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Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

Damn these vagaries of the weekly publishing schedule. Damn them, I say!

Last week in this space I cited a dispatch from the city of Greensboro regarding voluntary water restrictions. Just as the paper hit the streets, we were hit with mandatory water restrictions, effective as of Monday. These Level I Warning rules are mostly centered on the watering of lawns – you can only use your sprinklers on the day your trash is picked up, with fines for infractions reaching as high as $200, and $1,000 for businesses.

I know what you’re thinking: What does this mean for the regional wine industry?

Relax, my little drunkies. The grapes are doing fine.

Counterintuitively, a dry growing season is good for grapes. You don’t want those suckers getting too much water – it unnecessarily swells the fruit and can cause rot on the vine. But a fairly dry year yields grapes dense with flavor and sugars, perfect for the vintner’s art.

And as it’s harvest time at many area wineries, you can go and see for yourself, though you can’t taste the 2007 vintages because, dumbass, they haven’t been turned into wine yet.

Still….

There’s Swirlfest at the Grove Winery, held on Monday, Labor Day, at noon. The free event will feature live music headlined by Bruce Piephoff, hayride vineyard tours and the release of the Grove’s 2005 Sangiovese, aged 22 months in oak barrels. Check their site, grovewinery.com for more info.

And over in Stokesdale on Saturday will be the Harvest Party at Stonefield Cellars, which for a modest fee will include wine tastings, live music and a ladies’ grape stomping contest. They’ve got a website, too – stonefieldcellars.com – with more information about the event.

If you like beer (and I know you do) check out the English beer tasting at the Press Wine Café on Wednesday. It starts at 7 p.m. and will feature many bitter brews. Call the restaurant, 336.333.3190 for reservations.

In other, non-booze related local food news:

The Earth Fare culinary series has two installments this week. On Wednesday at noon learn to make a cold wheatberry salad, and Friday at 7 p.m. there will be lessons on maple-glazed pork chops, which would go equally well with a pinot noir or a heavier chardonnay, in my opinion.

Table 16, a new Italian restaurant located on the South Elm Street corner which once housed Undercurrent, has opened for lunch and dinner. Cuisine will be Northern Italian-based fusion – lots of seafood and modern takes on traditional dishes – with nary a meatball in sight.

And Chipotle, the Triad’s newest Tex-Mex chain eatery, will be donating proceeds from sales of all menu items made with naturally-raised pork, beef and chicken to Farm Aid because, apparently, Willie Nelson and John Cougar Mellencamp dropped the ball somewhere along the line.

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