Salute! the North Carolina Wine Festival is Here!

The wine festival that gets me going the most, Salute! the North Carolina Wine Festival, is tomorrow, June 4, from noon until 6pm in downtown Winston-Salem. I’m excited about the wine, the atmosphere, the people watching and yes, the food. I’m going to reprint the entry from the NC Food & Wine University page with some of my own stuff, if you’ll indulge me. Again, this excerpt is property of Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and Salute! the NC Wine Festival.1045x299_fill_header

For decades it seems, the fine art of wine appreciation and selecting the proper wine to go with certain foods left many beginners a tad intimidated.  There was a sense of mystery surrounding the different varietals and a classic stereotype of “wine snobbery” that accompanied those who had solved the puzzle.  More recently, as wines have become more affordable and available from national, regional and local vineyards, many novices continue to feel unqualified to tiptoe into the world of oenophiles, the wine experts.

Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration wants to forever put aside those feelings of wine incompetence with an entertaining and educational opportunity perfect for all levels of wine-lovers.  De-mystifying the wonderful world of wine, and clarifying the art of food and wine pairings that bring out the best in our North Carolina wines is the mission of “North Carolina Food & Wine University,” back by popular demand at this year’s festival.

Five unique presentations will be held at NCF&WU every 45 minutes throughout the day.  The knowledgeable local chefs from some of the best restaurants and winemakers from some great NC wineries will help unravel the mysteries of wine, including how to swirl, sniff and savor the luscious varietals that are being produced in our state.

But the biggest lesson to learn at NCF&WU is how to relax and enjoy the experience and the experiments of mixing and matching your favorite wines with different foods.  Or maybe you are trying to find your favorite type of wine?  At this University, there are no wrong questions, and the only test will be as you rate the flavors of wines you’ll try while enjoying the festival!  Be sure you don’t skip these classes….plan to attend at least one during your day at Salute!

Schedule of Chefs Demos and Wineries:   

12:30 – 
Chef Stephanie Tyson, Sweet Potatoes and Hanover Park Vineyards 
– Cornbread Hoe Cake with collard green bruschetta & goat cheese topped with Texas Pete CHA! spiced Shrimp with caviar

Chef Stephanie is the culinary genius behind much of Sweet Potatoes’ success, along with her partner, the awesome Vivian Joiner. Hanover Park has always impressed me with their wares and I’ve had several tastings with them in restaurants in this town.

1:30 –
Chef Richard Miller, Graze Restaurant + Raylen Vineyards
– Grilled NC Shrimp and Oysters with Good Night Brothers Country Ham
      Cucumber Salad, Tossed Local Greens, Lemon mustard vinaigrette

Chef Richard is the reigning champion of the Competition Dining series and makes Graze a not-of-the-ordinary hotel restaurant. Raylen is a beautiful vineyard that produces some great wines. They have their own festival coming up in July.

 2:30 –
Chef Travis Myers, Willow’s Bistro and Jones von Drehl Vineyards
ALL LOCAL CHALLENGE featuring fresh produce from Minglewood Farms

– Duck 2ways with Harmony Ridge duck breast, pulled confit leg, duck dirty risotto, wilted Cheshire Farms dino kale, bacon jam & roasted duck jus. 

Chef Travis is one of the most talented chefs I know and there’s a reason I call him “Wonderboy.” You’ll see when you taste his food. I don’t know about Jones von Drehl but I am sure I won’t be able to say that after tomorrow.

3:30
Chef Kristina Fuller, Crafted: The Art of the Taco and Raffaldini Vineyards 

– Bahn Mi Taco Bulgogi beef, pickled daikon radishes, carrots and onions, jalapeño, white sauce, cilantro  

Former guest on The Less Desirables, Chef Kris has a way, and a vision, with the non-conventional when it comes to food. She’s a great talent and Raffaldini has to be one of the most pristine wineries in the Yadkin Valley, not to mention in the state. It’s picturesque and looks like you’re in Tuscany (at least from what I have seen that Tuscany looks like), plus the wine is fantastic.

4:30
Chef Tirra Cowan from Black Mountain Chocolate and Lake James Cellars 
– Dark Chocolate Torte with Levering Orchards Sour Cherry Compote

Another former TLD guest, Chef Tirra makes some out-of-this-world confections over at Black Mountain Chocolate. You can go by and watch her work through the glass and you can certainly see her do her magic at this event. Like Jones von Drehl, I don’t know about Lake James Cellars but I can’t wait to.

Salute! tickets are $25 in advance (you should purchase, now!) and $30 at the event. You can purchase tickets and get more info from their website. If you see me out tomorrow, please, come say hello. I love to meet my readers and friends.

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