Garlic knots from the Dago Joe's food truck will be for sale at the event. (DagoJoes.com)
Sure, you could buy a $15 or $25 dollar bottle of wine for the weekend — or you could spend the same cash to sample dozens of wines, along with small bites of delectable noshes, at Meadow Brook Music Festival.
Meadow Brook is hosting its 14th annual Wine & Food Festival presented by Kroger on Saturday and Sunday. The event features more than 150 wineries from Michigan and across the globe, with wines sampled in the tasting tents available to purchase by the bottle or by the case in the on-site retail tent. Especially popular? The ice wines — a type of chilled, concentrated dessert wine made from grapes frozen while still on the vine.
In addition to wine tasting, the festival will include wine and food seminars, exhibits, live music and food samplings from Kroger, restaurants and food trucks.
Joe Sciamanna, owner of the Detroit-based food truck Dago Joe’s, said the festival features the keys to any great party.
“It has great food, great drinks and great music,” said Sciamanna, who will sell his Italian fare, including garlic knots — hand-twisted bread with garlic butter, cheese and one of two tomato-based dipping sauces — at the Wine and Food Festival for the second time.
Patrick Mulrenin, owner of Fieldstone Winery in Rochester, will be making his sixth appearance at the festival as a vendor this year. But he attended as a consumer before that, he says.
“I went because there are so many different wines, especially Michigan wines,” said Mulrenin, who’ll be taking turns with his son Ryan answering questions and providing samples of six Fieldstone wines: three whites (a Michigan apple, a Michigan pear and a traminette), a dry and a semi-dry under the winery’s new Motor City Red label, and a pomegranate zinfandel. “It brings a lot of people out who are wine-lovers.”
The festival features three wine tents — Best Buys of the Season, Love from the Glove (Michigan wines — look for Fieldstone there) and Around the World — plus a seminar tent and a tent by five-year sponsor Kroger.
“The Kroger tent is always a big draw because it features a great selection of free samples,” says spokesman Josh Fasseel of Palace Sports & Entertainment. The Kroger tent will feature wine from William Hill Estate North Coast and food samples, including Boar’s Head charcuterie and cheeses, Graeter’s ice cream and Michigan-made Cooper Street Cookies.
Many wine makers will be on site, mostly in the tasting tents to answer questions about their wines. Meanwhile, seminars include how to pair wines and cheese, exhibits include Pinot’s Palette from Rochester Hills giving tutorials as guests paint on canvas, and live music includes acoustic guitar and jazz quartets.
This year, samples will be available from participating restaurants, as well as food trucks, as opposed to just in the Kroger tent. Samples are limited and first come, first serve.
Sciamanna of Dago Joe’s says the crowd enjoys the festival because people are “doing what they want to do” — drink and have a good time.
“If you’ve never gone, you gotta go,” he said. “You gotta experience it.”
14th annual Wine and Food Festival presented by Kroger
1-9 p.m. Saturday, 1-5:30 p.m. Sunday
Meadow Brook Music Festival
3554 E. Walton Blvd., Auburn Hills
Tickets: $25 at the door; $15 at Kroger stores; $10 designated drivers (includes two soft drinks); tickets are one-day only and can be used either day
Maureen Tisdale is a Detroit-area freelance writer and editor.