Tahoe Food and Wine Festival begins Thursday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Food and Wine Festival begins Thursday

Participants in last year's grape stomp churn out the juice at the annual Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival. / Tribune News Service

The 20th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival begins Thursday with the Kings Beach Passport to Dining and culminates with Sunday’s Grand Tasting and Culinary Competition at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley.

Saturday’s highlights at the Resort at Squaw Creek include demonstrations and tastings with celebrity Chefs Bradley Ogden, Joseph Keller, Lars Kronmark and John Ash. There’s also a variety of wine seminars, such as how best to buy wines under $15, understanding wine-and-food pairing, and the Long Vineyards Reserve and Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Library vertical tastings.

The third annual grape stomp will move lakeside to Gar Woods Grill and Pier in Carnelian Bay on Friday. The successful Truckee Wine, Walk and Shop takes place Saturday, as does the Tahoe City Moveable Feast Dine Around and Celebrity Chef Dinner at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

Event tickets range from $20 to $175 and lodging packages are available. For festival information or to purchase tickets, call (888) 229-2193 or go to http://www.PureTahoeNorth.com/specials/foodandwine/. The Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival is sponsored by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

Wine and spirits workshops

A dish accompanied by the perfect wine creates a memorable dining experience, not just a meal. While the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival showcases the range of Tahoe cuisine and delves into the secrets of the nation’s top chefs, the festival also offers the opportunity to enhance wine appreciation.

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The festival is the venue for a selection of tastings and classes Saturday, at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley. Kim Caffrey, senior wine educator for Beringer Blass Estates Winery, will present “The Uncorked Crusader” – a lively, insightful, hands-on discussion about how best to pair food and wine.

Fine wines can be extremely affordable, as Burke Owen reveals in a seminar about finding excellent wines under $15. Burke, associate curator of wine at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, will guide attendees seeking out great wines without paying top dollar.

Those who have a love for ultra-premium wines can attend the Burgess Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Library Vertical Tasting with Jim Burgess. The Burgess Cellars Library Release Program ages cabernet for 30 months in oak and then bottles the fine libation for another 18 months. A portion is released in the fall at four years old and then again at 10 years old. The vertical tasting (same varietal, ascending years) includes cabernets from ’01, ’99, ’97, ’95, ’93 and ’91.

Robert Long discusses and shares the creation of Long Vineyards Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay in a vertical tasting of estate-grown Pritchard Hill ’90, ’95, ’00, ’01 and ’02.

Charbay Vodka, a festival favorite known for wine making and distilling, will debut its Charbay Green Tea and Charbay Red Raspberry vodkas at the festival. Charismatic Marko Karakasevic will be on hand mixing cocktails and sharing recipes.

Tickets for wine seminars and tastings range from $25 to $50.

Sunset Wine Club

Sunset, one of the leading lifestyle publications in the West, celebrates and showcases the region’s best qualities. The wine club takes the publication’s mission even further by scouting out exciting wines from the West and pairing them with the finest recipes. The Sunset Wine Club will be at the festival’s Gourmet Marketplace at the Resort at Squaw Creek on Saturday and Sunday.

Membership in the Sunset Wine Club costs $34.95 per month. Sunset has partnered with Signature Wines, a leading provider of outsourced wine clubs for major brands and businesses, which will handle the distribution and overall operational structure of the club. For more information about the club, please visit http://www.sunset.com/wineclub or call (877) 499Ð4637.

Chefs share secrets

Conventional food festivals tempt guests with endless arrays of food, but the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival invites those who love to create into the kitchens of some of the nation’s top chefs to learn from the very best. The three-day festival will showcase the talents of famed chefs Bradley Ogden, John Ash and Lars Kronmark at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley on Saturday.

Ogden will discuss and demonstrate New American Cuisine with his take on classic, farmÐfresh ingredients. Bradley Ogden at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas was recently awarded Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Tickets to Ogden’s seminar are $25 and will include tasting and wine pairing.

Grilling is quickly becoming a year-round event, and Kronmark delves inside the world of outdoor creations with an energetic seminar designed to hone and advance grilling skills. Kronmark, a longtime festival guest known for his highÐenergy teaching style, is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America. Sponsored by Long Meadow Ranch, purveyors of organic beef, olive oil, produce and wine, guests will be treated to grilling secrets, smoke cooking, marinades, seasonings and wine pairings. Tickets are $25.

Ash will present Cooking One on One, giving lessons straight from his cookbook “Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher.” Utilizing organic and sustainable ingredients, his recipes (including Asian tomato and shrimp soup with cellophane noodles and trattoriaÐstyle grilled beef salad) will be paired with Sauvignon Blanc wines from his own Sauvignon Republic Cellars. Ash previously served as a culinary director for Fetzer Vineyards and is a regular contributor to LA Times, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking. Tickets are $25.

Connoisseurs who’ve yet to make it to Napa Valley’s Bouchon or Como’s in Las Vegas can taste the creations of Joseph Keller at the Long Vineyard Luncheon for $65. Ogden, Kronmark, Ash and Keller will also be on hand at the Celebrity Chef Dinner as they present a seasonal dinner for $175.

Grape stomp goes lakeside

Lively and spirited grape stompers will be treated to lake views at one of the festival’s most interactive events. The festive stomp and luncheon will take place at Gar Woods Grill and Pier, 5000 North Lake Blvd. in Carnelian Bay on Friday.

Teams of four will vigorously stomp away in barrels full of grapes on the beach overlooking Lake Tahoe. Teams producing the most juice at the end of the allotted time win. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams. Registration is limited.

Wine tasting will coincide throughout the event with wines by Van Ruiten Family Winery from Lodi. A special luncheon featuring fresh Atlantic salmon with mango salsa, grilled chicken breast with champagne sauce and silk Godiva torte, will follow.

Registration and wine tasting begin at 11:30 a.m. The official stomping kicks off at 12:15 p.m. with the luncheon beginning at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for the luncheon and tasting are $50 per person. Lunch and stomping registration is $70 per person (four-person team required).

Festival’s grand tasting

For 20 years the Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival has brought together North Lake Tahoe’s finest restaurants for a sampling of the cuisine the area has to offer. Known today as the Grand Tasting and Culinary Competition, the event serves as the grand finale to four days of food and wine events throughout North Tahoe and Truckee. More than 30 restaurants will be on hand Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley for the season’s most anticipated food event.

Paired with premium California wineries, the restaurants will present their most creative and inspired dishes. Participating restaurants include Balboa Café, Bano’s Iceworks Ice Carving, Big Water Grille, Big Wave Burritos and Wraps, Blue Onion Restaurant and Catering, Conrads Grill at the Tahoe Biltmore, Coyote’s Restaurante Latino, Crystal Bay Club and Steak House, D’Lish Catering, Five Mile House, Fresh Ketch Restaurant, Gar Woods Grill and Pier, Graham’s at Squaw Valley, Jake’s Lakefront Grill, Lone Eagle Grille at the Hyatt Regency Incline, Longboard’s Bar and Grill at Plumas Pines Golf Course, Mamasake Sushi, Montagna Ristorante at the Resort at Squaw Creek, Moody’s Bistro and Lounge, Pacific Crest Restaurant, Pianeta Ristorante, Piper’s Patisserie, PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn, Resort at Squaw Creek Catering, River Ranch Lodge, Six Peaks Grill at the Resort at Squaw Creek, Summit Deck and Grill at Northstar, Sunnyside Resort, Twin Peaks Catering, West End Bistro, Wild Goose Restaurant and Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique.

Awards will be given for best food, best wine (white and red), best pairing, best dessert and best dessert wine. Two sets of winners will be announced – one by a panel of judges made up of culinary experts, as well as a people’s choice poll. The tasting is from noon to 3 p.m. and tickets are $70 in advance and $80 at the door.

Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop

The second annual Downtown Truckee Wine, Walk & Shop event is set for Saturday, Oct. 1, from noon to 4 p.m. Wine lovers, food connoisseurs and shoppers extraordinaire will indulge themselves with some of the finest vintages and varieties matched with scrumptious food samples.

Last year’s event was a huge success, with over 30 merchants in historic downtown Truckee serving as venues offering wine and appetizer tastings to the 500 plus Wine, Walk & Shop participants who flocked to the event. Wineries represented this year range from Napa and Sonoma to the Sierra Foothills and Lodi region and include Handley Cellars, Murphy-Goode, Rosenblum, Rodney Strong and Silkwood Wines as well as Florian’s and Truckee River Winery – just to name a few.

Attendees will receive a commemorative wine glass, a program and map to participating venues, and five tickets for food tastings at any of the participating locations. Tickets are $35 or $25 in advance and are available at The Pour House, Florian’s Fine Wines and Specialty Foods, and the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are also available online at http://www.WineWalkShopTruckee.com.