Kick back at Domaine Cellars festivalPublished 8:06pm Sunday, July 25, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Summertime is the time for outdoor festivals.
It is the time for midday picnics surrounded by beautiful scenery, for live music, arts and crafts, chilled sweet wines or rich reds that settle on the tongue like a sunset.
Each of those elements come together for the 6th Annual Domaine Berrien Cellars Art Wine and Music Festival.
“It’s a real nice summer afternoon out in the vineyards,” said Katie Maurer, who owns Domaine Berrien Cellars and Winery along with her husband Wally. “All the artists set up their tents on our lawn out here outside the winery.”
Domaine Berrien Cellars and Winery is located in Berrien Springs as part of an 80-acre fruit farm, according to its website.
They offer everything from dry whites and reds to sweet wines and dessert wines.
It was six years ago that Maurer said she and her husband came up with the idea for the festival, which she says has been growing over the years.
“We felt that art went well with wine and music and we had this huge lawn area,” she said.
The festival offers free admission and free parking and those in attendance are welcome to bring their own picnic, soda or water. Outside alcohol is not permitted, but there will be wine tasting available for those over age 21.
The Outdoor Kitchen will be on hand as well, working at the grill and making sandwiches on site.
Music will be performed by several area bands including The Grenadiers, Generation Gap and Major Trio and Friends featuring Art Gomperz, accompanied by Jenna Mammina.
“It’s a lot of work,” Maurer said. “We start in the early spring or March” planning the event and acquiring artists.
Turnout has been strong. Even with rain, Maurer said approximately 1,300 people came out for the festival last year.
For those who are particularly interested in the wine portion of the festival, it doesn’t sound as though they’ll be disappointed.
Maurer said the season has been good to the vineyard.
“It’s nice and hot,” she said. “The grapes like the hot weather. They think they’re in California on vacation. Everything is a week ahead of schedule. If the rest of the year continues as it has been, 2010 will be a really great vintage.”
Since they got started in the business of winemaking in 2001, Maurer said the popularity for area wines has grown significantly.
“Oh yes,” she said. “Tremendously. The first year that we opened, we would just sit in the driveway and wait. (Now), on a Saturday we’re swamped.”
The 6th Annual Art Wine and Music Festival will be held Saturday, July 31 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. rain or shine. Maurer said the festival boasts a casual, laid-back atmosphere and festival goers are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs.
There will also be a variety of arts and crafts such as photography, metal sculpture, stoneware ceramics and jewelry and there will be a raffle with drawings every hour for prizes from area businesses.