Traverse City to Become "City of Riesling" July 26-28

This summer, Traverse City winemakers and restaurateurs will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the area's booming wine industry with a three-day event called City of Riesling, says Traverse City Tourism, the area's official destination marketing organization.

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It’s fitting that Traverse City should be the location for the most ambitious presentation of my book, because it's not only the centre of one of America's most innovative Riesling regions, but also one of the most creative cities in the entire country.

Traverse City, MI (PRWEB) May 26, 2014

This summer, Traverse City winemakers and restaurateurs will celebrate the great “Riesling boom” that sparked this Lake Michigan community's phenomenal wine industry in 1974 with a three-day event called "City of Riesling."

According to Traverse City Tourism, the community's official destination marketing organization, the July 26-28 event will mark the 40th anniversary of the first Riesling plantings at Chateau Grand Traverse on the Old Mission Peninsula. It’s the brainchild of Ed O’Keefe, founder of Chateau Grand Traverse, and sommelier Amanda Danielson, owner of two top-rated Traverse City restaurants – Trattoria Stella and The Franklin – as well as renowned wine writer Stuart Pigott.

Pigott’s newest book, “The Best White Wine on Earth”, will be introduced during the event. He has visited the region twice before, and has described it as a place "where some of the best Riesling wines in America are produced". Scheduled for July 26-28, “City of Riesling” is intended to blend seamlessly into the annual Traverse City Film Festival (July 29 – Aug. 3).

“It’s fitting that Traverse City should be the location for the most ambitious presentation of my book,” said Pigott, “because it's not only the centre of one of America's most innovative Riesling regions, but also one of the most creative cities in the entire country.”

Danielson, for her part, believes that the three-day celebration can dispel some of the myths about Riesling, which is widely thought of as a “sweet wine” unworthy of serious consideration. Like Pigott, she feels the wine should be presented as something fun and approachable.

Traverse City's wine industry now numbers nearly 40 wineries on the neighboring Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas that produce a diverse range of Chardonnays, pinots, cabernets, gewürztraminers and other varietals. But Riesling is still the most widely-planted and versatile grape grown in the area. Instantly recognizable by its rich fruity perfume, it is best known in its semi-dry and sweet styles but also makes a fine dry wine.

“Many sweet Rieslings are lovely, but those who avoid the grape altogether because they don't like ‘sweet wine’ are missing out on some of the best white wines on earth,” said Danielson. “This weekend is about having a great time showcasing a grape that we love in our beautiful wine country.”

City of Rieslings begins with a Saturday tasting tour of Rieslings at the individual wineries of the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas. The main event will take place Sunday, beginning with a “Riesling Oyster Riot” at The Little Fleet (Traverse City’s outdoor food truck dock), followed by a world premier screening of Pigott’s short film “Watch Your Back” and a musical wine tasting event in nearby Clinch Park at The Bar of 100 Rieslings -- devoted to selections from Traverse City and around the world that showcase the range and diversity of the wine.

The festival ends on Monday at The Franklin with “Salon Riesling” -- an afternoon release party for Pigott's new book, Best White Wine On Earth: The Riesling Story, and a TED-style educational talk enlivened with curated tastings of Rieslings featured in the book paired with food.