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Red Crown Welcomes Grosse Pointe South Alum as Guest of Honor Sunday

Join Matt Smith of Kendall Jackson Family Wines at the Grosse Pointe Park barbecue restaurant this weekend.

Patch File Photo.
Patch File Photo.

Matt Smith might call Sonoma County, California his home nowadays, but he still remembers where he came - Grosse Pointe Park.

A winemaker for Kendall Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, it was Smith who reached out to new Grosse Pointe Park restaurant, Red Crown. Owner Mindy Lopus knew right away she had to arrange for him to come in for a visit.

"As Matt is a highly respected winemaker and a Grosse Pointe [native], it didn’t take much thought to say yes!" said Lopus.

Smith will be the special guest at a reception and multi-course wine dinner this Sunday at 6 p.m. at Red Crown. Lopus will host the evening while Smith shares details of his career, the Kendall Jackson story and his wines. And of course, Kendall Jackson vino will accompany the food being served, and be available for purchase, at a discounted price, at the end of the evening.

"I'm really excited to bring my passion for creating wines from some of the greatest vineyards in California back to my roots," said Smith. "I will be among a number of family members and friends on Sunday night, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate together than to share some great food and great wines."

Smith initially became interested in the business of winemaking following a blending seminar he attended 13 years ago, which coincidentally, happened to be hosted by Kendall Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom. He then took on his first gig at a winery one year later, moving on to attend the Master's School in winemaking at the University of California Davis, graduating in 2003.

After working overseas in Burgundy, France and Australia for various wineries, Smith became a part of the Kendall Jackson team in 2004 and oversees Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Meritage Red.

"Kendall Jackson is a family-owned, world-renowned winery," said Lopus. "They practice sustainability and environmental responsibility and offer a diverse selection of wines from multiple vineyards and wineries, from value wines through some of the most expensive wines available."

Red Crown opened along Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park in early March, taking over the spot of the former Standard Oil building. The food is defined as "American comfort food with a twist" and offers menu items such as a salmon BLT, watermelon and tomato salad and wood-grilled chicken breast.

According to Lopus, vino is a big part of the Red Crown. The restaurant boasts an extensive beverage list featuring all-American wines from quality wineries.

"Our wine selections are based on the best representation of specific varietals as well as a sense of place of where the grapes are grown," she said.  "We focus on quality first regardless of whether it’s our most inexpensive glass pour or our most expensive wine by the bottle."

Red Crown also offers several wines on tap, an emerging trend in the industry.

Red Crown is part of Lopus' Silver Pig Restaurant Group. Smith's appearance will mark the restaurant's inaugural vintner dinner. Similar events are on tap for the future though including several wine tastings.

The Matt Smith reception will be held from 6 – 9 p.m. on July 14. Tickets are $65 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

Red Crown is located at 15301 Kercheval in Grosse Pointe Park and is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, call the restaurant at 313-822-3700 or visit its website.

To learn more about Kendall Jackson Family Wines, visit the winery's website.

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