Scott and I decided to switch things up at Grapes & Ale this year. I’d be the designated driver, and he’d have an opportunity to sample all of the wine. The only catch? That he’d write the recap.
Nestled at the corner of 9th and Carnegie, there’s just something about Progressive Field that I really enjoy. I’m a transplant to Cleveland, so my fondness for the stadium doesn’t stem from a home team association. And, as someone who competed in marching band through the Philadelphia and South Jersey region, I’ve been in my fair share of stadiums. But Progressive captures something few others do.
I’ve mulled over what that “something” is, and I currently claim it is “hopeful enthusiasm.” Clevelanders have a solid ability to both recognize “what is” while planning for and looking forward to “what could be.” Something about Progressive Field captures that. Regardless of its corporate origins, the stadium’s current name is very fitting for this city.
What makes everything better is when you have the opportunity to freely drink the official beverages of “hopeful enthusiasm” – wine and beer. The Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field event, which happened a few Fridays ago on June 27th, brings all this together for a great time. And, since it raises funds for Our Lady of the Wayside, we have a perfect storm of good vibes.
Arriving at Progressive Field a tad early, Amanda and I could smell the predominantly barbecued food that was waiting to accompany the many spirits that are automatically included with entry.
After getting our etched wineglasses, my first stop was to try the Johnny Appleseed hard apple cider, followed by some flipflop moscato. Then we moved on to grab some of the always-delicious Famous Dave’s wings.
Amanda was Designated Driver that evening, and there was plenty of bottled water and soda (“pop” if you’re not a transplant) for her. There was also salad and veggies, ample seating if you walked in deep enough, and even a putting green.
If you don’t like wine, the Beer Garden had taken over Progressive’s Budweiser Patio. You don’t need to buy tickets to go in – although you do need an empty glass and then tickets if you want any beer – but the mini hot dogs were delicious and the snow cone machine was a great treat.
There were also some games spread about. If leaving with the little wine glass wasn’t enough, the beer tickets got you a handled mason jar and a Lime-a-Rita sample got you another festive glass. Although I didn’t have any, a trusted source told me the Leinenkugel’s stand had brought a Russian Imperial Stout that was great.
If you didn’t bring extra cash for the beer (like me), no worries. There was still plenty of that free-flowing wine, as well as a few other spirits.
To be honest, my wine preferences are pretty narrow; the wine needs to be white and sweet. I’m not listing a lot of sampled names here not because there wasn’t a large selection, but because there was and my sampling was more copious than my note-taking.
The vendors stretched down an entire side of Progressive Field; there was plenty of wine I didn’t drink, and plenty of wine that I did. But you needed to do something special to stand-out in my memory, and the vendor which delivered that was Cupcake Vineyards:
- Walk-in wine truck pulled into the stadium? Check.
- Photo-op? Check.
- Second photo-op? Check.
- iPads with all the info and cat videos you could want? Check. (Especially because one of our cats is named Cupcake.)
- Tiny cupcakes at the ready? Check.
- Delicious Prosecco? Double check.
When it came to wine, Cupcake Vineyards got my vote for “Win.”
Great venue, great drinks, great food, great company – what more am I to say? Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field was a feel-good event last year, and it was a feel-good event this year, and I eagerly look forward to next’s. Until then, I declared I’d review this as a sonnet, so here it is:
Progressive Field is a really great space,
Open and cool and filled up with big smiles.
If the Indians don’t manage to place,
It’s still a spot where-in I’d walk for miles.
Awesome is Our Lady of the Wayside,
Caring for those who are needing a boost.
Providing shelter, respite, and a ride.
So help by drinking fermented grape juice!
Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field is fun,
Food, spirits, and beer all over – delish!
So buy some tickets, you son of a gun!
“This never should end,” is what you will wish!
So come on down to 9th and Carnegie,
Bring hunger and thirst…but not the baby.
- I know Carnegie/baby is a terrible rhyme, but how about YOU come up with a better word that rhymes with Carnegie!
- Also, Amanda was offered tickets to attend Grapes & Ale at Progressive Field in exchange for blogging about it. I got her second ticket because I can flap my eyeleshes like a pro. The decision to attend and post about an event is her own, based on whether she thinks it’s something that may also interest others.
- My decision to blog about the event was not my own, but part of Amanda’s agreeing to be Designated Driver so I could run about downing samples like a thirsty camel at an Oasis Sample Party. It seems batting eyelashes is not as powerful a tool of persuasion as I thought.