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Borgess-Lee Foundation kicks off preparation for third annual Wine and Beer Tasting

Published 7:55am Friday, June 6, 2014

Six vineyards. Four breweries. One evening filled with wining, dining and donating.

That’s what awaits visitors of the Lee Memorial Foundation’s third annual Wine and Beer Tasting, which take places from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 9 at Don and Vicary Blackmond’s sesquicentennial farm on Indian Lake. Like in previous years, the proceeds collected through ticket sales and sponsorships will go toward Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital.

On Thursday, the six-person planning committee met at Indian Lake Golf Course to begin their preparations for the evening of giving and libations. The Foundation is currently looking for sponsors and volunteers to assist during the event, said Beth Cripe, development coordinator.

“Funds raised this year will be used toward the hospital’s new capital campaign, which we’re calling ‘It’s About the Place We Call Home,’” Cripe said. “We’re raising money for digital mammography equipment, surgical tools, patient beds and hospital renovations.”

The wineries participating in this year’s tasting are Round Barn, Tabor Hill, Lemon Creek, Cody Kresta, 12 Corners and Contessa Winteries; breweries will be New Holland Brewing Company, Round Barn Brewery, Saugatuck Brewing Company and Tapistry Brewery.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy hors d’oeuvre provided by local restaurants. Live music will also be provided, courtesy of Everybody’s Music of

The Blackmond farm will again host the tasting event, whose property overlooks the lake.

“It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous setting,” Cripe said. “It’s become a popular event and we hope to grow it even more
this year.”

The event was first started in 2012, as a way to supplement the foundation’s other major fundraising event, the Golf Outing held at Spruce Ridge Golf Course.

“South Haven has had a wine tasting event that has been extremely successful,” Cripe said. “One of the members of the foundation board [Tom Carlson] had visited it before, and thought it would be a good idea to bring here. Cass County didn’t have anything like it, and we have so many wineries and breweries around here. We wanted to take advantage of that.”

Despite the intense windstorm that buffeted visitors at the first tasting, the inaugural event was a great success for the foundation, with 200 tickets sold, Cripe said. The following year an additional 50 tickets were sold.

“We’re shooting for 300 this year,” Cripe said.

So far, organizers have already sold 150 tickets for this year’s event, without any real advertising, Cripe said.

Last year, the event also generated $4,500 worth of sponsorship money for the foundation.

Tickets for the event are $50, and come with a free souvenir wine glass. People interested in purchasing tickets or sponsoring can contact Cripe at  (269) 783-3026 or at

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