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Impressions Magazine

Beaufort Wine and Food Weekend — April 25-29, 2012

04/24/2012 19:39 ● By Kathryn

Davis Hyde of J. Lohr Winery is a returning favorite among attendees of the annual festival.

The 2012 Beaufort Wine and Food Event will thrill the senses with unique food, wine, art, and music. Visit the quaint seaport town of Beaufort, NC, which was just named the Coolest Small Town in America by Budget Travel Magazine, to attend wine dinners and luncheons, fun educational seminars, a fashion show, a gala reception and auction, an art exhibit, live music, a grand outdoor tasting village, and much more.  

Recognized as one of the largest outdoor tented wine festivals in North Carolina, the Beaufort Wine and Food Festival brings “spirit” to wine connoisseurs and food fanatics on April 25th through April 29th.  Entering its eighth year and named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the activity packed 5 days are expected to be the biggest and best yet, featuring chefs and winemakers from around the world.

With over 20 events planned for 2012 the best wines from wineries and winemakers and food from local and regional celebrity chefs will be in abundance.  “With our recent selection as THE coolest small town in America, the event is exploding with calls from all over the country,” explains committee member and event coordinator Patricia Suggs.  “The interest we have seen from nationwide guest chefs and winemakers has been unbelievable this year.  We truly are able to pick and choose from the very best winemakers from all over the world.  Tickets are selling rapidly with several of the events sold out before the end of February.”

Some of the top-notch celebrity chefs that will be featured are: Sandra Guiterrez, food writer and author of the recent best-selling cookbook , The New Southern-Latino Table; Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Guest chef Scott Howell, Chef-Owner of Nana’s in Durham, NC has been recognized as one of the 20 best organic restaurants in the country by Organic Style Magazine and also boasts a wine list that has won Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence.”  Nathan Thurston, Chef of The Ocean Room at The Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Charleston, SC, is very active in the competitive realm earning first place at The Annual Adluh Grits Competition, the Le Grand Cuisinier Gold Medal, two gold medals, three silver medals, and one bronze medal in American Culinary Federation sanctioned competitions. Other celebrity chefs include: Marco Shaw of Piedmont Restaurant located in Durham, NC; Chris Kastner of CK's Real Food in Hailey, Idaho and nationally recognized Chef Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery, Durham, NC.

The festival will also showcase flavorful wines from wineries and winemakers around the world -- including Authentiquevin wineries, from France’s Loire Valley, Puro Uno Wineries from Argentina,  LIOCO, Tortoise Creek winery, Napa Cellars wines and Folie a Deux, all from California, to name a few.

The Beaufort Wine and Food Weekend will begin on April 25th, with a cooking demonstration at Circa 81 Restaurant that will pair guest Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington with restaurant owner Chef Clarke Merrill and winemaker Joe Shirley from Folie a Deux. Later that night, the Sponsors’ Opening Reception will take place at Aqua Restaurant. The evening will conclude with a “Bartender’s Cocktail Challenge” at the Arendell Room featuring special guest bartenders and judges.

The Beaufort Wine and Food Event will swing into full gear on April 26th with a Blind Tasting Wine Seminar at the Boathouse at Front Street Village and a variety of Winemaker Dinners at Aqua, Beaufort Grocery, Blue Moon Bistro, Chef’s 105, Front Street Grill at Stillwater, and the Island Grille. Top wineries will visit the area to host these winemaker dinners and will be paired with a favorite local chef and a regional guest celebrity chef resulting in a four-course pre-fix dinner complimented by select wines from acclaimed host vintners. These wine dinners are a great start to the festivities and an impressive taste of what is to come. Other events scheduled for Thursday evening include a deck party at the Channel Marker Restaurant, pairing guest Chef Bob Passarelli from US Foods and winemaker Davis Hyde from returning favorite J. Lohr Winery, with the beautiful waterfront views of the intracoastal waterways.

On April 27th, guests are invited to attend a “Fashion Show Luncheon” held at the Boathouse at Front Street Village, featuring award winning chef and author Sandra Gutierrez and fashions from Tassels, Calypso Cottage, Jame’s Clothing and more.

Several seminars will also be offered on Friday afternoon including  Wine, Cheese & More and a special wine seminar, “Around the World with Wine”, featuring our national and international winemakers, located at the Maritime Museum’s Watercraft Center and Auditorium. Later that evening guests can attend the highly anticipated Celebrity Grand Gala and Auction at the Beaufort Historic Site where sumptuous cuisine and sophisticated wines can be enjoyed along with enthusiastic bidding on the featured auction items.  

The Festival continues on Saturday, April 28th, with the Vin de Mer Culinary Village touted as the Festival’s “heart.”  The Beaufort Wine and Food Culinary and Tasting Village, sponsored by Emerald Isle Realty features a covered vendor village that showcases culinary related businesses and over 300 different wines being poured by distributors, winemakers, and wineowners.  Vin de Mer will also feature cooking and educational demos where guests can watch and learn tips and tricks from the celebrity guest chefs and winery owners and winemakers.

After Vin de Mer, two Beaufort historic homes will be open for Vintners Receptions. The home of Jack and Cammie Sweeney on Marsh Street will feature celebrity Chef Sandra Gutierrez, from Cary and Matt Cline of Three Winery and Robert Gerber of Arietta Vinyards. Chef Amy Tornquist of Watts Grocery in Durham will be at the home of Will and Megan Ziglar on Ann Street with Frank Baroudi, winemaker for Argentine winery Puro Uno and Thomas Meunier of Authentique Vin, from France. An additional “historic home” reception will be held aboard the 1948, 65-foot Huckins motor yacht, the Cherokee. Local Chef Shawn Pratt, owner of Gatherings Private Chef Services, will be preparing authentic flavor-packed global dishes paired perfectly with his wine choices.

Saturday night’s Beer, Bubbles, and BBQ, a favorite among weekend goers, will feature live energetic music by the Dirty Bourbon River Show paired with tasty BBQ from Beaufort’s own Roland’s BBQ and the Q-shack from Raleigh, over 20 different beers on tap and “bubbly” from various winemakers at the Gallant’s Channel annex. This high-energy event always ends the night right, with dancing, food, and friends. 

The weekend will conclude with a Nicolas Feuillate Champagne Celebration brunch at the Beaufort Historic Site that will feature the music of Gumbo Lily and food from guest chef and author Sandra Gutierrez paired with Charles and Wendy Park of Beaufort Grocery. This fabulous brunch is always a fitting final e to the weekend celebration for guests, sponsors, vintners and chefs.  

For those interested in this exceptional weekend, visit to purchase tickets or for more information. Accommodations are available at the Inlet Inn, Beaufort Inn, the Pecan Inn, the Ann Street Inn, the Clamdigger Inn, Beaufort Harbor Suites and Hampton Inn. Vacation homes and condominiums are also available through Beaufort Realty and Emerald Isle Realty. 

Individual tickets are available at the Beaufort Historic Site, 150 Turner Street in Beaufort.  For detail, sponsorship packages, or questions, email: or call (252) 728-5225.

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