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Culinary Events, Wine Dinners & Classes
Last year we had such a great time with our first competition between Wine Director Maximilian Kast and On the Square’s Inez Ribustello, that we decided to do it again. This time we changed the format, and increased sommelier involvement, promising a night of great fun and intense competition!
We are excited to have three extremely talented wine professionals joining us. Maximilian Kast will be joined by Emily Papach of Chappellet Winery in Napa Valley, Liz Dowty, the Portfolio Manager for Vino Wholesale in New Orleans, and Eric Crane, the Director of Education for Empire Distributing in North Carolina and Georgia.
The competition will begin 2 hours before guests arrive, with the four picking names out of a hat, thus picking their teams. From there they will meet with Executive Chef Colin Bedford and will be given the menu. The two teams will have half an hour each to choose their wines for the dinner, overseen by the Fearrington House Sommelier Paula de Pano. From there the teams will meet in the Garden House and create two original cocktails to serve the guests. While the guests are enjoying these cocktails they will watch as the teams compete in a blind tasting competition, having to decipher grape, region, and vintage. From there all will go to the main event; the guests will not know which team chose which wine for each course, so this will be truly unbiased voting. The dinner will be a five course tasting menu, made to be as tricky as possible for the four sommeliers to pair wines! A little more information on the competitiors:
Emily Papach originally hails from the Commonwealth of Virginia. In her short but successful time in the industry she has worked in some of the finest restaurants in the country and has shown her understanding of wine and spirits by passing some of the most challenging exams in the industry. In 2007 she received her Wine and Spirits Education Trust Diploma, passing with Distinction. In 2010 she passed her Advanced Sommelier exam and was one of three Rudd Scholars having the highest score at her exam. She has passed two sections of the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam and is diligently preparing for her third and final section. Emily has recently found a home at Chappellet winery where she helps the family work with their trade partners across the country and world. Her spare time finds her spending time with her son and family and hanging out in Yountville, California.
A Georgia native, Eric has been in or around alcohol since the 90’s. He has achieved the title of Certified Wine Educator from the Society of Wine Educators and the title of Advanced Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Guild of Sommeliers. As Empire’s Director of Training, he regularly teaches classes on wine and spirits to his company as well as to the public. His spare time finds him chillaxing (which can be exciting with two kids and the worst dog ever!) and with his nose in either a book or a glass of wine.
Elizabeth Dowty is an accomplished sommelier with a passion for wine, spirits and food that has since exploded since her first job at her cousin’s wine bar in New Orleans, LA when she was 18. While studying at the Université Jean-Moulin Lyon III in Lyon, France, Elizabeth discovered a burgeoning interest in French wines that has steadily grown through years of study and nurturing. Upon graduating from The University of Georgia, Elizabeth joined the prestigious Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group as a manager at Bacco located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. As a result of Hurricane Katrina, she was relocated to The Jazz Kitchen restaurant in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California. Soon she was attending the wine classes of Master Sommelier, Michael Jordan, and sitting for her first level with the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2006. Since then, Elizabeth has plied her trade in the wine business working as the primary buyer for The Wine Club Santa Ana in Orange County, California, a Fine Wine Key Account Manager for Republic National Distributing in Houston, Texas, and currently as the Portfolio Manager & Director of Business Development for Vino Wholesale in New Orleans. She passed the Advanced level with the Court of Master Sommeliers in April 2009, and in February 2011, passed the tasting and theory portions of the Master Sommelier Exam.
Wine Dinners are $210 per person, including, tax, gratuity and an hors d’oeuvres reception with the wine experts beforehand.
More information about Wine Dinners and Culinary Events can be found here.