Vine & Dine: Leelanau Wineries Setting the Table

Emily Tyra has a nice feature in the Leelanau Ticker about how Leelanau’s wineries are raising their dining game:

The trend of bringing creative, satisfying food experiences to their tasting rooms and properties is going way beyond the basic charcuterie board, ranging from ramped-up local finger foods, to on-site food trucks, to multi-course meals prepared by serious chefs.

McKenzie Gallagher, co-owner at Rove Estate says the winery responded to an “increased demand for food and wine experiences” this summer by hosting the culinary team from Wooden Whisk Creations — two of whom most recently hailed from The Rattlesnake Club in Detroit — for pop-up brunches and a dinner in the vines.

She shares, “Because we do not have a full kitchen, we are partnering with a small family-owned caterer that focuses on local ingredients and supporting family farms. We tried our first pop-up event last year, and it was a huge success. This year we added more.”

The brunch menu (July 25 and August 22, 12-3pm) puts the Leelanau fruit harvest to work: Cherry BBQ Pork Belly Hash; Peach Oatmeal Bake; Brie, Bacon and Cherry Naan. Gallagher adds, “Local wine is meant to be enjoyed with local food, it’s the only way to truly appreciate our terroir and unique fresh coast region.”

Also following suit is the newly renovated French Valley winery near Cedar, where Tasting Room and Venue Manager Julie Lopata hopes to give locals — especially families — more options for an evening out. The winery’s new food menu — including Boursin cheese dip with marinara, flatbreads with homegrown veggies, pulled pork sandwiches — comes with Lopata’s invitation to enjoy live music on Thursday and Saturday evenings and “come hungry and bring the kids. We’re all about family fun at French Valley.”

Find more options at MAWBY, Blustone & Shady Lane Cellars in the Ticker article … and don’t snooze on music, pizza & a bottle of wine for $29 at Bel Lago!