When Elizabeth Schweitzer, the master sommelier and creator of the Fall Wine Appreciation Weekend at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, talks about the 2018 event featuring Shady Lane Cellars, the excitement in her voice is evident.
Schweitzer praises the Leelanau County winery, saying she has watched it since she arrived in Michigan in 2010 and touting its development under lead winemaker Kasey Wierzba. Schweitzer, this year, invited Wierzba and Shady Lane to be the showcase of her biennial weekend wine celebration
“She’s our highlight,” Schweitzer said of Wierzba. “Shady Lane and Kasey have really become a star among Michigan wineries and we’re so thrilled to have them as our host winery this year. People are really going to learn that they are making great wines and dispelling some myths about Rieslings.
“Kasey’s seminar will educate guests on reinventing Reislings and how they are not always sweet. We’ll pour her dry (styles) and provide a platform for people to know and love Shady Lane Cellars wines.”
- A Friday welcome cocktail reception
- Saturday wine seminars and tastings
- Saturday evening Grand Cocktail reception
- Saturday evening special dinner (adults only)
- Saturday evening Cordial Reception
Shady Lanes wine will be exclusively featured at each of the receptions and dinners while Saturday’s tasting will be designed like a trade-show with all Michigan wines. Nearly 300 people are slated to attend the event, drawing mostly from the Midwest, but stretching to the Eastern seaboard in some cases, Schweitzer said.
“It’s always a big afternoon for Michigan wines to get some great exposure,” Schweitzer said.
Wierzba and Shady Lane are equally excited about the opportunity. Shady Lane Cellars’ Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc will be poured as featured wines during the special dinner Saturday evening.
“I’m over the moon to have the Grand Hotel’s dining room full of wine lovers drinking Shady Lane Cellars,” Wierzba said.
It’s not a one-way learning window, Wierzba said, as she intends to take advantage of working with Schweitzer, who is only one of eight female master sommeliers in the world.
“She works with an amazing cellar at the hotel and she really dedicates herself to experiencing world wine regions,” Wierzba said. “As a winemaker my focus is in my own cellar with grape varietals that are central to cool climate wine growing. It’s a drop in the bucket. There’s so much to experience and I always take advantage of learning from true Masters of world wines.”
Shady Lanes also intends to use the event as a lead on guests who may want to follow-up with a visit to the estate winery’s tasting room a short distance off Grand Traverse West Bay and M-22.
Schweitzer said the winery will leave a welcome letter and card offering a free wine and cheese tasting at the facility that features scenic vineyard views from a sweeping 32-foot covered furnished patio.
“That is so kind and so thoughtful, and no one has ever done that before,” she said.
Learn more about the story about Shady Lane Cellars, the people behind the wine and the land that makes it possible.
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