BY CYMBRE FOSTER Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — SUTTONS BAY — The name says it all.
Saturday's Wine on the Water Festival represents the best of the Leelanau Peninsula — award-winning wines, tasty food and live music, all in an intimate setting at Marina Park on the shores of Suttons Bay.
If the festival seems familiar, it’s because it’s been around for years. The annual foodie fest began as the Annual Northport Wine Fest and then relocated to Suttons Bay as the Leelanau Peninsula Wine, Food and Music Festival. It returns this year, christened with a new name and logo.
“We have totally rebranded and renamed the festival and we think it will do really well,” said Sally Guzowski, executive director of the Leelanau Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the festival. “It was in Northport for at least 10 years but with the onset of new wine festivals, we started to see a drop in attendance and decided to move it and rename it.”
Event proceeds will benefit the Chamber's new Visitor Center, recently relocated from Suttons Bay to M-204 in Lake Leelanau. The Chamber is not only charged with enhancing the economic well-being of the peninsula's tourism, business, industry, agriculture and the arts, but also acts as its Visitor Information Center.
This year, Wine on the Water attendees will find 20 Leelanau County wineries, four county food vendors and The Filling Station brewery from Traverse City, as well as an array of music from blues to jazz.
Matt Gregory, general manager at Chateau de Leelanau, said the winery will bring a variety of wines perfect for summer sipping, including a number of whites.
"We’ll be bringing Bianca, which is our flagship wine,” said Gregory, who likens the wine to a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. “It’s a very obscure grape with Hungarian roots.”
The winery also will pour its Riesling Select — a sweeter white — as well as its Cherry Wine, which Gregory said staff are particularly proud of. The latter is an ingredient in the winery's signature Sangria, which also will make an appearance at the festival.
“People love it,” said Gregory, of the refreshing drink that blends cherry wine with citrus like lemon and limes, pineapple, and Bardenhagen’s strawberries, if they're in season. “We went through 12 cases at the TC Wine and Art Festival.”
Red wine lovers can sample the winery's Hawkins Red, a signature red blend Gregory likens to a Shiraz. And fans of hard cider can taste its Caramel Apple Hard Cider — an Ida Red cider that is lightly carbonated and infused with caramel — on tap.
Food vendors like Pleva’s Meats of Cedar and Corky’s Beach Bistro, part of the Vineyard Inn near Suttons Bay, will offer up an array of goodies to sample with the wine.
Josh Deters, owner of the VI Grill, formerly the Village Inn in Suttons Bay, said the eatery will feature its cherry barbeque pulled pork sliders, a popular menu item. To make it, Deter mixes braised, slow-cooked pork shoulder with homemade cherry barbeque sauce made with local cherries.
Stone House Bread will serve up its homemade focaccia, a spongy Italian flatbread topped with cheese, garlic, olive oil, artichokes and pesto, said owner Tonie Spearing.
Music will be provided by Sour Belly Trio, Ron Getz & Ron Hernandez, and the Thirsty Perch Blues Band. Leelanau county artist Nedra Straser will sell her handpainted wine glasses.
Wine on the Water runs from 1-7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and include a commemorative wine glass and two tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased for $2 each.
Tickets are available at the gate or in advance at www.MyNorthTickets.com or by calling 800-836-0717.
Honey Pears with Goat Cheese On Stone House Bread
1 loaf of Stone House Bread, sliced thin
4 Bartlett or favorite variety ripe pears, sliced thin
1 8-oz. package crumbled goat cheese
Fresh cracked pepper
½ c. toasted and fine chopped pecans
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
On each thin slice of bread, place pear slices in threes. Sprinkle with goat cheese, pepper and pecans. Drizzle with honey and garnish with fresh thyme sprigs just before serving.
— Stone House Bread
Grilled Fruit Kabobs with Cinnamon Sugar on Stone House Bread
1 loaf Stone House Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Fresh pineapple, mango, nectarines and peaches, sliced
2 containers vanilla yogurt
1 T. honey
Preheat gas grill to medium. Toss bread cubes in oil, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Assemble bread cubes and fruit on kabob sticks. Grill over medium heat until bread cubes are lightly toasted and fruit is a little soft. Remove from heat and serve on platter with vanilla yogurt-honey-nutmeg dipping sauce.
— Stone House Bread
Bruschetta with White Beans, Tomatoes and Olives Stone House Bread Baguette
1 can drained white northern beans
2 medium tomatoes, diced into ¼-inch cubes
¼ c. chopped kalamata olives
1 T. minced garlic
¼ c. fresh minced basil
¼ c. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Stone House Bread sweet or rustic baguette, cut into ¼-inch slices
Olive oil for bread
5 oz. goat cheese
Small basil leaves for garnish
Combine first six ingredients in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brush bread with olive oil and broil for about 1 minute. Spread goat cheese on bread, top with bean mixture and garnish with basil leaf.
— Stone House Bread
World Famous Cherry Wine Sangria
2 bottles Chateau de Leelanau Cherry Wine
1 bottle Chateau de Leelanau Peach Fizz
1 orange, cut into slices
1 pineapple, cut into slices
1 lemon, cut into slices
1 lime, cut into slices
1 quart fresh strawberries
Cut tops off strawberries and place strawberries with other fruit in clear glass bowl or pitcher. Pour wine over fruit and let sit in refrigerator for an hour or more (can sit overnight). Serve.
— Chateau de Leelanau