Disclaimer: No, I do not get free tickets for the events I mention on this blog. I simply enjoy sharing news about events I’ve attended… or would one day like to attend… that offer special experiences and the potential for special memories for people like me — people who love wine.
Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite annual events. It combines not just one of my passions, but two: wine and music.
It’s called Jazz on the Vine, and it’s held at the historic Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. During my 14-year tenure in Chicago, I attended Jazz on the Vine 10 times… and was never disappointed.
Elkhart Lake is situated about an hour from Milwaukee and about two-and-a-half hours from Chicago, and it annually attracts attendees from both big cities. The genre of music is “smooth jazz” — a term reviled by many traditional jazz lovers, but embraced by people who prefer their instrumental music with a distinct, danceable beat.
This year, the headliner is saxophonist extraordinaire Mindi Abair, who will be backed by The Bone Shakers. Even if you’re not into smooth jazz, you may have seen Abair at various times on “American Idol,” or perhaps touring with Rod Stewart.
Other performers announced for this year’s Jazz on the Vine include Michael Lington, featuring Kenny Lattimore; Nick Colionne; Vincent Ingala; Cindy Bradley and Chris Strandring; Down to the Bone; Roman Street, and Marcell Gayton.
As in past years, the music will begin on Friday evening, continue all day and into the night on Saturday, and conclude with Sunday brunch.
What makes Jazz on the Vine special — besides the wonderful music and unique setting — is the opportunity to sample wine from all over the world. Wineries and distributors display their wares in a tent that also houses the performance area, and attendees can walk from table to table sampling a wide array of varietal wines and blends. Once you find something you like, you can purchase it by the glass or the bottle.
I use Jazz on the Vine to sample wines I’d otherwise never encounter at a supermarket or even a wine shop — the kind of wines that are featured in the clubs and Cyber Circle offerings of Vinesse. And through the years, just as with Vinesse, I’ve discovered a number of wines that have become personal favorites and I now enjoy with each new vintage.
We all know how wonderful wine can be, in so many ways. The same is true of music. When you put the two together in a bucolic setting, magic can happen… as it does every year at Jazz on the Vine.
For information on the 2015 edition of Jazz on the Vine, which is scheduled for May 8-10, click here.