By MIKE NORTON At last! After a balmy weekend and a couple of generous spring thunderstorms, the flowers are popping out all over, the birds are singing, and life in The Teece is good! I'm getting my bike out of the garage tonight and making sure it's tuned up for the season. Next come the patio chairs and the grill! I notice that the folks from the National Cherry Festival seem to be in the same mood. Although the main Festival is still months away, they're welcoming spring next week with the second annual Global Wine Warm-Up, a preview of the popular Global Wine Pavilion that attracted over 1,500 wine and food fans at last year's Cherry Festival. The event, which is being billed as "Traverse City's Coolest Happy Hour," is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Century 21 Northland parking lot on the corner of State and Park streets (just across from the Park Place Hotel). It will feature an eclectic international wine bar of some 30 different labels selected by Master Sommelier Ron Edwards (who'll be on hand to discuss his picks) as well as a selection of craft brews.
Gathering the spring harvest of beach glass along West Bay
And since good drink requires good food, the creative team at The Cook's House will be preparing "a few delicious dishes," including hors d'oeuvres of Olive tapenade, 9 Bean Rows Baguette, Fromage Blanc, and Gemolata. Risotto with Braised Lamb and Figs; Tart with Potato, Apple, and Caramelized Onions; and Raclette on Puff Pastry. There'll also be a General Cigar tent showcasing Macanudo and Partagas cigars, and fine jazz provided by Ron Getz. The best part, though, is the price. A lot of these foodie events are downright expensive, but this one is a steal. For $12.95, you get a Stolzle wine glass, a plate of hors d'oeuvres, and a first glass of wine - and it's only $10 if you register early at http://visit.cherryfestival.org/global-wine-warm-up (Additional food and drink tickets will be available for $3 each.) Want to learn more? You can even scope out the wine list and the menu at http://visit.cherryfestival.org/featured-wines-1 and http://visit.cherryfestival.org/featured-menu Man, I love living here!