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Wine, Food, Festivities and Fun; The Blue Ridge Wine & Food Festival Begins April 11, Runs Through Sunday

By Paul T. Choate

(Photos from last year’s Wine Festival below story)

April 11, 2012. The seventh annual Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival begins Wednesday, April 11, and will run through the weekend. There are several events coming up for High Country residents to enjoy.

The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. with the finale of the Fire on the Rock cooking competition at Crippen’s Country Inn and Restaurant, located at 239 Sunset Drive in Blowing Rock. The finale will have Glidwell’s Guy Thomas facing off against Bistro Roca’s Michael Foreman for the title of best chef in the High Country. The competing chefs will prepare six courses and patrons will judge them and help decide the winner. The Fire on the Rock finale dinner, as it does every year, has already sold out.

Thursday, April 12, through Sunday, April 15, there will be “Barrels of Fun Hunts” in downtown Blowing Rock. For more information on the “Barrels of Fun Hunt,” or to get a game form, call 877-295-7965. Also, Thursday, through Saturday, April 14, there will be several wine-related seminars (see list below).

From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Bistro Roca, located at 143 Wonderland Trail, Blowing Rock, will host “Flights and Bites” featuring Hanover Park wines and hors d’oeuvres prepared by Michael Foreman.

Throughout the event, several high-quality wines will be featured at area restaurants (see list below).

Beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, the Crestwood Resort and Spa, located at 3236 Shulls Mill Rd. in Boone will host the Uncork the Festival wine tasting and party to benefit Wine to Water. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. Also at 6 p.m. the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will host “Cork and Canvas” where an instructor will help visitors recreate a masterpiece. Tickets are $35.

Capping off Thursday’s events is the first night of the annual Bartenders’ Brawl at 8:30 p.m. at Canyons Restaurant and Bar, located at 8960 Valley Blvd. in Blowing Rock. Bartenders from all around the High Country will be competing and there is no cover charge to attend.

Friday will be highlighted by “Grillin’ and Chillin’” at the Main Tent on Maple Street in Blowing Rock at 6:30 p.m. and the finale of the Bartenders’ Brawl at 9:30 p.m. at Canyons. “Grillin’ and Chillin’” will feature authentic North Carolina barbecue, wine and blues. After the Bartenders’ Brawl concludes at Canyons there will be live music. There will also be live music Saturday night at the Green Park Inn and at Twigs, located at 7956 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock.

Saturday will be the day of the Grand Tasting, the pinnacle event of the Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival. The Grand Tasting will take place at the Main Tent in downtown Blowing Rock from 2 to 6 p.m. Hundreds of wines will be available for tasting and shuttles will be available throughout the day.

Saturday evening, starting at 7 p.m., the VIP Gala, a black-tie event, will be held at the Broyhill Showroom, located at 8486 Valley Blvd. in Blowing Rock. The event will feature North Carolina wines, beers, food, a performance by the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and music by the Old Gold Jazz Trio of the Wake Forest University School of Music. Tickets are $125.

Several entertainment events will cap off Saturday. Canyons will host the band Missing Cats featuring Widespread Panic’s John “Jojo” Herman starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. The Green Park Inn and Twigs will also be hosting local bands. Additionally, at 10:30 p.m. Ensemble Stage presents “Murder by the Glass” at Crippen’s. Tickets are $40 and pay for admission to the play, three wine tastings and “bottomless” desert trays.

The Blue Ridge Wine and Food Festival concludes on Sunday with champagne brunches and a live musical performance. The brunches will be held at Canyons, Bistro Roca, the Blowing Rock Grille, located at 349 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, and Glidewell’s, located at 1182 Highway 321, Blowing Rock. The final event will be held at the Meadowbrook Inn at 7 p.m., where the Appalachian State University Jazz Ensemble will perform. Tickets are $20 and pay for the show as well as a pre-fixed dinner.

Winemakers’ and Vinters’ Dinners:

  • RayLen Vineyards at Crippen’s.
  • Grandfather Vineyards at the Peddler Steakhouse, 1972 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone.


  • Childress Vineyards at Chetola.
  • Raffaldini Vineyards at the Green Park Inn.
  • Robert Stemmler Winery at Crestwood.
  • Falcor Winery at Rowland’s at Westglow, 224 Westglow Circle, Blowing Rock.
  • Raptor Ridge at Restaurant G at Gideon Ridge, 202 Gideon Ridge Rd., Blowing Rock.
  • Atamisque Winery at the Gamekeeper Restaurant, 3005 Shulls Mill Rd., Boone.


  • Alta Donna Wines at Vidalia’s Restaurant, 831 W. King St., Boone.
  • Special 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic at 7 p.m. at the Green Park Inn. Tickets are $39.95.

Seminars Thursday through Saturday:

  • Pasta and wine cooking class at 2 p.m. at the Chetola Resort, 500 Main St., Blowing Rock. Tickets are $30.
  • Pairing wine and chocolate seminar and tasting at 3 p.m. at the Green Park Inn, 9239 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock. Tickets are $25.
  • Pairing wine and cheese seminar and tasting at 4 p.m. at the Hillwinds Inn, 315 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock. Tickets are $25.


  • Pairing wine and chocolate seminar and tasting at 2 p.m. at the Green Park Inn. Tickets are $25.
  • “Hidden Treasures, Best Values” seminar and tasting at 12:30 p.m. at the Hillwinds Inn. Tickets are $20.
  • Reidel wine glasses seminar and tasting at 1:30 p.m. at the Inn at Ragged Gardens, 203 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock. Tickets are $50.
  • “Best Grapes You’ve Never Heard Of” seminar and tasting at 2:30 p.m. at the Hillwinds Inn. Tickets are $30.
  • Pairing wine and cheese seminar and tasting at 3:30 p.m. at the Meadowbrook Inn, 711 Highway 321 Business, Blowing Rock. Tickets are $25.


  •  “Coffee Cupping” coffee tasting at 9 a.m. at Bald Guy Brew, 921 Main St., Blowing Rock. Tickets are $15.
  • Celebrity Chef Cooking Demo with Teresa Giudice at 11 a.m. at Chetola.
  • Cooking with chocolate class at 11:30 a.m. at the Green Park Inn. Tickets are $50.

Tickets are available at ticketweb.com.

For more information, visit blueridgewinefestival.com.

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