Hot weather is not required to soak up all the rich goodness of the Outer Banks. You’ll find timely activities to match any season, plus all the fun, fine food and festivities visitors want to complement an off-season getaway.
Take time going through the portal and enjoy the town of Manteo. It’s on the eastern side of Roanoke Island, which sits between North Carolina’s mainland and the barrier island beach towns that include Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Rodanthe, Avon and Hatteras.
Manteo is everything you could hope for in a small, coastal village; its long history is embedded in many of its buildings, sites and landmarks. Stroll along the downtown waterfront boardwalk and marina, shop for unique art pieces, then set out to explore Roanoke Island’s attractions. They include Roanoke Island Festival Park with its 16th-century replica ship Elizabeth II and the ever-fascinating Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Island Farm (circa 1847).
History buffs will also be delighted to learn that Roanoke Island played an important role during the Civil War after its capture by the federal army in 1862. Hundreds of African-American slaves fled to this safe haven and established a working community.
Save part of a day to meander through the must-see Elizabethan Gardens, a living memorial to the Lost Colony. It’s an enchanting surprise within the coastal environment: Even in winter, the gardens seem lush, with patches of color adorning the landscape. Period sculptures add reflection and serenity to the gardens.
Before leaving Manteo, stop in the Full Moon Café Brewery to sample the beer and enjoy a tasty lunch or dinner. The Manhattan clam chowder is an awesome way to start.
Once you make your way across the sound and onto the barrier islands via the long and tall connecter bridge, the town (and beach) of Nags Head is your first encounter. Here is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Thousands of visitors flock each year to 400-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park – featuring the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast – to hike, hang-glide and fly kites.
The Bodie (pronounced “body”) Island Lighthouse is nearby. A major renovation project allows visitors to climb to the top of the 156-foot lighthouse built in 1872. A self-guided nature trail leads to a wildlife viewing platform built in the surrounding marshes, where egrets, herons, glossy ibises and wading birds can be easily observed in their most natural of habitats.
Three fishing piers extend from Nags Head: the Nags Head Fishing Pier, the Outer Banks Fishing Pier and the North Carolina Aquariums’ Jennette’s Pier, new in 2011. Jennette’s Pier is fascinating for educational programs, alternative energy demonstrations, live animal exhibits, and even cooking classes. Awarded the Platinum LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2012, the pier features three iconic wind turbines, solar panels, a reclaimed water system and geothermal wells that provide heating and cooling.
When it’s time to come in from the pristine beaches in Nags Head, the town offers a multitude of shopping, entertainment and dining options.
For more information, visit www.outerbanks.org
A Friday Night Pizza and Wine Pairing Party has been added to the line-up for this month’s “Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure.” The party features 11 garagiste** winemakers, pouring their best pizza pairing wines alongside gourmet wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, cheese and antipasti by Chef David Ceccini at Cecco Ristorante. The event takes place on Friday March 28th from 6:30 – 9:00pm at Cecco Ristorante in Solvang.
The event kicks off the second annual Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, which takes place on March 29th and 30th at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Solvang and features sixty of Santa Ynez Valley’s and Santa Barbara County’s high-quality, limited-production commercial garagiste winemakers. Each day of the Festival offers up a different group of these hard-to-find, high-quality small production commercial winemakers, as well as one of the Garagiste Festival’s signature tasting seminars.
Winemakers pouring at the Pizza/Wine pairing event are Archium Cellars, Calilove Wines, Kessler-Haak Winery, Larner Winery, Montemar Winery, Press Gang Cellars, Scott Cellars, Solminer, and Vinemark Cellars. Pouring on Friday ONLY are Sforzando Wines and De Su Propia Cosecha. Tickets are $39 + tax. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
The non-profit Garagiste Festivals showcase high-quality, cutting-edge, small-production commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,500 cases a year, and have emerged as among the most unique and influential wine events in the US. Named one of the ‘Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations’ in the world by ABC News and a ‘not to miss’ event by the LA Times, the festivals have introduced over 150 outstanding artisan winemakers to thousands of passionate wine consumers, members of the trade and media, raising the profiles of many of the winemakers nationally for the first time, and raising thousands of dollars for the education of future winemakers.
Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure Winemakers:
Saturday: Archium Cellars*, Ascension Cellars*, Carucci Wines*, Casa Dumetz, Cholame Vineyard, Cordon Wines, Crawford Family Wines*, Dubost Ranch*, DV8 Cellars*, Graef Wines*, Ground Effect Wines, Harrison Clarke Wines, Kaena Wine Company, Kessler-Haak Winery, Kita Wines*, Larner Winery, Liquid Farm, Luminesce, Moretti Wine Co.*, Pence Ranch, Press Gang Cellars, Roark Wine Co., Ryan Cochrane Wines, Seagrape Wine Company, Shai Cellars, Tercero Wines, Transcendence Wines, Turiya*, and Vinemark Cellars*.
Sunday: a-non-ah-mus, Alta Colina Winery, Baehner-Fournier, Bradley Family Winery*, Brophy Clark Cellars*, C. Nagy Wines, Calilove Winery*, Cloak Dagger, Clos Des Amis*, Dascomb Cellars*, Desperada*, Dilecta Wines, Fontes Phillips*, Frequency Wines, Gioia Wines*, Guyomar Wine Cellars*, J. Wilkes Wines, La Fenetre Wines, LaZarre Wines, Montemar Winery*, Nicora Wines, ONX Wines, Plan B Cellars*, Refugio Ranch, Scott Cellars*, Solminer Wine*, STANGER Vineyards, Toretti Family Vineyards*, Weatherborne Wine Co.*, and Zinke Wine Company*.
Tickets are very limited and Garagiste Festivals always sell out. To buy tickets click here.
For the full festival line-up and more information on The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, go to http://garagistefestival.com. To be alerted to breaking news about Southern Exposure and additional Garagiste events, sign-up for The Dirt at http://garagistefestival.com/sign-up/, or follow us on Twitter (@GaragisteFest) or Facebook.
Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure Sponsors include:
California Winery Advisor, The Chumash Resort, Distinctive Glassware, Enartis Vinquiry, Farm Credit West, KCBX.fm, KSBY6, Laffort, mWEBB Communications, One West Insurance, Scott Laboratories, Stolzle, The Santa Ynez Valley Wine Club, Vinzy, VisitTheSantaYnezValley.com, Wandering Dog Wine Bar, and Wine Country Pack Ship.
For sponsorship info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
* New to Garagiste / Italics pouring 1st Vintage
**Garagistes (gar-uh-zhe-stuh) is a term originally used in the Bordeaux region of France to denigrate renegade small-lot wine makers, sometimes working in their “garages” (anything considered not a chateau), who refused to follow the “rules,” and is now a full-fledged movement responsible for making some of the best wine in the world.
About The Garagiste Festivals
The Garagiste Festivals (http://www.garagistefestival.com) are the first and only wine festivals dedicated to the undiscovered and under-recognized artisan ‘garagiste’ producers who are making some of the best, most exciting, handcrafted small-lot production wines in the world. Founded by fellow garagistes Stewart McLennan and Douglas Minnick, the Garagiste Festivals are committed to discovering the best and most innovative limited-production winemakers and promoting and showcasing them to a broad audience of discerning wine consumers. In addition to its flagship annual festival in Paso Robles, CA, the Garagiste Festival line-up includes Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, featuring Santa Ynez Valley garagistes; garagiste mini-tastings presented from So Cal to Tahoe; winemaker dinners, a newsletter, garagiste profiles and more. Named one of the “Top Nine Incredible Epicurean Vacations” by ABC News, Garagiste Festivals are produced by Garagiste Events, a non-profit dedicated to furthering the education of future winemakers and those training for employment within the wine industry. Proceeds from the festivals are donated to the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture Program.
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Taste of the Beach is one of the largest and most elaborate food and wine festivals in the South.
And this year’s event, which will be held on the Outer Banks on March 13-16, hopes to live up to that reputation.
The Outer Banks Restaurant Association has been hosting Taste of the Beach since the early 1980s. In 2008, the event was expanded to its current four-day multi-event format. Taste of the Beach was named one of the top 10 seafood and wine festivals in 2010 by Coastal Living Magazine.
Events are priced separately and are categorized to prices and tastes. One link on the website lists the events that cost less than $20. Activities and meals run from that point to a dinner that costs $120 per person.
Build your own schedule in advance from more than 70 choices, attending as many or as few as you wish. Some events are offered only once, but most repeat. Ingredients are almost exclusively local, especially seafood, as well as seasonal vegetables from eastern North Carolina farms.
One event has already sold out, but the other events had available spots as of this week.
Breakfasts abound every morning. For example, try the country-style bounty at The Good Life Eatery, and seafood crepes, cinnamon bun French toast or broccoli and English cheddar breakfast casserole at Bonnie’s Bagles.
Lunch at Full Moon Brewery is titled “How Beer Saved the World.” It’s a beer-battered fish and chips meal that follows a British and Irish theme, along with commentary from the brewmaster and beer tastings.
BK Shuckers offers oysters raw and fried, plus the restaurant’s signature Oysters Rockefeller in “Rockin’ Oyster Frenzy.”
Bad Bean Baja Grill celebrates its Latin American roots with a Ceviche and Tequila Tasting.
An eastern North Carolina food event would not be complete without barbecue, and that genre is covered from lunch through mid-afternoon at The Joe Lamb Jr. Outer Banks BBQ Showdown on March 14. Guests can sample pulled pork and beef, brisket, plus chicken and ribs.
Several bus tours stop at wineries and three or more restaurants in the afternoons, with tastings at each location. Cooking classes and demonstrations of techniques appear frequently on the roster.
For dinner, if you are an oyster fan, you will want to check out Sugar Creek restaurant’s oysters Rockefeller and fried oysters tossed in their signature buffalo sauce.
For shrimp lovers, at Basnight’s Shrimp Extravaganza at Lone Cedar Cafe, you will choose two courses. Start with the Buffalo shrimp, Asian shrimp or spiced steamed shrimp. For the entree, alternatives are broiled shrimp, fried shrimp, baked garlic shrimp or shrimp alfredo.
For the more adventurous, A Taste of Duck Dining Crawl provides visits to three restaurants in Duck: Aqua, Roadside Raw Bar Grill and Red Sky Cafe. Drop in anytime between
5 and 9 p.m.
Some of the dinners are elaborate. For example, Cafe Pamlico at the Inn on Pamlico Sound is providing samples of each of North Carolina distiller Troy Sons’ three premium whiskeys. The five-course meal will be composed of chicken liver pate with red onion jam, grilled baguette and apple cider whiskey gastrique, with crispy pimiento cheese fritters and hot pepper jelly glaze; baby spinach tossed with candied pecans, shaved gala apples, warm brie crostini and maple pecan vinaigrette; pan-seared flounder filet, roasted acorn squash risotto, pickled corn relish and Carolina Moonshine buerre noisette; whiskey and molasses cured Berkshire pork chop, pecan wood smoked and roasted, served with sweet potato and turnip au gratin, braised collard greens, pickled ramps and pan jus; concluding with caramel apple bread pudding with oatmeal streusel, cinnamon ice cream and creme anglaise.
Chef Michael Smith of Kansas City, known from his appearances on the Food Network, will join Chef Phongrit “Pok” Choeichom of the Outer Banks Brewing Station on March 14 for a Tapas Fusion Night dinner. Chef Pok was featured recently on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”
They also will be appearing with several colleagues at an after-dinner Meet the Chefs reception party and Cava celebration.
Wondering about that $120 per person dinner? It’s “A French Kiss,” at Cafe Lachine, available in two seatings — one at 5 p.m., the other at 8 p.m.
It includes seven courses, with wines paired for each course: poached salmon with soft boiled egg and sorrel; venison consomme with truffle custard; roasted beet salad with fried goat cheese; Dover sole with Swiss chard, toasted cous cous and red wine reduction; duo of duck; assorted cheeses; ending with chocolate mousse bombe with cherry apple compote. (The dinner also is available without wine for $85).
The festival concludes on March 16 with Sysco Foods’ Taste of the Beach Grand Tasting. This is a tent affair, with dozens of restaurants serving samplings and wine tastings, in addition to the fifth annual TOB’y Awards: Best Booth Presentation, Best in Show, Best Outer Banks Catch and the two top awards: the Chefs Award and People’s Choice Award. I will be a judge.
Several lodging packages are available. Check the link on the website. See you there.
Contact John Batchelor at email@example.com.
Spring has been slow to arrive, but that hasn’t stopped organizers of the region’s food and wine festivals from planning for the weeks ahead. Here’s a look at several culinary events to put on your calendar.
Wines of the World: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 7. Selden Arcade, 208 E. Main St., Norfolk. This event benefits the NATO Festival, Norfolk’s annual tribute to the member nations of NATO. Tickets: $30 in advance, $35 at the door. http://www.norfolknatofestival.org.
History Bites: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 8. The Mariners’ Museum. 100 Museum Drive, Newport News. Ten area chefs will prepare Civil War-era dishes from the North and South. I’ll be among several judges handing out awards. The competition coincides with the museum’s Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend commemorating the 1862 naval battle between the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Tickets: $35 in advance, $45 day of the event. http://www.BattleofHamptonRoads.com.
Chesapeake Virginia Spring Wine Festival: 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8. Chesapeake Conference Center. 900 Greenbrier Circle, Chesapeake. Wines from 18 wineries plus music, artisans and vendors. Proceeds benefit Paint Your Heart Out, Coats for Kids, and the community charities of the Chesapeake Rotary Club. Tickets: $35 regular tasting; $70 VIP tasting. http://www.cheswine.com.
Empty Bowls Virginia Peninsula: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 21. Hampton History Museum, 120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton. The event raises money to feed the hungry in the community. Ticket-holders choose a hand-crafted soup bowl created by local artists and sample several soups prepared by area chefs. Tickets: $30 in advance; $35 at the door. EmptyBowlsVaPeninsula.org.
Tapped at the Ted: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Ted Constant Center, Hampton Boulevard, Old Dominion University campus, Norfolk. More than 30 Virginia craft beers owners will present classic brews and new flavors. The entertainment lineup will be Jackson LeBeau from noon to 1:30 p.m. and Jackass from 2 to 5 p.m. $15 brew package includes a mug and three brew tokens. Additional tokens: $5. http://www.YnotTix.com or 1-877-Ynot-Tix.
Chesapeake Experience: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Saude Creek Vineyard. 16230 Cooks Mill Road, Lanexa. Taste eight Saude Creek wines with complementary hors d’oeuvres. Proceeds benefit Chesapeake Experience, an educational non-profit organization dedicated to creating environmental experiences for students, teachers and the public. Tickets: $45. 757-259-6859 or http://www.chesapeakeexperience.org.
Men Who Cook: Hampton Roads: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29. Norfolk Plaza Hotel, 700 Monticello Ave., Norfolk. 25 two-man teams of local amateur chefs compete against each other. Proceeds benefit wellness programming, meals for seniors and adult day care. Tickets: $50 in advance, $55 at the door. 757-625-5857 or http://www.primeplus.org.
WARA Iron Chef Wine Food Expo: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England St., Williamsburg. Chefs from Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Richmond battle it out for top chef. Event includes hors d’oeuvres by six Williamsburg restaurants and more than 50 international wines to taste. Tickets:$60 per person, $110 per couple. http://www.wararest.com.
Wine and Run for the Roses: 2 p.m. Saturday, May 3. Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg. Fine and rare wines to auction off, Virginia wines to taste, and a giant-screen telecast of the Kentucky Derby. Tickets $100-$250. 252-202-9463 or http://web.wm.edu/muscarelle/WR2013/index.html?svr=www
Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, May 3-4. Town Point Park, downtown Norfolk. More than two dozen Virginia wineries pour at this popular outdoor event. 757-441-2345. festevents.org.
David Nicholson can be reached at 757-247-4794.
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The Great Meadow Foundation in The Plains cleared a huge hurdle Friday on the way to hosting an expanded menu of world-class equestrian events.
Last Friday, Feb. 28, Great Meadow completed the $1.8 million purchase of 174-acre Fleming Farm, a property adjacent to the 200-acre Great Meadow.
The sale nearlyy doubles the size of Great Meadow and allows the outdoor center to host selection trials for the Olympic equestrian discipline of three-day eventing. Three-day is a former cavalry test that combines scores from three distinct phases – dressage, show jumping and cross-country. Cross-country is a jumping and endurance test that requires many miles and hundreds of acres to fully test competitors.
“This place is a natural to host international competition,” Great Meadow Foundation president Rob Banner said. “We needed more room to be able to (build) a full cross-country course, but now we have it.”
Up until a decade ago, Great Meadow hosted lower-level horse trials, but the elite levels require more room to run, and more room for spectators. Banner says both are key to making the land transaction pay off for the center, county, region and nation.
“It will put The Plains on the map,” he said.
Once a big, active crop and cattle farm south of The Plains at Old Tavern, the land that makes up both Great Meadow and Fleming Farm was purchased by Arthur “Nick” Arundel in 1982 to provide a permanent home for the Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase. The historic event was in jeopardy when the Broadview course near old town Warrenton was sold for development.
That year, Arundel divided the one farm into two parcels, separating enough land to build the racecourse and establishing a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation. He donated the 200 acres that make up Great Meadow to the Great Meadow Foundation.
Fleming Farm became a unique rental property: the handsome stucco farmhouse, small stable, silo and pastures are visible at the east edge of Great Meadow’s timber course.
Arundel died in 2011 and recently, his heirs put Fleming Farm on the market. Banner saw that by reacquiring the critical land, the foundation could expand the facility to include the highest level of three-day eventing.
Helping out is David O’Connor, an Olympic gold medalist, U.S. eventing team coach and a neighbor of Great Meadow.
Sydney and Hong Kong Olympic course designer Michael Etherington-Smith will design the cross-country jumping course, which will be fully irrigated, starting later this month.
Other improvements include an all-weather arena which will be built in a relatively level pasture behind the existing house.
“It’s in a sort of a natural bowl,” Banner said. “It looks a lot like the new (jumper course) arena at the Upperville showgrounds. It’s raised seating for spectators around a central arena.”
Banner said dressage and show jumping will be conducted in the arena, and the start and finish lines of the cross-country will also be located there. “It keeps with our plans to be ‘spectator-based’,” Banner said.
The farmhouse, he added, will likely be converted into administrative space and VIP seating, similar to Great Meadow’s Summer House overlooking the racecourse.
Great Meadow hosts some 40 events and draws more than 200,000 spectators annually.
In addition to being permanent home to the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup, the Great Meadow calendar features polo, show jumping, wine festivals, rocketry competition, cross-country foot races, and a July 4 celebration.
Fleming Farm will not be ready for competition until summer, 2015.
The long-term goal for the Fleming expansion is to host selection trials for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and future international-level events.
“The real (hope) is to host the FEI-sanctioned Nation’s Cup of eventing,” Banner said. “That is really the prize because it brings European competition here, rather than us having to go to Europe.”
If the Great Meadow project goes according to plan, it will be a game-changer, Banner added. When the work is completed, Great Meadow will place the entire property into conservation easement.
Major donors helping fund the purchase include Maggie Bryant, Jacque Mars, Bill Ballhaus, Darrin Mollett, Naj Hussain, Sheila Johnson, Irv Naylor, Chuck and Dee Akre, Jackie Ohrstrom, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hall and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Crane.
“I want people to know that fundraising continues” for this project, Banner said. “There’s a lot more to do to make it work.”
Although we’re more than happy to attend any event that involves gorging ourselves for hours on end, one such fest is bigger and more celeb-filled than all the rest.
A couple of weeks ago, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival brought together some of best-known celebrities, most highly respected chefs, and local restaurants for a jam-packed weekend of food and drink activities.
To celebrate the honor, the spot is now offering a deal on its voter-chosen dish.
Out of 40 South Florida restaurants, American Social’s French toast topped with seared foie gras was picked as the favorite from more than 6,000 attendees.
Executive chef Curt Hicken devised the menu item. It’s composed of homemade miniature orange and ginger battered French toast pieces topped with seared foie gras, Maury Island blackberry jam, drizzled with bourbon maple syrup, and finished with powdered sugar and lightly sweetened Mascarpone cheese.
“With his [Hickens] expansive knowledge of ingredients and food pairings coupled with his international culinary experience, he put something out there that knocked peoples socks off,” says American Social co-owner Paul Greenberg.
To commemorate, the spot is offering samples of the dish for $10 ($6 less than the usual price) from March 10 through March 31 when guests mention “Best Bites.”
Greenberg and the rest of the crew are obviously ecstatic about the recognition at such a huge festival.
“It is amazing,” says Greenberg. “Like being on cloud nine. To be part of such an extraordinary, nationally recognized event and win makes all the hard work, late nights and hours we put in worth it.”
The dish is available for lunch and dinner, daily.
American Social is located at 721 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-764-7005, or visit americansocialbar.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.
721 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL
HILTON HEAD, SC — (Marketwired) — 03/05/14 — Good food and good wine are a natural pairing, and the two come together once again for the 29th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine Food Festival, taking place minutes from this Palmetto Dunes resort.
From March 10th through the 15th, the event, one of the largest outdoor wine festivals on the East Coast, brings together wine, food and spirits enthusiasts with celebrity wine experts and more than 500 wines from around the country and around the world.
Guests of this Hilton Head luxury resort will have easy access to the festival’s major events, which include:
* The Great Chefs of the Island Wine Dinners are hosted at the island’s top restaurants and pair cuisine from local chefs with great wines.
* Visitors can learn more about tasting, pairing and selection at various Wine Knowledge Sessions.
* The Grand Tasting offers a more intimate setting for tasting and education, and features hors d’oeuvres, a keepsake tasting glass and a silent auction to benefit The John and Valerie Curry Education Scholarship Fund.
* The main festival event, the Public Tasting, offers a grand, tented outdoor wine tasting featuring more than 400 wines from around the globe. Visitors can chat up wine representatives and sample their offerings, enjoy gourmet treats from top local restaurants, bid on award-winning wines in the silent auction, learn from the pros with chef-led demonstrations and cheer on the contenders in the Bartender’s Challenge and Waiter’s Race. Admission to the event, which is 21 and older, includes a souvenir tasting glass.
Guests of the Hilton Head Marriott Resort Spa can further indulge their love for food and wine at the hotel’s various dining venues, which include the dinner-only Conroy’s, offering classic American fare and seafood, plus a daily feature highlighting the freshest ingredients, and the casual Cafe, serving modern American dishes for breakfast and lunch.
For more information on the 29th Annual Hilton Head Island Wine Food Festival, visit www.hiltonheadwineandfood.com/, where visitors can purchase tickets, learn more about festival events and discover other things to do in Hilton Head, SC.
About the Hilton Head Marriott Resort Spa
From weddings and corporate retreats to a family vacation and girls’ spa weekend, this resort in Hilton Head has something for everyone. A stunning oceanfront property, the Hilton Head Marriott Resort Spa offers elegant, comfortable accommodations, each with its own balcony offering great views, as well as a flat-screen TV, high-speed Internet access and luxurious bedding. Guests will find a variety of options for recreation and relaxation just steps away including three championship golf courses, a European-style spa, beaches, tennis and watersports. Dining also offers variety with restaurants including The Cafe, serving modern American cuisine in a casual setting, and the stylish Conroy’s, offering a seafood-focused menu with classic American fare. With a location near the airport, the Hilton Head Marriott Resort Spa is a top choice for meetings and events, and offers more than 46,000 square feet of function space.
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Hilton Head Marriott Resort Spa
One Hotel Circle
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29928
Chateau Morrisette, one of Virginia’s oldest and largest
wineries, is located along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd
We produce over 30 varieties of wine to suit every taste.
Visiting Chateau Morrisette is an experience to savor.
Our Restaurant features southern cuisine served in a casually
elegant atmosphere with dining fireside during the cooler months or
al’fresco during the warmer months.
Guests love our Black Dog Music Festivals and our many other
special events throughout the year.
Please choose one of the following sign-in options:
Last week, I attended the Vancouver International Wine Festival’s International Festival Tasting Room at the Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place). It was my first time in the tasting room—although not my first time at a wine festival—and to say that the experience was a little overwhelming would be an understatement.
In short, it felt like Disneyland: long lines, big crowds, but lots of excitement and smiles—there were more than 780 wines, after all. This year, 14 countries were featured but France had the spotlight, which meant that regions including Rhône, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, Champagne, and Alsace were showcased extensively.
After interviewing VIWF festival director Harry Hertscheg about a month before the festival, I decided to follow his advice and start the three-hour tasting room session by checking out just one winery from each of the French wine regions. I tasted a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône’s M. Chapoutier winery, several champagne’s from H. Blin, a Chardonnay and Syrah from the South of France’s Domaines Paul Mas, a Sancerre from the Loire region, and a Gewurztraminer from Zinck winery in Alsace as I made my way up and down the long rows of winemakers that lined the ballroom.
About an hour into the experience, I decided to give my palate a short break from all of the French wines and checked out a few other regions, including South Africa, Australia, and Argentina. Australia, by the way, has been named the theme region for VIWF 2015. From what I previewed at this year’s wine festival, I expect that to mean that there will be lots of Syrah (more commonly referred to in Australia as Shiraz), and some unique blends (for instance, I tried a fruity Shiraz-Viognier blend from Barossa’s Yalumba winery).
With just an hour left, I made my way back to the French section of the tasting room and spent a bit more time at a few of my favourite regions that evening: Rhône, Alsace, and Champagne. I overheard some attendees saying that since the tasting room was open for a total of four sessions (on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, as well as for the first time, on Saturday afternoon), they had reserved one session for tasting bubbly wines, another for white wines, and a third session for reds. This seems like a smart idea (if you have the opportunity to drop in multiple times) since I found that my palate was quite beat after three straight hours of tasting all different styles of wine.
The cool thing about the tasting room is that attendees have a chance at trying a lot of wines that aren’t usually available at liquor stores in the Lower Mainland, and many of the wines are for sale by the bottle or case at the VIWF wine shop.
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