Few things herald the coming of spring in a more celebratory fashion than the annual Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival in Blowing Rock. This year’s event could not have been more fitting, or enjoyable. It’s as if Mother Nature had decided to turn the High Country into its own personal expression of paradise on earth: the sun was shining, the mercury was in the 70s, the breeze was beckoning, and the stars draped an elegant canopy of lights over the ends of the day. The town of Blowing Rock, itself, was in full flower with a crowd of festivalgoers energized for an epic weekend with family and friends.
Blue Ridge Mountain Club played an active role in the celebration from start to finish, sponsoring several popular wine events in town, then capping the weekend off in fine fashion with a special Member Dinner on property at the home of Peter and Sandy Gatti. The first BRMC Event, Friday night’s Wine Seminar, was held in an elegantly appointed hospitality tent located on the grounds of the Inn at Ragged Gardens. Featuring the jazz music of Todd Wright—a professor at Appalachian State University—the Wine Seminar dinner paired a fine selection of Italian wines with various Italian dishes. One of the non-culinary highlights of the evening was provided by BRMC General Manager Jim Pitts, who prompted the group of revelers to leave their chairs and dance, en masse, to the timeless jazz standard, What A Wonderful Life.
On Saturday, the day broke bright and clear for our second event—the Reserve Wine Tasting—also held in the BRMC hospitality tent. Due to popularity, there were two scheduled seatings: one held at 12:30, the other at 3:30. Both groups followed the same format, which featured an eclectic collection of select reserve wines from vineyards around the world, including Italy, South America, and several regions within the United States. Guests enjoyed specially prepared cuisine (provided by the Inn at Ragged Gardens) that was expertly paired with wine selections from the various vintners, a total of six wineries in all:
Dante & Tim Mondavi (via video)
Continuum, Pritchard Hill, Napa
Zuccardi, Argentina & Bellefon, Champagne
Marc de Grazia, Italy
Cape Classics, South Africa
Lynne Lear (with video from Philippe Seconde)
For the Grand Finale, the Members of Blue Ridge Mountain Club and their guests were treated to a thoroughly engaging dinner party at the home of Peter and Sandy Gatti. The combination of delicious cuisine—which was catered by Grouse Moor Catering—with a selection of fine wines and full bar made for a memorable evening, as guests dined, chatted, mingled, and enjoyed live music performed by Bob Henson. For an adventurous and lucky few, Peter provided a personal tour of his impressive homemade recording studio—that included an enviable record collection of classic and contemporary vinyl. Yes, he had the iconic 1976 Boston album (the one with the purple guitar spaceship).
As for Sunday, everyone rested. The two prior days of non-stop festival fun were a resounding success, best relived and reflected upon from one’s armchair, porch, or sofa… no doubt with final-round play of the Master’s on the big screen to cap off a thoroughly satisfying weekend for all in attendance.