Celebrating North Carolina Wine
Kristi Maier | @triadfoodies
We are in the throes of Spring and our North Carolina wine region is enjoying a few festivals across our fruited valley.
This Memorial Day weekend is the NC Wine Festival at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons. About 40 wineries and a handful of North Carolina breweries will be represented along with food vendors, craft vendors and music. Want to grab some vino and spread out on a blanket or set up picnic style? This festival is for you. Wine will be available to sample as well as purchase by the glass, bottle or case. This year marks the NC Wine Festival’s 17th year. The group, “Chairmen of the Board” is the main headliner with other acts throughout the day.
On June 3, the 12th annual Salute! NC Wine Celebration “uncorks” on the streets of downtown Winston-Salem.
What makes Salute different than the others? They all have trucks and vendors, music and lots and lots of wine. But in addition to the state’s newest favorite fruit and the stories of the winemakers, Salute celebrates local chefs and the restaurants along its footprint. If you can’t find some grub at one of the trucks at Salute, there’s a sure bet you’ll find something delicious at one of the many downtown restaurants on Fourth Street and further out from “Restaurant Row.”
Salute features several events throughout the week leading up to the festival, including wine and a movie at a/perture cinema with the documentary film, “American Wine Story.” Filmgoers get a glass of wine and the movie. The local paired winery is Hanover Park Vineyard. After the film, winemakers Amy and Michael Helton will briefly tell their own wine story as one of the oldest vineyards in the state.
On Friday, the annual An Evening of Southern Food opens the festivities with celebrity chef Lucey Buffett, author of the book, “Gumbo Love.” You may think the name is familiar, she’s the sister of singer Jimmy Buffett (no, he’s not scheduled to appear). An Evening of Southern Food also celebrates local chefs, Jeff Bacon of Triad Community Kitchen and Providence Restaurant and Paul Schender of Garner Foods & Texas Pete. Chef Buffett will be the feature presentation as she explores classic southern dishes step-by-step, interacting with the audience along the way.
A few North Carolina wines will be available to sample by the glass.
After the gates open at Salute on Saturday, more than 40 wineries and vendors will be lined up along Fourth Street between Marshall and Broad streets as well as Spruce and Poplar streets. Wineries will be sampling their wine and selling by the glass, bottle or case. Jason Thiel, president of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership says, “Salute is a great combination of music, food and wine all in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem. People have a great time.”
Of course when it comes to wine, food is always a topic of conversation. That’s where North Carolina Food and Wine University comes in. FWU is an interactive tent with multiple chefs and cooking demonstrations throughout the day. Each dish is one that the “student” can make at home. Winemakers have been chosen for the pairing of that dish. The winemaker will also present the wine and explain how the wine best complements the food. Guests will then get a chance to swirl, sniff and sample the wine. Here’s the schedule:
12:30- Chef Ali Utley, Historic Brookstown Inn
Sweet& Savory Crepes with mascarpone, orange and ginger
Starrlight Mead Winery
1:30- Chef Tim Grandinetti, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar/Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar
Nonna’s Skillet with Cavatelli Pasta, EVOO, Roasted Garlic, Italian Sausage & Chickpeas
2:30- Chef Travis Myers, ALL LOCAL CHALLENGE
Hanover Park Vineyard
3:30- Chef John Bouley, Twin City Quarter/Embassy Suites
RagApple Lassie Vineyards
4:30- Terry Miller and Joey Burdette, Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge,
Cream filled pastry with port wine ganache
The NCFWU tent is scheduled to move from its former location at Fourth and Poplar to the parking lot of the Texas Pete Headquarters across the street.
Your ticket purchase gets you access to festival grounds. Ticket holders get a wristband and a commemorative Salute glass for sampling wines.
Wanna go? NC Wine Festival is this Saturday, May 27 from 12pm-6pm. VIP tickets allowing for early as well as a private entry are $60. Advance tickets $30. Tickets at the gate $40. To purchase, visit ncwinefestival.com
Salute NC Wine Celebration is Saturday, June 3 from 12pm-6pm. Winery Tastings end at 5:00 but sales will continue until close. Advance tickets: $25 Gate ticket: $30
To purchase, visit salutencwine.com