Boisterous joys of the Lake Michigan Wine Festival

Published 4:53 pm Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival-goers enjoyed music by Midwest Hype June 19. Photo by Sherina Gonzalez

Blue Star Highway

The Lake Michigan coast is beautiful, the beach is inviting, and a relaxing afternoon could easily be spent sipping wine, sand between toes, watching sailboats glide across the horizon.
Most public beaches, however, do not allow alcohol. And, recession and reality in mind, we cannot all afford summer homes on private beaches. An answer (other than subverting the law or mooching off of people who do own beach homes): The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival at Weko Beach in Bridgman, Mich.

Things to know about the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival: first off, you missed it for this year. It was held on Saturday, June 19. Look for information on next year’s proceedings on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail website:

The reader should also be aware that this thing is quite large, outdoors – and therefore hot – (though the wine is procured under a massive tent) and boisterous. Not a fancy-pants chianti-sipping soiree, this. Reggae, blues and funk bands played on a stage outside the tasting tent – Duke Tomatoe, Ninth Street Bridge, the dub-inspired (and previously covered by Blue Star Highway) Midwest Hype, the Mighty Blue Kings, and Ty Stone & Just Soul. Chefs of the manly, barbecue/grill variety demo’d techniques at a Kitchenaide sponsored display – Timothy Sizer of Timothy’s and Tim’s Too, Tom Watson of Port 412 and Tom Weber of Double T’s BBX.

The crowd (and it was definitely a crowd) was, as I said, boisterous; happy, verbose, sweaty, joyful at their newfound favorite wine/beer/french fries. One woman who I spoke with was taking her wine tastings in a baby bottle, hanging from a cord around her neck. I asked her about the eccentric set-up.

“Bottles like this don’t spill,” she said, tipping the bottle upside down and showing me that no wine dripped out, “I’m always looking for more efficient ways to drink.”

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival may not be the most efficient way to drink (it’s a bit pricey, crowded, hot), but really who wants efficiency for its own sake, especially in occasions of pleasure and release? The opportunity to stand out in the sun, by sandy hills, with southwest Michigan’s business and community leaders in bikini tops and board shorts and drink deep of the summer and of Michigan wine is worth a little inefficiency.