By David Rogers. April 7, 2014. BLOWING ROCK, NC — One of the biggest weekends in Blowing Rock arrives Thursday. The Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival gets under way with a full slate fun, food, and fine fermented 'freshments.
Now in its 9th year, the Blowing Rock-hosted Wine & Food Festival continues to grow, adding more features and events — and bringing an ever-increasing number of people to town. Some fancy the Grand Wine Tasting on Saturday, but there are so many ancillary events — every day — that it is hard to choose. Here is just a sampling of selected events, some of which have repeat offerings on other days of the festival. Check out the full slate at www.blueridgewinefestival.com.
CLICK HERE for Tickets to all Festival events.
- (11:00 am) SEMINAR — From Girl Scouts to the military, we are taught to "be prepared." What better way to prepare for a wine-centric festival than a seminar about "How To Taste Wine Like a Pro"? Learn the art of wine tasting with Anne Prevatte, Wine Director of Grandfather Golf & Country Club and a Certified Sommelier (wine steward), and Sharon Crisman, owner of Christopher's Wine & Cheese of Blowing Rock. You will learn how to decipher the aromas and flavors of wine — and of course taste a few while analyzing the smells, tastes and descriptions! Cost: $25 per person. Hosted at Christopher's Wine & Cheese, on Sunset Dr. in Blowing Rock, just east of Main Street.
- (2:00 pm) SEMINAR — There are more than 30,000 wineries worldwide, so where do we start in finding the best values in wine in terms of price and quality. This seminar is a good start: "Hidden Treasures, Best Values". Cost: $25 per person. Hosted at Hillwinds Inn, Sunset Dr. at Ransom St., Blowing Rock.
- (3:00 pm) SEMINAR — Finding harmony is just for a capella choirs! This seminar, "Wine & Cheese" explores the fundamentals of pairing different wines and a variety of cheeses. Cost: $28 per person. Hosted by Meadowbrook Inn, Blowing Rock (accessed from either North Main St. or Sunset Dr., across from Blowing Rock School)
- (4:00 pm) SEMINAR — O boy — get in touch with your feminine side with "Wine & Chocolate". Truth be told, females don't have a monopoly on the chocoholic world! This is a great seminar on learning which chocolates best accompany specific types of wines. Cost: $28 per person. Hosted by Hillwinds Inn, Sunset Dr. at Ransom St., Blowing Rock.
- (5:00 pm) WORKSHOP — "Cork & Canvas", hosted at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, redefines "work" in workshop. A little bit of wine to go along with your canvas, easel, brushes, and paints (apron provided), and you are all set for an evening of creativity. Cost: $35 for BRAHM members, $40 for non-members.
- (6:30 pm) FOOD EVENT — TASTE! is the newest event of the festival featuring signature dishes presented by area restaraunts and samplings of wines and beers. PLUS — live music. Cost: $35 per person in advance, $45 at the door). Hosted at the The Grand Tasting Tent.
- (8:00 pm) FUNDRAISER! @ Town Tavern — "Wine to Water" is the High Country-based non-profit that is providing opportunities for men, women and children to experience clean, readily available water. Since 2004, Wine to Water has provided access to clean water to more than 250,000 people, installing 500 wells and distributing 25,000 water filters — in countries that include Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and The Phillipines. Hosted by Town Tavern, on Main St. in Blowing Rock, a significant portion of the proceeds Thursday evening go to Wine to Water.
- (10:00 am) TASTING — Let your culinary imagination run amok when tasting over a dozen olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Rustic, on Main Street. The samplings come from Rustic's sister store in Boone, Art of Oil, and even includes some exceptional salts. While there, check out Rustic's highly acclaimed selection of reclaimed wood furniture and handmade accessories & gifts. Mmmmm….Fused Lemon Olive Oil & Violet Balsamic Vinegar, Chipotle Olive Oil & Peach Balsamic Vinegar, and Butternut Squash Seed Oil — if those don't make your mouth water, try Tuscan Herb Olive Oil & Traditional 18-Year Balsamic Vinegar!
- (11:00 am) SEMINAR — Red wine lovers will embrace this class led by Grandfather Golf & Country Club's Anne Prevatte and Christopher's Wine & Cheese owner Sharon Crisman. With the "Pinot Noir Challenge", you get to sample Pinot Noir from a variety of regions, including Oregon, Burgundy, California, Argentina, and New Zealand. Cost: $28 per person. Hosted at Christopher's Wine & Cheese.
- (2:00 pm) SEMINAR — Leave your galleon in the parking lot. You won't be finding any dubloons, but instead "Discovering Spanish Treasure" among some of Spain's well-known — and lesser known — wines. Cost: $32 per person. Hosted at Meadowbrook Inn.
- (5:00 pm – 9:30 pm) WINEMAKER'S DINNER — Childress Wine Dinner at Timberlake's, Chetola Mountain Resort & Spa, Blowing Rock. Call 828-295-5055 for reservations.
- (6:30 pm) WINEMAKER'S DINNER — Moffett Winery and Trent Moffett Dinner, Gideon Ridge Inn, Blowing Rock. Cost: $85 per person (plus tax & gratuity).
- (6:30 pm) WINEMAKER'S DINNER — Hanover Park Vineyard Dinner, Vidalia Restaurant, Boone. Former Fire on the Rock culinary champion Sam Ratchford is the owner/executive chef of Vidalia. Cost: $75 per person. Call 828-263-9176 for reservations.
- (6:30 pm) WINEMAKER'S DINNER — Vision Cellars Dinner, The New Public House, Blowing Rock. Reservations: 828-295-3487.
- (7:00 pm) ITALIAN WINE DINNER — The Table at Crestwood Resort & Spa. Cost: $60 per person (plus tax and gratuity).
- (8:00 pm) LIVE ACOUSTIC CONCERT — Jonny Kaplan. Cost: $12 per person. Hosted at the Grand Tasting Tent.
- (9:00 pm) LIVE MUSIC — The Harris Brothers. No cover charge for the "Mountain Jam and Moonshine Tasting". Hosted by Twigs Restaurant, Blowing Rock
- (9:30 pm) LIVE MUSIC — Luke Combs in Concert. No cover charge. Hosted at Town Tavern, Blowing Rock.
- (8:00 am) — SEMINAR — The class outgrew Bald Guy Brew's coffee shop above Footsloggers, so this year "Jason's Coffee Talk" — presented by Jason Campbell — will be co-hosted and staged at Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub, Blowing Rock. Blowing Rock's primo barista extraordinaire will explore the world of coffee varietals and compare different manual brew methods, from chemex and aeropress brewers to Vietnamese drippers, "pour over" devices, and siphon brewers. Cost: $15 per ticket. Reservations suggested at 828-406-1153.
- (8:00 am) — PANCAKE (& FRENCH TOAST) BREAKFAST — Cost: $5 per person includes bacon or sausage. Price does not include beverage, tax and gratuity. Hosted by Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub, Blowing Rock.
- (8:30 am) — RUN! RUN! RUN! — Chetola Resort's "The Corkscrew 5K" — Burn off a few of weekend calories with the "Wine-Free 5k" edition, or enjoy a "spiritual" athletic experience with the "Wine Lovers 5k" (which features 4 wine tasting stations along the course route. Cost for Wine-Free: $25 in advance/ $35 morning of; Wine-Lovers: $30 in advance, $40 morning of. T-shirts, while supplies last. Course through Chetola Resort and Tanger Outlet Center. Information: 828-295-5535 or email email@example.com.
- (9:00 am – 11:00 am) — "Bloody Marys at the Market" — Hosted by Blowing Rock Market on Main Street
- (12:00 noon – 2:00 pm) — "Wine & Beer Tastings at the Market — Hosted by Blowing Rock Market on Main Street
- (11:30 am) — SATELLITE TENT TASTINGS — Included in the price of the Grand Tasting or Grand Reserve Tasting ticket. Tasting tents are scattered around town for wine and craft beer tastings and paired with North Carolina "nibbles."
- (12:30 pm) — Grand Reserve Wine Tasting SOLD OUT.
- (1:30 pm) — GRAND TASTING — Hundres of wines from around the world and North Carolina, plus tasty morsels prepared by the Executive Chef for the Carolina Panthers training camp, Mr. Aidan Waite. Hosted at the Grand Tasting Tent. Cost: $45 in advance, $55 at the door.
- (3:00 pm) — GRAND RESERVE TASTING — The 12:30 pm event is sold out, but a few tickets remain for this edition, also hosted at Inn at Ragged Gardens. $80 in advance, $100 at the door.
- (6:30 pm) — WHISKEY TASTING (AND LIVE MUSIC) — @ The Town Tavern on Main Street, Blowing Rock. Followed by live music: The Harris Brothers.
- (9:30 pm) — LIVE MUSIC — The Cedric Burnside Project, hosted at Canyons Restaurant & Bar. $10 cover charge.
- (10:00 pm) — MUSICAL MURDER MYSTERY — Live theatre presented by Blowing Rock's only professional theatre company, Ensemble Stage. "Resort to Murder" is the show — customized for host venue, Chetola Mountain Resort & Spa. Fun! Cost: $45 per person, includes three wine tastings and a bottomless three-course dessert tray (and, of course, one "Murder").
- (11:30 am) — Jazz and Bubbles Brunch, hosted in a picture perfect setting: Crestwood Resort & Spa, on Shull's Mill Rd., Blowing Rock. Cost: $35 per person. The corks pop at noon, with samplings of sparkling wines from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, California and Germany.
Again, the above listings are just representative of the wide variety of events and activities. Go to www.blueridgewinefestival.com for the full slate and schedule, including descriptions.