We’ve already had enough heat to get us into a summer mood. Now our state wineries and local restaurants are making it official. Following Memorial Day weekend, the wineries shift into longer summer hours and restaurants open their patios. Here’s a taste of what’s happening, along with a nice nod in Chicago to Michigan wineries.
>> Old Mission Peninsula’s Chateau Chantal, fresh off being named one of the top 50 Michigan Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation and Winery of the Year by Tasters Guild, has shifted into summer gear. Wine by the glass and Michigan cheeses are served on the patio, along with “Terrace Tapas” — mini food and wine pairings. The Jeff Haas Trio kicks off its 19th summer season of Jazz at Sunset from 7 to 9:30 p.m. June 21. This free live concert is offered every Thursday through Aug. 30. Tapas Tours kick off June 15 and run daily through Labor Day. The cost is $26, and includes a two hour tour and tapas and wine tasting experience. Reservations are required at least a day in advance. Call (800) 969-4009 or book online at www.chateauchantal.com.
>> Big exposure in Chicago: First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a private luncheon during the recent NATO meeting in Chicago. It was catered by Chicago power chef Paul Kahan and sommelier Eduard Seitan. They poured Michigan wines: Chateau Grand Traverse “Laika” Gruner Veltliner, Cherry Creek Cellars’s Lynn Aleksandr Cabernet Sauvignon and Sleeping Bear Winery’s Vidal Ice Wine. The O’Keefe family owns Chateau Grand Traverse on Old Mission Peninsula; John and Denise Burtka own Cherry Creek Cellars in the Irish Hills and Sleeping Bear in Albion.
>> The Rattlesnake’s Garden Terrace is open for lunch, dinner and happy hour, and kicks off a summer-long series of wine tastings starting with “Wines by the Water” at 6:30 p.m. June 7. It will feature wines paired with small plates by chefs Chris Franz and Jeff Lanctot, and live music. Master Sommelier Claudia Tyagi has picked out wines based on water-side growing regions. The cost is $40 per person, plus tax and gratuity. For the whole lineup of summer tastings go to www.rattlesnakedetroit.com.
>> The annual glam Garden Party to raise money for Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan and assist students at Oakland Community College’s Culinary Studies Institute is 1 to 4 p.m. June 10, at a new location, Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester. Guests will be treated to fine wines and foods, and treated to views of classic cars. Foods will be provided by more than 30 of Michigan’s top restaurants, including the Rugby Grille, The Lark and Trattoria Stella. Tickets are $150 per person and attire is “garden party” chic. Ladies: Wear hats! Guests must be 18 to attend. Call (313) 453-2200 ext. 1400 or visit www.thegardenpartymichigan.org. A big thanks to Sydney L. Ross, founder of The Garden Party Foundation, for keeping this wonderful fundraiser alive.
Champane’s Wine Cellars‘ tasting of summer sparkling wines is 6-7:45 p.m. June 7, at the store. Taste French Champagnes, Italian Brachetto, Australian Sparkling Shiraz, Prosecco, Cava and more. Cost is $15 and includes hors d’oeuvres. Call (586) 978-9463 for tickets. Champane’s is at 7007 Chicago Road in Warren.