Now that winter is in the rear view mirror (I hope) and spring has arrived, it’s time to plan a few nice-weather getaways. And, surprise, all of these jaunts I’m recommending involve exposure to and consumption of good food and wine.
Let’s start close to home.
Taste of Parkersburg
This gourmet extravaganza kicks off on Friday evening, June 1, with a special wine and food dinner. On Saturday June 2, (from 5. to 11 p.m.) attendees will be able to graze outdoors and sample the edible wares from more than a dozen local restaurants. There will also be more than 40 wines from which to select. Call 304-865-0522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the Taste of Parkersburg.
West Virginia Wine and Jazz Festival
This event will be held on September 15th and 16th (Saturday and Sunday) at Camp Muffly near Morgantown. Local and regional wines will be available for tasting (Saturday: 11 AM – 6 PM, Sunday: 12 noon – 6 PM.) Admission is $20 per person/per day and includes a commemorative wine glass. Contact http://wvwineandjazz.com/tickets/ for tickets.
Wine and All That Jazz
This annual fest will be held on Saturday, June 23, on the lawn at the University of Charleston. The event is hosted by The Fund for the Arts and offers a variety of foods as well as West Virginia wines. In addition, the entertainment will feature a full day of performances by several renowned jazz musicians. Tickets are $30 each ($35 the day of the festival). Contact http://www.festivallcharleston.com/ for more information.
For those of you who want to make your wine and food adventure a vacation, you might check into these two special gourmet events: The Food and Wine Classic at Aspen, Colorado and the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) in McMinneville, Oregon.
Food & Wine Classic, Aspen, CO
This is among the top five food and wine weekends (June 15-17) in the nation. You will be fed by some of the best culinary talent in the country and be able to rub elbows with the wine illuminati while sampling their vinous products.
The days are filled with cooking demonstrations, seminars and tastings with more than 300 wines represented at the Grand Tasting Pavilion. This is not an inexpensive undertaking at $1700 a person. Check out the itinerary at http://www.foodandwine.com.
International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon
This spectacular celebration of pinot noir is held each year on the last weekend in July (27-29 this year) at a small college campus in a town about 45 minutes south of Portland. While the weekend focuses on different aspects of producing pinot noir in Oregon and around the world, you’ll also spend a great deal of time sipping wine. And the food is absolutely phenomenal since you will be catered to throughout the weekend by the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest.
I’ve been to IPNC four times and I’m considering making it five this summer. It’s also very expensive at $1295 a ticket, but you might be able to rationalize the expense (like I did) if you call it a vacation. Anyway, it is a very special wine and food experience and I highly recommend it. Go to their website: ipnc.org for more information and to sign up.