The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s wildly successful Food & Wine Festival is back. Last year’s inaugural event drew foodies and wine lovers from as far away as Portland to sample the region’s finest wines, enjoy imaginative gourmet meals created by the Resort’s talented team of chefs and regional food celebrities, and mingle with people who share a passion for fine food, wine and spirits. All against the backdrop of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene.
The Resort has created an impressive menu of activities that begin on Friday, April 12 and conclude on Sunday afternoon, April 14. Art, literature, yoga, a walk in the woods, even a cocktail class, will make their debut at this year’s festival. With so many activities, booking a hotel overnight package is the ideal way to take advantage of the abundance of choices.
Festivities begin with a Taste at Twilight Opening Reception on Friday. Attendees can sample wine from Long Shadows Winery, Walla Walla Vintners, L’Ecole, Basel Cellars, Barrister Winery, Maryhill Winery, Thurston Wolfe, Seven Hills Winery and Watermill Winery at elegant wine-pouring stations, nosh on high-end small plates, enjoy live music and watch a cocktail competition.
The Doubleback Wine Dinner combines an expertly crafted meal choreographed by Beverly’s Executive Chef Jim Barrett with award-winning Doubleback wines from Walla Walla. After Drew Bledsoe’s 14 year career as an NFL quarterback, he returned to his hometown (hence, double back) and launched a second career, opening Doubleback Winery along with his wife.
Saturday starts healthy and energetic with the Sunrise Salutations & Breakfast Bar featuring build-your-own-parfaits, mimosas, juice and homemade baked goods. Then it’s time for yoga or a guided hike of Tubbs Hill, led by Alana Livingston, owner of Wander Spokane. The year-old company has focused on food, wine and history tours of Spokane but will venture into Idaho and enlighten hikers on local history and teach them how to identify medicinal and edible plants.
Perfect Pairings Wine Classes begin at 10:00 AM and festival goers can choose between two classes:
At the Wine Tasting Panel led by Beverly’s professional sommelier Trevor Treller, wine fans will sample and learn the nuances of some of Walla Walla’s best wines.
The Five Cab Comparison Tasting Class is devoted to the five cabernet sauvignons created by Seven Hills Winery, one of Walla Walla’s oldest, most respected wineries.
Then it’s on to Long Shadows Wine Tasting Class where winemaker and winery founder Gilles Nicault guides attendees through the flavors of his award-winning wines. Last year, Long Shadows Vintners was awarded Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year by Wine PressNorthwest.
Shake it up a bit next at Coeur d’Cocktails featuring the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s mixologist Justin Schorzman. Creativity is key as Justin mixes, muddles, stirs and shakes exotic cocktails, with samples, of course.
Lunch will be a challenging choice of four options.
The Coeur d’Alene Cellars Wine Lunch at The Cedars Floating Restaurant features executive chef Andy Coleman’s delicious collaboration with Coeur d’Alene Cellars. The family-owned winery produces fine wine graced with stunning labels that are recreations of watercolor scenes of the Inland Northwest painted by one of the owners.
Beverly’s executive chef Jim Barrett and Barrister Winery’s winemakers Greg Lipsker and Michael White were a winning team at last year’s Food & Wine Festival, and they’re back again for the Barrister Winemaker Lunch at Beverly’s Restaurant. Barrister, owned by two retired attorneys (hence the name), opened one of downtown Spokane’s first tasting rooms.
The Amavi Cellars Walla Walla Wine Lunch gives the Resort’s executive chef Rod Jessick an opportunity to craft a delicious menu paired with wine from Amavi Cellars of Walla Walla. Two generations of three families have operated this certified sustainable winery since 2003.
Lunch with a view happens at Townshend Cellars Lunch on the Floating Green Restaurant when the Resort’s executive chef Bob McDaniel pairs a unique menu with Townshend Cellars wine. Opened in 1998 in the Green Bluff hills above Spokane, Townshend is one of the area’s oldest wineries.
Wine meets art in the afternoon at The Artist Den & Idaho Wine Tasting sponsored by the Idaho Wine Commission. The afternoon event highlights local artists Ben Joyce, Melissa Cole and Jesse Pierpoint. Each artist has a distinct style, guaranteeing this will be a unique art event. Joyce’s birds-eye-view, chunk-missing paintings have earned him national recognition and an avid local following. Cole calls her sculptures “fun, fine art,” and, indeed, her vivid work is whimsical and beautiful. Pierpoint’s mixed media, layered compositions recreate iconic Northwest scenes as subtle as a pair of sneakers looped over a telephone wire or as obvious as the Dick’s Hamburgers sign.
At 3:00 PM, downtown shops become pop-up wine tasting rooms at the Downtown Coeur d’Alene Wine Extravaganza. Sip and sample, shop and enjoy.
If it was difficult to choose a lunch wine and dine venue, prepare for an equally challenging option of dinner and wine events.
Sold Out - Lakeside Dinner Experience featuring Chef Jay Blackinton of Orcas Island. Cruise to the Hagadone Event Center and enjoy cocktails, a social hour, and grand dinner featuring Chef Blackinton. Wander from wine tasting tables to chef stations with a background of live music. Blackinton is a one of the hottest newcomers to the Seattle food scene and a James Beard Rising Star Nominee.
Walla Walla Wine Pairing Dinners. Social hour will be followed by a lively discussion and wine comparison by vintners from L’Ecole (founded in 1983 as Walla Walla’s third winery), Pepper Bridge Winery (Washington’s first state-of-the-art gravity flow facility), Dunham Cellars (producing premium wine in a remodeled World War II airplane hangar) and Long Shadows Vintners (previously described). An intimate 5-course wine pairing dinner follows with the above winery of your choice.
That’s a wrap for Saturday but the food, wine and fun isn’t over. Sunday morning enjoy the Resort’s Signature Sunday Brunch at Dockside then attend a Sip and Signing with Debbie Macomber, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance and contemporary fiction. Macomber will introduce her newest book, Be a Blessing, A Journal for Cultivating Kindness, Joy and Inspiration while attendees enjoy mimosas, fruit and pastries.
The Food & Wine Festival concludes Sunday afternoon with a Grand Wine Tasting and Demonstrations by Bravo TV Top Chef Chad White. The local restaurateur was featured on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Season 13. Festival goers can indulge in White’s wizardly small bite concoctions, watch his demonstrations live on the big screen and sample wines from Long Shadows, Walla Walla Vintners, Townshend Cellars, Treveri Cellars, Maryhill Winery, Seven Hills Winery, Castaway Cellars, Colter’s Creek, Pend Oreille Winery, Reininger Winery, Clearwater Canyon Cellars, Thurston Wolfe Winery and Watermill Winery.
Numerous packages are available to allow you to take in as much as you wish. The Grand Grenache Pass is $409 and includes Friday wine tasting, Saturday brunch, choice of wine classes, a three-course lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday grand tasting event. Combine the Grand Grenache Pass with overnight stays on event dates and save 15 percent on accommodations. Other packages offer fewer activities but also include discounts on overnight hotel rooms when booked along with the Food & Wine Festival. More information.
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