The Truth About Winemaker’s Dinners


Chefs Sal Giuliano and Riccardo Cuccarro at Bouquet Restaurant

Being married to an Assistant Winemaker, I’ve been to my fair share of Winemaker’s Dinners. In fact, it’s one of my favorite industry “perks”. Often, the wines being served are ones we are familiar with, but the format of a Winemaker’s Dinner gives us the opportunity to taste them in a whole new way: properly paired with delicious foods, and with background on the grapes, the wine and the reasons they are tasting so darn good with whatever course I am currently enjoying.

Recently, on a trip to the desert with my “Snowbird” In-laws, we were invited to a Winemaker’s Dinner featuring a popular Napa Winery. Being fans of the winery, my Mother-in-Law and I decided to go. I was excited, but about an hour before leaving for dinner she started asking questions that made me realize that she was a little nervous. “Do we all talk about the wines?” she asked. “Do we all sit together in a long table? Is it weird if there are only two of us in a group? How much do I have to know about wine?”

I was able to calm her fears and we had a great time (with great wine). But it occurs to me that some of our members and guests might be harboring these same fears. So I have decided to give a quick run-down on how Winemaker’s Dinners typically work and what you can expect if you are joining us this Thursday for our first Winemaker’s Dinner at Bouquet Restaurant at Ponte Vineyard Inn .

Prior to the event, Chefs and Winemakers work together to expertly pair wines with different dinner courses for a truly special wine and culinary experience. When guests arrive, they are greeted with a glass of white or sparkling and an appetizer or Amuse-Bouche. There is typically some time to enjoy this welcome glass and mingle or meet the Chefs and Winemakers before guests take their seats and begin the first course. With each course, a different wine is poured and the Winemaker, Chef or Vineyard Manager will talk about the pairing and answer any questions.


Winemaker, Mark Schabel

These events are fun and educational, but not stuffy or intimidating. There will be no quiz in the end, no specific knowledge that guests are expected to have. We will sit at large tables (of probably about 10 people) and the Winemakers and Chefs will move between tables. Guests are able to make the event as social or as intimate as they like, and it’s as comfortable for one person as it is for a large group. Generally, when I attend these dinners, I am left on my own while my husband talks to guests about the wines, but I have never been uncomfortable or lonely and I usually leave having made friends.


Argentine Winemaker, Daniel Gomez and Vineyard Manager, Michele Buccelletti

Tickets for our first winemakers dinner at Bouquet Restaurant are sold out. Please stay tuned for future events like this one!

You can view the menu here and the weather is forecasted to be perfect for outdoor dining.

Although you might learn something, we promise this evening will be all about enjoying good food, good wine and good company.

We look forward to seeing you!

Amy Landolt


Posted by , October 21, 2013 No comments

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