I’ve been invited to be a “celebrity” grape stomper at the Vevay Indiana Swiss Wine Festival this weekend.
If you want to see me pulling a Lucille Ball, barefoot in a tub of grapes, this is your chance. I’m stomping at noon on Saturday.
It’s a contest to make the most juice from those squished grapes (I just know this is going to be gross). But on the off chance I win, $1000 will be provided to the Freestore Food Bank. If I place second, they get $500. I have a one in twelve chance of winning.
Once upon a time, Valley Vineyards in Morrow had a heck of a wine festival each spring. I have friends who would rent an RV and camp there. But 4 years ago, they cancelled the festival. (Has it really been that long?)
According to Mark Fisher at the Dayton Daily News, the festival is returning on Saturday, June 4, 11 am – 11 pm.
The event will celebrate 41 years of winemaking at Valley Vineyards, and will feature oferings from food producers and restaurants such as Wildflower Cafe of Mason and The Jam and Jelly Lady of Lebanon. The festival also will include the winery’s annual “Walk-Run Through the Vineyards,” which this year will benefit a Hamilton Twp. “Shop With A Cop” program, according to the winery’s web site. Live music and hot-air balloon rides also will be offered.
This year they’ve modified the festival format, most notably limiting it to one day and there will be no camping or overnight parking. I know what you’re thinking – they’ve killed the party. Well, it’s a wine festival people, not a campground. And if you suspect you’ll be overindulging, you can stay at the Spring Hill Suites Cincinnati Northeast, which will be offering a free shuttle to and from the festival.
Visit the Valley Vineyards web site for more information.
Welcome to Wine-Girl’s Annual Wine Festival Survival Guide. Every year I poll a large group of wine bloggers and find out if there are any outstanding tips, which I add to my own. This year, I’ve added new tips based on my experience pouring wines at last year’s festival.
These tips are geared for people who are heading to the Festival to try new wines, learn new things, and not get generally hammered.
So in no particular order, here are my tips for surviving a festival with hundreds of wines and even more people:
Cincinnati is lucky to have one of the best wine festivals in the nation. We get wineries from all over, distributors pop up to lead tastings, and even better, the week leading up to Wine Fest is generally packed with great events.
Enough people now know about the Thursday night dinners that they are mostly sold out. There are a few left and tickets are priced per person:
Daveed’s at 934 featuring Peter Franus Wine Company, ticket: $125
Eddie Merlot’s featuring Greg Norman Estates Wine with Morgan Leigh Norman, ticket: $125
Embers featuring Au Bon Climat, ticket: $150
Stone Creek Dining Co. West Chester featuring Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Bob Berteau, Head Winemaker, ticket: $125
You can order these tickets via the Wine Festival web site. Winery dinner sales close on Tuesday, March 8, at midnight.
If you find $125+ to be a tad steep, that’s okay. Chances are you can find the winemakers around town at various tastings. Ask around at your favorite wine shop and see if anyone special is dropping by. You see, while the distributors have the winemakers in town, they take them to as many shops as possible to both talk with the shop buyers and the consumers. Additionally, certain restaurants might be having winemaker dinners that are not officially linked to the Wine Festival. For instance, 20 Brix is having a dinner with JAQK wines (sold out though!) that’s not part of the “official festival.”
So check tasting schedules at various shops and restaurants or just give a call. Sometimes these tastings are pretty last minute. I’d start looking for winemakers to appear around Tuesday and for a few of them to last through Sunday.
Don’t forget, you can wrap up your wine festival week at Dilly Cafe on Sunday with one of those lingering winemakers – Rich Parducci. I happen to be partial to his Mendocino wines, so I recommend you reserve a spot for that brunch.
Hmm … that makes it sound like you’ll be having German winemakers for dinner. In truth, they’ll be having dinner with you at Bouquet in Covington. I don’t post too many special events lately, but I happen to be a huge (HUGE!) fan of Johannes Leitz and of the Nikolaihof biodynamic estate. If we hadn’t just replaced a lot of plumbing in my house and brakes on my car, Kevin & I would quickly shell out the money to go to this. Instead, I’m writing about it.
Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar will be hosting a German and Austrian Winemaker Dinner on Thursday, Jan. 20. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a champagne reception, followed by a five-course gourmet dinner at 7 p.m. prepared by chef Stephen Williams.
In attendance will be German winemakers Johannes Selbach of Selbach-Oster, Harald Hexamer of Weingut Hexamer and Johannes Leitz of Weingut Leitz, along with Austrian winemaker Christine Saahs of Nikolaihof. All of the featured winemakers, as well as wine experts Jeff Hickenlooper of Vintner Select and Nicole Mersmann of Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, will be available throughout the evening to answer guests’ questions about the showcased wines.
The cost of dinner is $75 per person, including tax and gratuity. Space is limited. For more information, or to make a reservation, please call 859-491-7777.
The Winemaker Dinner Menu is as follows:
Nikolaihof 2009 Grüner Veltliner Hefeabzug
Smoked Scallop Crudo
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr 2009 Riesling Kabinett
Ossabaw Heritage Pork
Weingut Hexamer Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg 2009 Riesling Quarzit
Duck Stuffed With Braised Rabbit
Sattler 2009 St. Laurent, Neusiedlersee
Duo of Hot and Cold Foie Gras
Weingut Leitz Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz 2009 Riesling Spätlese
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