Friday, December 24, 2010

Searching for wine? There's an app for that....

Need a little help choosing a wine? Check out some of these apps to make your decision a little easier!

Wine Spector VINTAGECHART+: This app is designed to quickly select a great bottle of wine from a reliable vintage. Plus, it's free to download!

Hello Vino: Great for the beginner wine consumer, this app offers recommendations of wine to pair with food, wine gifts and suggestions based on personal taste preferences.

Wine Snob: This app allows the user to track and rate the wines you drink, while also suggesting wines you might like. Bonus - letting the user choose from tasting words.

DRYNC: For the more advanced wine consumer, this app allows you to keep track of wines you've drunk, the wines you own and wines you'd like to add to your cellar. If there is a wine that you've been coveting, it also allows you to the opportunity to purchase it.

Hopefully we've made wine shopping a little easier for you this holiday season! Have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 10 Wine Stories of 2010 (according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine)

It has been an exciting year here at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. We've thrown some great wine and food events, enjoyed delicious food, plus continued our mission of supporting education by awarding outstanding Chefs and Sommeliers with scholarships.

The staff found the article below  featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine (article shortened) interesting and made us wonder - what does 2011 hold? Let us know what you think.

Top 10 Wine Stories of 2010:
1) The “new normal.” Continuing to scramble the game board in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, fewer consumers are willing to pay luxury prices, with predictable results on sales at every tier. In the U.S. market, the “sweet spot” of $12 to $15 slipped to $9 to $12 in 2009, and has remained. Anything over $20 is a tough sell.

2) Changing of the guard. Winery executives and owners are trying to figure out if they’re going to stay in the game or sell out, especially family businesses wondering if the next generation is going to take things on.

3) European wine flexes its marketing muscle. The European Union followed up the market reforms it instituted in 2008 with the promised funding: over a four-year period, well over 828 million euros ($1.16 billion) to support the marketing of European wine.

4) Continued export growth for Argentina and Chile. Argentinean Malbec has been the hot wine of the year. 

5) Climate change. France is dry, Portugal is hot and California is cold: six consecutive years of chilly vintages with 2010 being the coldest ever or nearly so.

6) Green wines.

7) Exchange rate fluctuations.

8) Oversupply. Wine in oversupply in various parts of the world and price segments are making this a buyer’s market, but at a time when consumers struggle for a sense of economic security.

9) Château Lafite-Rothschild in Asia. Vintages of this iconic winery have become an outsized status symbol above and beyond the other first growths in Asia, the most visible symbol of the way the bottomless pockets of Asia’s elites have vaulted the prices for Bordeaux 2009 top growths into the stratosphere.

10) State sales of alcoholic beverages. At least four states are considering an end to their state-run liquor stores, but if Washington State is typical, no change will happen soon.

To read the full article, please click here.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Austin's Growing Food Scene

It's an extra exciting time for the food scene of Austin with great new restaurants that have recently opened and will be opening in the coming weeks.

Last week's opening of the W Hotel dominated the news - including coverage of their restaurant, Trace. Trace is a contemporary, sophisticated restaurant featuring an American menu created by Chef Paul Hargrove and Pastry Chef Janina Amezuca.

Soleil, the newest expansion by The Oasis is gathering a lot of attention - including an article featured in The New York Times by Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly. Chef Robert Del Grande has put together Mediterranean menu with a large raw bar.

Curious to what's been building on West 6th? The new addition to the neighborhood is Haddingtons, an American tavern that is sure to fit in perfectly. Haddingtons is a project of Michael Polumbo of Mulberry, with Chef Zack Northcutt also involved.

We were lucky to have a sneak peek and private tour of Chef David Bull's new projects: the an upscale restaurant, Congress and casual spot Second at Congress both located on the ground floor of the Austonian. The interior of the restaurants is stunning, with a creative use of textures and recycled products.

We can't forget The Backspace, Vince Young's Steakhouse and recently HopDoddy. Check back as we're sure to be visiting them all very soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Backspace Opening Sunday

Backspace is sure to be the new “hot” space off 6th Street. Local favorite Chef Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside is opening a new pizza and small plate restaurant. The WFFT staff were invited to sample the new menu last night and we can assure you, Chef Shawn Cirkiel has created another hit.

The menu is broken down into the following sections: antipasti, carne, formaggi, insalate, pizze, add-ons and dolci (translation: appetizers, meats, cheeses, salads, pizzas, add-ons and dessert). The cozy, quaint spaces features a long center bar for seating as well as bench seating along the walls. Behind the bar the beautiful brick wood-fired pizza oven is used for creating the delicious pizzas such as Bianca (arugula, mozzarella, ricotta, pecarino) or the tasty combination of fennel sausage, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, garlic and parmesan. We can’t even begin to tell you about the homemade pizza crust….wow.

Antipasti plates include swiss chard with apples, raisins and garlic, braised cardoons (described to us as “celery on steroids”) with carrot, white wine and olive oil or lamb meatballs with stewed tomatoes, bread crumbs and peccarino romano. If you’re looking for something even smaller to sample, they offer meats and cheeses including prosciutto, mortadella, coppa, gorgonzola (so creamy and delicious!), robiola, and piave vecchio. Are you hungry yet?

Their wine menu features 10 white wines, 6 sparklings, 3 roses and 24 reds ranging from $7 a glass to bottles starting at $24. Be sure to check out Backspace opening this Sunday -

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eat Local Week

Eat Local Week, is a fundraising week long event for Edible Austin, celebrating the abundance of local food and to raise money for Urban Roots, a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and to increase the access of healthy food in Austin. This season farm interns have raised over 25,136 pounds of produce —donating 40% of that to hunger relief and selling 60% at farmers' markets and farm stands run by the farm interns.

We suggest supporting two of our Community Partners, who are participating in Eat Local Week - Uchi and Uchiko.
Eat Local Week ends December 11, 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Great Events This Weekend

Food and wine lovers, we've come across two fantastic events this weekend - Chefs for Farmers in Fort Worth and Wine & Swine in Austin.

Chefs for Farmers:

This popular dinner will take over the newest location of Times Ten Cellars and host a communal table dinner for 135 guests. Those lucky guests will enjoy six plated courses from top local chefs who source and support local farmers through their own kitchens and menus. The evening will end with a second stop via complementary shuttle service where Rancher Jim Lane will host a bonfire and marshmallow roast at J Bar L Ranch, a working cutting horse ranch, complete with live music under the stars. Tickets $150 per person.

For more information, visit

Wine & Swine Culinary Weekend:
In this three-day tribute to all things pork, Central Texas food and wine lovers will enjoy great wines, amazing chefs & plenty o’ pig.

The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at the University of Texas will be the Wine & Swine Culinary Weekend headquarters and will host the Pork & Cork – A Pig Perfect Wine Tasting on Friday, December 3 (tickets $65 per person), and the Wine & Swine – Sip, Swirl and Squeal Wine Seminar on Saturday, December 4 (tickets $45 per person).

The culminating weekend event is the Texas Hill Country Pig Roast with eight chefs preparing eight whole pigs in their own unique culinary styles. Live music, craft beer and wine tastings will be a part of the outdoor pig party to be held at the Bridges Ranch in Driftwood, about 25 minutes outside of Austin (tickets $35 per person).

For more information on this event, visit

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dazzling Evening of Big Reds & Bubbles

The 8th Annual Big Reds & Bubbles was a dazzling evening of big reds and bubbles paired with incredible food...for a fantastic kick-off to the holiday season.

Guests were greeted with glasses of champagne as they arrived onto the second floor of the gorgeous Driskill Hotel before exploring 20 different food stations and 4 wine/champagne stations with over 100 bottles to sample! Menu items included Wild Boar salpicon, Nantucket Bay Scallops with Shaved Raw Artichokes and Truffle Puree or Spinach & Gorgonzola Ravioli with Queso. After filling up with dinner, guests headed to the "Bubble Lounge" filled with champagnes and desserts such as El Rey Dark Chocolate Trufle Beignets, Vanilla Bean Cake Balls and Rose Champagne gelee.

Thank you to everyone that joined us for a fantastic evening of food and wine - we are already dreaming up big ideas for 2011!

And a very big thank you to our partners and sponsors: Glazer's, Tribeza, The Driskill Hotel, Twin Liquors, Marquee Rentals, Ilios Lighting, Angela Lozano Photography, Kevin Ahart Trio, 1886 Café & Bakery, Andiamo Ristorante, Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Austin Cake Ball, The Carillon, Cuvee Coffee, The Driskill Grill, Eddie V's, El Arbol, Fete Accompli, Garrido's, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Le Cordon Bleu + Jei Grimes, Max's Wine Dive, Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, Paggi House, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, StrEAT, Truluck's and Wink Restaurant.

Friday, November 12, 2010

8th Annual Big Reds & Bubbles Next Week!

The 8th Annual Big Reds & Bubbles is set for Thursday, November 18 at the historic Driskill Hotel. If you haven't attended this event, you are truly missing out on an signature Foundation celebration.

We'll be featuring over 100 champagnes and red wines, as well as 20 fabulous Austin chefs showcasing their talent throughout the entire 2nd floor. Who do you ask? Here's the all-star line-up: 1886 Café & Bakery, Andiamo Ristorante, Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Austin Cake Ball, The Carillon, Cuvee Coffee, The Driskill Grill, Eddie V's, El Arbol, Fete Accompli, Garrido's, Jack Allen's Kitchen, Le Cordon Bleu, Max's Wine Dive, Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill, Paggi House, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, StrEAT, Truluck's and Wink Restaurant. Wow.

The Kevin Ahart Trio will be performing and we've got some fabulous items lined up for our silent auction. What's even better this year - if you sample a wine or champagne that you fall in love with - you'll have the opportunity to purchase that bottle because Twin Liquors will be taking orders during the event. You won't have to try and remember weeks later when you're searching down every aisle looking for "that one" at Big Reds & Bubbles!

We hope that you can join us for a wonderful evening of Wine AND Food. Sounds just about right for The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, huh?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner A Success!

What an evening! The 11th annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner and Live Wine Auction was another stellar evening of delicious food and wine followed by an exciting Live Auction.

Guests enjoyed six courses, each prepared by a different Celebrity chef, paired with a wine. As guests arrived, they were presented with three different appetizers created by the 2010 Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship Winner, Keith Hildebrant (
Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Austin). Keith prepared a Texas Quail Breast with Kaffir Lime Aioli wrapped with Fresh (made from scratch) Ramen Noodle, Daube of Oxtail Dumpling with Orange Gastrique and Goat Cheese Panna Cottta with Roasted Beets and Arugula. Complimented by Gruet Sparkling champagne, guests were off to a delicious start.

Shortly after finding their seats, guests were then treated to the following outstanding menu:
  • First Course: Hirame Dry Miso and Tuna Tataki with Cilantro Dressing by Matt Raso (Nobu Dallas) with a 2009 Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris.
  • Second Course: Maine Diver Scallop with Sea Urchin, Celery Roote and Beech Mushroom by Blaine Staniford (GRACE, Fort Worth) with a 2010 Cape Classic Indaba Chenin Blanc
  • Third Course: Duck Cavatelli, Swiss Chard and Shaved Foie Gras by Jeff Harris (CRAFT, Dallas) with Ambiente's 2006 Opolo Grand Rouge
  • Fourth Course: Pork Jowl Bacon and Half Sour Cucumber Salad with Sweet Chili, Mustard and Molasses by Tim Byres (SMOKE, Dallas) and a 2008 Planata Cerasuolo di Vittoria
  • Fifth Course: Portuguese-Spiced cap of Ribeye with Kale-Bacon Polenta Cake, Caramelized Pearl Onions and Cinnamon-Apple Chutney by Matt McCallister and Stephan Pyles (Stephan Pyles, Dallas) paired with a 2007 Chamisal Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir
  • Sixth Course: Persimmon Pudding, Brown Butter Chestnut, Membrillo and Citrus-Butternut Squash Spoon by Katherine Clapner (Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Dallas).
After being wined and dined, the guests were ready to bid away toraise money for the 2011 Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship fund. Items included hard-to-find wine, Vineyard Tour and Tastings, and an opportunity to have all the Celebrity Chefs of the evening come to your home and serve dinner for 8 people. The Live Auction was a success, raising over $15,000 for the 2011 scholarship!

Thank you to everyone that joined us for this magical evening and to our sponsors Central Market and South Texas Money Management for helping make this evening possible.

Monday, November 1, 2010

11th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner

Let’s take a trip to Dallas! The annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner and Live Wine Auction is set for this Sunday, November 7 – and this is not an event you want to miss.

Guests will enjoy six courses, each prepared by a different Celebrity chef, paired with a delicious wine. This year, Celebrity chefs include 2010 scholarship winner
Keith Hildebrant (Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Austin), Jeff Harris (Craft), Matt Raso (Nobu), Blaine Staniford (Grace, Fort Worth), Tim Byres (Smoke), Katherine Clapner (Dude Sweet Chocolate) and of course, chef Pyles. The evening will start with a champagne reception at 6pm, before moving onto dinner and the live wine auction at 7pm.

Besides delicious dinner and wonderful wine, the evening helps raise funds for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship that is awarded to a Texas culinary student each year.

Tickets are $150 and space is extremely limited. Sign up here:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Insatiable Appetite for Austin Food Trailers

Food trailers are one of many contemporary food trends and Austin, not surprisingly, is setting the pace with an impressive list of trailers, trucks, vans, and even double decker buses that offer delicious, affordable, and innovative food and drink. We've compiled a short list of some of the handiest guides to Austin food trailers. Check 'em out, but be sure to embark on an empty stomach:

Austin Food's Mobile Food Cart Trailer Map . Simple, straightforward, comprehensive. Our personal fave.

Austin Chronicle's "What's New on the Local Trailer Cuisine Scene?". A few months old, but still immensely helpful.

Dishola's Tastiest Trailer Fare list. Mouthwatering and specific.

Little Austinite's Trailer Restaurant list. Listed in alpha order and includes operating hours. Delish!'s Austin Trailer Restaurants search. Sure, I'll take a few reviews with my menu, thanks.

Tasting Touring's Tasty Up Trailer Tour. Also several months old, but worth the read. Great stories about each trailer and plenty of supplemental info.

Culture Map Houston's "Hit the Town with a Mother Clucker." A great out-of-town perspective by Joseph Campana.

Mobile Cravings' Austin Street Food list. Offers a picture of each food spot (very helpful) and menu suggestions.

And for the YouTube geeks out there, here's some fun footage from an Austin Food Trailer Crawl, and some additional footage of food carts, including Counter Culture, Sushi A-Go-Go, and ChiLantro. Many more videos available at

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jei Grimes Sweeps 3rd Annual Pastry Competition

Pastry Competition 2010

One of the ways The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas fosters and challenges new culinary and pastry talent is through competitions and scholarships.

The Annual Pastry Scholarship and Competition, launched three years ago by Quincy Adams Erickson, took place this past weekend at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts here in Austin.
This year’s grand prize winner is Jei Grimes from Le Cordon Bleu, Austin who received a $5,000.00 culinary scholarship and will have his recipes featured in the Foundation’s online, interactive cook-book, Plate & Vine®.

The two runners-up, Samantha Wiff, and Susan Gofreed, also from Le Cordon Bleu each carried home $1,000 scholarships. The competition encompassed five different pastry challenges, blindly judged by a panel of experts.

The competition is named each year for a Texas Pastry Chef who has made a significant contribution to Texas’ culinary legacy. This year’s honoree was Pastry Chef Philip Speer at Uchi Austin, following last year’s honoree Naomi Gallego formerly of TRIO at the Four Seasons, and the inaugural year’s honoree, Pastry Chef Mark Chapman of Austin. It was hosted at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin (formerly Texas Culinary Academy).

Meet Our 2010 Pastry Winner!

Jason (Jei) Grimes is a North Carolina native with 16 years of industry experience prior to any formal training. His love for food and cooking was sparked by his grandmother, who introduced him to the basics of cooking and fine dining at a young age.

“Coming from the mountains of North Carolina I was not exposed to much,” he said, “…my dream now is to open a confectioner’s shop.” On the cusp of graduation, Grimes feels that he has a firm grasp on both the business side and now the formal pastry training to go alongside it.

Following the competition, Grimes prepares to go to work that evening. As he cleans up his kitchen space he pauses, “I still can’t believe it.” But he won’t be much time for celebrating, “Tomorrow I’ll be right back here. That’s what this is about.”

*** NOTE: Recipes will be featured in the Foundation’s celebrity chef online cookbook, Plate & Vine® ( WFFT members receive special discount pricing.


PHILIP SPEER – Uchi, Austin
Speer has been showered with awards and praise locally as well as nationally in Bon Appétit, Cooks Illustrated, and USA Today. He appeared as a judge on the Food Network's "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" as well as part of Chef Tyson Cole's team that competed on the Food Network's "Iron Chef America." Most recently, Speer was named a James Beard Award semi-finalist in the overall pastry chef category.


(Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Austin students).

Quincy Adams Erickson – Fête Accompli
Aimee Olson – Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Austin
Pat Sharpe – Executive Editor and Food Editor, Texas Monthly

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pastry Scares Me!

Quincy Adams-Erickson talks about this year's 2010 WFFT Pastry Scholarship Competition

This year will be the third annual Pastry Scholarship Competition, sponsored by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and in 2010, honoring a Texas pastry legend, Chef Philip Speer of UCHI.

Frankly, pastry is terrifying. In pastry, you have to measure, in pastry you must be exact, in pastry you may not know you’ve made a mistake until the pastry is completely done. In pastry, little sins reveal themselves when you cut into them or taste them…but not before. In pastry, a lot more can go wrong that cannot be fixed. And to fix probably means to start from scratch – literally – and begin again. Like I said, pastry is terrifying.

While I have been a chef for 25 plus years, what I knew of pastry was very little except what I managed to teach myself. And it was terrifying to me. I could never make a cake that was not leaden. My breads would not rise. I never tried to make a pie. My children would ask my friends to make their birthday cakes.

Speed forward many many years. I am now a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, in both pastry and cuisine. After nine months with some of the best pastry teachers in the world, I can do pastry. Slap me again, I can do pastry. Amazing. And fun. So much fun.

Inspired by the amazing pastry chefs in Texas, armed with my newfound awareness of these skills and a greater understanding of the daily work and impeccable technique required, I was no longer afraid of pastry. And I thought it was time for a new culinary competition. One that reveals the perseverance, dedication, skills, and hours (months! years!) of practice required to become a pastry chef. I thought it was time to put the spotlight on those people who faced their fears and took on pastry. And Voila, through the generosity of The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, we are embarking on our third year of competition.

There’s still time! If you’re a pastry student at an accredited culinary school in Texas, we invite you to show us what you’ve got. We’re offering a grand prize of a $5,000 scholarship and the chance to feature your recipes in our Plate & Vine Interactive Cookbook. The two runners-up each receive $1,000 each. Visit and postmark your entries by May 14, 2010. Call 512.327.755 if you have questions. And for everyone else who is still a bit intimidated by pastry, come out on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010 to help us crown the winner. Photo ops and interviews with the chefs and judges between 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM. Press conference and scholarship winner announced at 2:45 PM.


Chef Quincy Adams-Erickson
Chair, 2010 WFFT Pastry Competition

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rare & Fine Wine Auction Preview

Largest Auction in the Southwest Celebrates Silver Anniversary

The Wine & Food Foundation's signature event - The Rare & Fine Wine Auction - will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the Four Seasons Austin. (Tickets and more info by calling 512.327.7555.) This year, the auction celebrates its 25th anniversary with a stellar collection of rare vintage wines, luxury travel packages, private wine dinners, and collectible fine wines.

Here's a sampling of what you'll find on the auction block this year:

Bond 2006 Terroir Portfolio
5 Magnums (1.5 L) one each

2006 Bond Melbury
2006 Bond Quella
2006 Bond St. Eden
2006 Bond Vecina
2006 Bond Pluribus

Estimated Value: $3,500

2007 Pride Mountain Vyds Cabernet Sauvignon
1 Salmanazar (9L) Etched Bottle
Signed by Owner Steve Pride

"With ample structure, blue-black fruit and great aging potential, this phenomenal wine is reminiscent of past vintages of the Pride Mountain Reserve Cabernet. The nose expresses gorgeous flavors of cassis, black raspberry compote, cocoa and blueberry. The mouth is firm yet round, with intense flavors that evolve in the glass and balance the wine's structure."
Rated 90 Robert Parker

Estimated Value: $2,500

"Back Home Again" Dinner for Four at Jerry Jeff & Susan Walker's Home

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to spend an evening with a Texas music legend. Susan and Jerry Jeff Walker welcome you and three friends to their Clarksville home to share a home-cooked meal prepared by their personal chef, excellent wines from the Walker's personal collection, and maybe a little country music, too.

Must be scheduled on a mutually agreed upon date prior to April 30, 2011.

Estimated Value: $3,500

1982 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac
1 Bottle (.750 L)

"This wine remains one of the legends of Bordeaux. The creme de cassis, underlying floral note, full-bodied power, extraordinary purity, multi-layered texture, and finish of over a minute are a showcase for what this Chateau accomplished in 1982. The wine is still amazingly youthful, vibrant, and pure. It appears capable of remaining fruity and vibrant in 2082!"
Rated 100 Robert Parker

Estimated Value: $1,500

Stay tuned for more lot previews from this year's Rare & Fine Wine Auction.

Tickets? More Info? Visit us at or call the office at 512.327.7555.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Evening with Karen MacNeil

An Evening with Karen MacNeil
The Carillon hosts exclusive fine wine dinner to benefit Foundation

Austin, Texas (March 1, 2010) - Karen MacNeil, beloved TV personality and author of the popular Wine Bible, is coming to Austin for the 25th Annual Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. Susan and Ed Auler, Founders of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, will act as hosts for this dinner, celebrating the Festival’s 25 year anniversary. This exclusive dinner will be held Sunday, April 18th, at 6:30 p.m. at The Carillon in the AT&T Events Center. Proceeds will, in part, benefit The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas.

Only 16 guests will be able to share this memorable evening at the table with Karen, with an outstanding four-course dinner prepared by the Carillon’s acclaimed Executive Chef Josh Watkins.

Reservations (only 16 places/seats are available) are $200/person, including four courses and all wines. Reservations may be made by contacting the Foundation office (512) 327.7555 or pay online by visiting


First Course
Warm Artichoke Salad
Fingerling Potatoes, Fennel and Parsley Chips

Second Course
Asparagus Leek Soup
Jonah Crab, Crème Fresh and Lemon Zest

Third Course
Brioche Crusted Rack of Lamb
English Pea Risotto, Whole Grain Mustard, Tomato Confit

Fourth Course

Chocolate Terrine and Lemoncello Gelato
Coriander Cream, Crystallized Cilantro, Caramelized Orange

Thursday, March 4, 2010

WINE 101: Brush Up or Send a Friend!

Sip, Taste, Learn.

Every year, The Wine & Food Foundation offers a series of wine education classes through our 'Foundation Academy' program. Classes vary in subject matter and knowledge level, and occasionally include food pairings.

This spring, we're kicking off the Foundation Academy series with WINE 101. As you might expect, this class is designed for those with limited wine experience. Wine Instructor Brenda Audino of Twin Liquors will lead guests through a fun and interactive (read: drinking!) approach to learning the basics of wine. The class will feature six wines (six different varietals!) and focus on things the wine novice might be interested in learning.

How do I taste wine? What are the aromas and flavors to identify? How do I know what to order at a restaurant or what to pick out for dinner at home? How did I read this wine label? (Yes, there are ways to read wine labels other than determining if they are pretty or not!)

WINE 101 will take place at Twin Liquors Marketplace at Hancock Center (1000 E. 41st Street) on Thursday, March 11th. Hors d'oeuvres will be included. Even if you're a wine pro, we find that there's always something to learn about the complex world of wine. WINE 101 is highly recommended as a gift for clients, customers, friends, and family.

WINE 101 Twin Liquors Marketplace (1000 E. 41st Street) Thursday, March 11, 2010 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM $30 Foundation Members, $40 General Public Tickets at (512) 327.7555 or

Monday, February 22, 2010

Louis Jadot Burgundy Dinner

Featuring Jacques Lardiere, Director of Winemaking
Mirabelle Restaurant, Austin
Wednesday, March 3, 7:00 p.m.

The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas invites you to meet one of the most notable winemakers in Burgundy history, Jacques Lardiere, and share a stellar showing of wines and cuisine. The dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m, at Mirabelle Restaurant in Austin.

Admission is $85.00 per person, tax and gratuity included. (Please note that refunds are not available.) - CLICK HERE TO SEE MENU AND PURCHASE SEATING

Jacques Lardiere is a legendary Burgundy winemaker for Maison Louis Jadot, one of the most important and famous Burgundy houses.

The Jadot family owns plots in some of the most prestigious vineyards on the Côte de Beaune; holdings were increased to the Côte de Nuits in 1985 with the acquisition of the illustrious Clair Dau estate and Maison Champy in 1989.

Jacques Lardière is Jadot’s technical director and he is a brilliant winemaker always producing pure wines that are expressive of their individual terroirs. For the volume that Jadot produces, from Grand Cru to Bourgogne, the quality level is exceptionally high and the Jadot label is a guarantee of quality and terroir.” Robert Parker

Proceeds from the dinner will support TexSom; the two-day educational conference hosted by the Texas Sommelier Association. Guests will be served by expert Texas sommeliers.

The 2010 Texas Sommelier Association’s annual TexSom conference (for both trade and the general public) will be held August 14th and 15th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas. Visit the Association website for upcoming details. Last year over 30 Master Sommeliers attended the conference, providing a broad range of classes and topics.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red, Red Wine. Stay Close to My Heart.

February is American Heart Month and in honor of your ticker, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas is serving up two spectacular classes with heart-related themes.

First, join us this coming Tuesday, February 9th for TEAM CUISINE: Cupid in the Kitchen. Food plus wine equals love, right? This class takes place in one of Texas Culinary Academy's state of the art kitchens and is instructed by Chef Kevin Quinn. Team Cuisine offers a hands-on opportunity to cook in a fun, small group setting. In honor of Valentine's Day, Chef Quinn will take a few cues from Cupid, helping participants prepare a few recipes that are perfect for this romantic holiday. (Class attendees are not required to prepare the entire menu!)

Chef Quinn will be joined by TCA Wine Instructor Jane Nickles, who will discuss a few featured wines that are guaranteed to get you in the mood for romance! Among the wine picks is a Graham Beck Brut from South Africa and a Mud House Pinot Noir from New Zealand. As for food, Chef Quinn will be helping guests serve Pan Seared Strip Steak (heart healthy!) and Hearts of Palm Salad.

Cooking not your style? Much prefer to drink wine and have food served to you? No problem. Don't miss our Heart Health for Wine Lovers class on Thursday, February 11th. We are thrilled to be teaming up with Heart Hospital of Austin to present a session on heart health and wine benefits. Cardiologist Earl Dixon, MD, will lead guests through a casual seminar on the links between good heart health and wine drinking. Don't worry. During this class, drinking is definitely permitted and Twin Liquors will be providing some wonderful red wine selections. Light hors d'oeuvres will also be served. This event will take place at Twin Liquors Marketplace at Hancock Center.

For more details on Team Cuisine and Heart Health for Wine Lovers or to purchase tickets, visit The WFFT website here.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

25th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction is in the Planning!

The 25th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction will be held Saturday, April 17th, 2010 at the Four Seasons Hotel, here in Austin. Planning has been under way since November and the momentum is great! Wines of rare European and California vintages, collectible verticals and large formats are longtime favorites of our guests along with international wine tour vacations, extraordinary tastings and private cellar wine dinners. Several large format bottles have already been offered up by generous donors and these highly coveted wines are guaranteed to heat up the auction block. A 6 liter of 1987 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection and a 9 liter of the recently released 2007 Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon are two lots to look forward to. In addition, Abreu Vineyards has contributed 6 bottles (.750 liter) of the 2000 Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet, which Robert Parker has described as “the wine of the vintage” and rated 92.

We will also auction off 6 bottles of the 1994 Opus One in the wooden box, also rated 92 by Robert Parker and contributed by the WFFT past president, Buckner Hightower. The addition of special trips, fine dining restaurant wine pairing dinners and private cellar dinners with extraordinary Chefs, will prove to make our 25th anniversary auction, one of the best yet! More to come!

If you have any questions about the Auction or would like to contribute, please contact Donaji Lira, Wine Auction Director, by phone or email: 512.327.7555 or