It hardly seems possible that an entire year has gone by since Mrs. Tiedemann and I attended the last Wellfield Botanic Gardens Annual Dinner. But last Thursday evening we once again had the privilege of attending The Gardens (as it is called by many) Annual Dinner. What a grand evening it was. The temperature was in the mid 70s and The Gardens were in perfect condition and absolutely gorgeous.
If you live in the Elkhart area and haven’t visited The Gardens, you are really missing out on a wonderful experience. In fact, if you haven’t visited any botanical garden lately, you should. Another worthwhile thing to do is to support a garden through annual memberships, donations or sponsorships.
Memberships usually have various levels of participation and provide an array of benefits. One of these benefits is free admission to botanical gardens in other areas. Friends Brian and Mary Thomas just returned from a vacation in Denver where they were visiting their children. While on their travels, they visited both the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wis. The 26-year old Janesville garden was an inspiration for the Elkhart Wellfield Gardens project. At both of these venues they received free admission due to their annual membership at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens. What a deal. One final note on other botanical gardens: check out this cool list of the 55 most stunning gardens to see!
This year’s event, simply called “A Summer Evening in the Gardens” was again a white tent affair beginning with a cocktail hour held throughout The Gardens. It was simply a delightful way to spend some time wandering through the many completed Gardens and looking at more than a dozen sculptures positioned throughout.
The entire evening is meant to honor the many donors, volunteers and members whom have contributed so much to the success of The Gardens.
This year’s special honoree was Eric Amt the retiring Executive Director of The Gardens. I think I am safe in saying that the Wellfield Botanic Gardens wouldn’t have been able to achieve the level of success it has without the many efforts of Amt. He certainly deserved the tribute he received, including the key to the City of Elkhart, presented to him by Elkhart Mayor Richard Moore.
This year’s dinner was again provided by Kurt Janowsky and his superior staff at Matterhorn Catering. Kurt’s chefs did an outstanding job of preparing the evening’s entrées of steak filets and Maine lobster. His team of servers was excellent…making the meal a success. Mrs. Tiedemann and I, again this year, donated all of the evening’s wine compliments of Tiedemann Wines.
The evening’s wines for the cocktail hour included:
2006 Albertina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
This wine is a blended Cabernet made by winemaker Greg Graziano of the Zmarzly Family Vineyards in the Mendocino area in California. His tasting notes refer to a palate of blackberries and plums with hints of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, with a rich mouth feel.
2012 Twenty Rows Chardonnay
This Chardonnay was produced by my good friend and winemaker Brian Nuss of Napa Valley. It produced a burst of juicy lemon and pineapple flavors, while remaining fresh and well balanced on your palate.
Both the Albertina Cabernet and the Twenty Rows Chardonnay were perfect wines to stroll through The Gardens with on such a wonderful summer evening…perfect pairings, you could say.
For the dinner wines, Mrs. Tiedemann and I provided our own 2010 Glenwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and our newly released 2012 Glenwood Cellars Chardonnay.
2010 Glenwood Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon by Vintner Carl Tiedemann
With each and every vintage of the Glenwood Cellars Cabernet winemaker Brian Nuss and I strive to blend a wine that is approachable out of the bottle. The 2010 Glenwood Cellars Cabernet is just such a wine. Rated at 90 points by Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, this wine has an intense nose with concentrated aromas of red fruit, cedar and coffee. On the palate the wine is full of dark cherries and black currants and has an ample finish. This wine paired very well with the steak filet entrée.
2012 Glenwood Cellars Chardonnay by Vintner Carl Tiedemann
This wine is 100% Sonoma Coast and just released in early January 2014. This is my first wine with winemaker Kent Humphrey of Eric Kent Wines. Although still very young, this Chardonnay has the potential to mature into a delicious and complex chardonnay. The nose is rich with scents of poached white pear and lychee and hints of vanilla. On the palate it has flavors of citrus, baked apple and lemon custard. The finish is lush and lengthy. This wine paired well with the lobster entrée at dinner.
In speaking with The Gardens new Executive Director Steve Germani (who joined The Gardens team in January 2014), he indicated this year’s attendance was off slightly but still reached 325 people.
“The reason I took to this job is because The Gardens have inspired a sense of community in Elkhart,” Germani said. “It is inspiring. So many people have come together to accomplish this project and this says something special about our community. Most communities of our size do not have something like this or even the ability to create something like The Gardens. It is wonderful to be a part of something so exciting.”
The annual dinner is considered a very important fundraiser and the money raised covers about one-third of The Gardens’ annual operating budget. As I mentioned earlier, even though the dinner is officially considered a fundraiser, its main purpose is to honor and thank all of the donors and volunteers associated with making The Gardens such a success. I believe it definitely pulled off its mission this year. Show your support of The Gardens by visiting the website to learn about upcoming events you might attend.
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Until next week,