festive awards celebration.

Week of December 8 – 14

Woodward Wonderland
Detroit, December 11-14
Woodward Wonderland puts a uniquely Detroit spin on the holiday season, paying tribute to the metro area’s many rich holiday traditions through original short plays and exuberant song and dance. The play takes audiences of all ages on a nostalgic theatrical journey to magical Motor City destinations like Toyland on the 12th floor of the old J.L. Hudson’s department store and Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Langsford Men’s Chorus Christmas Concert
December 12, Berkley
Enjoy the sounds and spirit of Christmas with the Langsford Men’s Chorus. Come hear this internationally acclaimed men’s chorus present their Christmas Celebration Concert at Our Lady of La Salette Roman Catholic Church, in Berkley, Michigan. This outstanding male chorus will perform a broad repertoire of classical, contemporary, and traditional Christmas favorites, all celebrating the most joyous season of the year!

Farm by Lantern Light
December 12-13, Grayling
Wellington Farm is now accepting reservations for what some consider “The most unique Christmas Experience in Northern Michigan.” Billed as “The Farm By Lantern Light” the full evening activity includes a wagon ride, a visit to the historic farm and a full length play all rolled into one “The Farm By Lantern Light” will take place on December 12, 13, and 19, 20. During the course of the evening, participants will board a wagon and be transported back in time to the year of 1932. A wonderful family event!

Tinsel & Treasures
December 12-14, Northville
The award winning 35th Annual Tinsel & Treasures Holiday Market, held in downtown Northville, is a juried, indoor, fine art and handcrafted holiday gift market featuring more than 75 artists and craftspeople from around the country.

Tyler Oakley’s Slumber Party Comedy Show
December 14, Kalamazoo
Armed with a quick wit and fabulous hair, Tyler Oakley has won the hearts of over five million YouTube subscribers with his weekly videos. Now, Tyler is packing up his living room and hitting the road for his first-ever live tour! Tyler’s Slumber Party is a one-of-a-kind live experience packed full of behind-the-scenes stories, interactive games – and lots of surprises. Get ready to be slayed. Please note this isn’t really a slumber party…you will have to go home after the show!

Week of December 15 – 21

Monday Night Raw
December 15, Detroit
World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw will return to Joe Louis Arena for the first time in two and a half years for a LIVE broadcast on Monday, December 15. The December roster will include appearances by all of your favorite WWE Superstars live in action including John Cena, Seth Rollins, The Big Show, Kane, Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The Usos, The Miz and many more!

Mega 80′s
December 19, Saginaw
The Mega 80′s is returning to The Red Room! If you love 80′s music, then you cannot miss this event! Strap on your platform shoes and boogie over to Saginaw for an 80’s lover’s dream. This is a ticketed event.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
December 20, Kalamazoo
Buy sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets! Come see some crawling and wiggling friends that would love to come home with you or might make a perfect holiday gift for that animal lover you know.

Photos for Pure MichiganHoliday Nights in Greenfield Village
December 5-27, Dearborn
Take a lantern-lit journey into a living snow globe filled with live music, skating, fireworks and tons of winter wonder during America’s premier celebration of the season. December 5-7, 12-14, 18-23, and 26-27.

Annie |Theatre Performance
December 16-21, East Lansing
Leapin’ Lizards! The world’s best-loved musical returns! Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin, this production of Annie will be a brand-new incarnation of the iconic original. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie is determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. With the help of the other orphans, Annie escapes to the wondrous world of New York. Featuring book and score by Tony Award® winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, Annie includes such unforgettable songs as It’s the Hard-knock Life, Easy Street, and the eternal anthem of optimism, Tomorrow.

Week of December 22 – 28, 29, 30 & 31

2014 Quick Lane Bowl
December 26, Detroit
The Detroit Lions are partnering with Quick Lane Tire and Auto to host the first annual Quick Lane Bowl game that will feature a match-up between the Big Ten and ACC conferences and will be played at Ford Field! Head to Detroit to see some great college football action on hometown gridiron. The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are Big Ten Conference Programs.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Lantern Lit Ski and Snowshoe Trail
December 27, Ontonagon
Nearly 80 old-fashioned kerosene lanterns will illuminate a 1-mile trail for a unique and memorable experience. The ski trail is track-set for classic skiers, while snowshoers can make their own trail adjacent to the lighted loop. The ski trail has an “easy” difficulty rating; however, skiing or snowshoeing at night is always a challenge.

Michigan Historical Museum – History Gamers
December 27, Lansing
Whatever your age, come over and play! Today, you can try your hand at historic games from jacks to hopscotch and investigate historic toys and board games. New games are featured at each program. History Gamers is included with museum admission.

Bald Mountain Recreation Area – Krazy Snow RC Fly
December 31, Lake Orion
Just when you thought the New Year couldn’t get any more exciting, how about RC flying in the snow? Take-offs and landings with the flakes flying, cold winds and piles of snow on the field make it even more challenging than usual. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult

New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop
December 31, Port Huron
Bring in the New Year in the city of Port Huron! It’s a New Year’s Eve countdown party with a maritime twist. A lighted anchor will drop from the top of the 150-foot McMorran Tower at midnight! Live music, beer tent, free open skating, and much more.

Month-long Events

GiraffeWild Lights
November 22-December 31, Royal Oak
See the zoo in a whole new light! Experience the magic of the Detroit Zoo in winter as you take in the lights and the sights and enjoy holiday entertainment and activities for guests of all ages. For 22 nights beginning November 22, 2014, Wild Lights runs from 5:30 to 9pm on the following dates: November 22-23, 28-30; December 5-7, 12-14, 19-23, 26-31, 2014.

Nite Lites Jackson & Winter Wonderland
November 27-December 30, Jackson
One of Michigan’s largest Christmas light displays. This animated drive-through display is over one mile long and includes millions of lights. It’s a magical outing that families hold as a tradition year after year. Weekends in December, Winter Wonderland inside the American One Fair Event Center will feature decorated holiday trees, food and drinks of the season and visits with Santa Claus.

Gingerbread Art Competition
November 28-December 31, Newaygo
Have you ever looked at art and thought, “I’m hungry!”? Gingerbread Art will be displayed November 28 – December 31 from noon – 7pm each day at La Belle de la Riviere Bed and Breakfast in Newaygo. Don’t miss your chance to see some great gingerbread houses and designs before someone takes a bite!

36th Annual Christmas Tree Festival
December 1-30, Monroe
Visit and vote for your favorite decorated holiday tree or wreath during the month of December for our annual Christmas Tree Festival at the museum. Local 4-H clubs, organizations, charities, classrooms and scouts have been busy designing their creations to share with visitors. Come in and vote for your choice of best tree or wreath!

Do you attend any events in December that have become a holiday tradition? Let us know!