All Aboard the Cruise de France

It's no secret that some of France's most notable wines come from its river banks -- the Rhone and Loire, to name two examples. And many more vineyards are just a stone's throw away from rivers like the Rhine, Garonne, and Dordogne.

In recent years, it's become fashionable for wine enthusiasts to cruise down these waterways, either by barge or riverboat, with stops for forays to the local wineries. So as dedicated followers of fahsion, the MoCool crew has decided to weigh anchor and lazily drift around our favorite river-adjacent wine regions.


On Friday evening, Captain JuliaB will welcome you to the Opening Reception. Chef Alan will have a heaping pile of BBQ -- not exactly French -- and we expect your wine contributions to follow suit, with bottles that would be off-theme for Saturday. Welcome but not mandatory, expecially for out-of-towners, are your food contributions to accompany the BBQ.


For 25 years, the Saturday tasting picnic has been MoCool's centerpiece. And for the last dozen, we've had the privilege of picnicking under the big tent on the shore of Nordman Lake, Jan and Tom's privately owned compound about 15 minutes west of Ann Arbor. (For more about the site, visit the Stay at the Lake page.)

We'll .separate the large MoCool tent into regions highlighting wines from the various river wine regions around France -- take a good look at the map and bring along something interesting!Tasting under the tent at MoCool 10: Tour de France (2001)


Chief Galley Slave Alan Kerr plans a totally French food service for MoCool 2017, with emphasis on regional foods from each of its riverside wine regions.: Plan to consume prodigious quantities of hot and cold running appetizers from the opening bell, a main course served around 6PM,  Lots of vegetarian-friendly dishes will be on the menu, too.

Chef Alan Kerr at workIf you're a MoCool newbie, you'll quickly discover that the food alone makes the MoCool picnic more than worth the trip!

Once the wine and food begin to slacken in their attraction -- that's when we bring on the band! Our hosts, Tom and Jan, and their musical minions in Naked Ace will serve up a round of rocking bluesy gumbo guaranteed to keep your feet moving -- possibly toward the the wine tent for some dessert sips.. Sauternes and Steely Dan? Sounds like a great combo to us! Dancing not only allowed, but encouraged!


Friday's reception costs $40, along with your choice of a non-French bottle to share.. The Saturday picnic costs $75 per person, plus your contribution of a bottle of wine (or more) that fits the Cruise de France theme -- i.e  Loire, Rhone, Burgundy and the like.  An even better bargain: if you're coming to both days, the two-event package is discounted to $100. Advance signup is required.Music by Naked Ace and guests at Game of Rhones (2015)


As always, we welcome (and rely on) volunteer assistance for help with picnic setup on Saturday morning and cleanup on Sunday morning, as well as some local folks to run shopping and pickup errands in the days preceding the picnic. Volunteer kitchen assistants for Chef Alan during the day on Friday or on Saturday morning are also welcome. If you'd like to help with any of these, please contact Tom Noland, our Groovy Bus Dude and Volunteer Coordinator.


Once you're up to speed with all the info, head to the MoCool signup site to sign yourself up, list those joining you, and order a  t-shirt or 3. We prefer that you pay with your credit card or PayPal when you sign up. Alternatively, you can send a check to the address listed in your confirmation email.

We ask that you please register ASAP. Knowing approximate numbers greatly helps us to plan food and other logistics. The last day to signup for the picnic is Monday, August 8.

Sous-hef Allan Bree serves Tom Neman at "Hail That Cab" (1999)

So you know: We can't give a refund if you cancel after August 8, or simply don't show up. We can't give any refunds for cabins, RV space, or tent sites, unless someone else takes your space. MoCool is a breakeven proposition at best, which doesn't leave room for changes once we set budgets and quantities and start to buy food and supplies.


MoCool -- the Motown Co-Operative Off-Line -- is the world's longest-running off-line gathering of wired wine lovers, started in 1992 by a group in the Detroit / Ann Arbor area. Over the years, our annual August tastings have brought together wine lovers from across the US and Canada, and as far away as France, South Africa and New Zealand!

The event is non-profit, run by a loosely organized group of volunteers for the purpose of enjoying good wines, good food, and socializing with fellow wine lovers. If you've read this far and that idea sounds pretty good to you, then you're probably one of us!


Go to the Contact page to email the appropriate person.

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