Sun Wine-Fest: It’s On
This Sunday, I will have the chance to attend what is probably Connecticut’s biggest food-and-drink event of the year – the Sun WineFest at Mohegan Sun Casino! The festivities begin tomorrow (Friday), 1/27/12, at 6pm with the Beam Global Spirits & Wine Bourbon Tasting and end Sunday, 1/29/12, at 9pm with some Bubbles & Bon-Bons.
Tickets are a little pricey (and largely sold-out), at $70 for a one-day pass and $120 for a weekend-pass (a $20 savings). However, a portion of the proceeds are benefiting both The American Diabetes Association and the Channel 3 Kids Camp, the latter of which I’m sure many of my local readers have heard of.
The above-mentioned passes are applicable to what I’m going to be attending (AKA the main event), the Grand Tasting in Mohegan Sun’s Convention Center, featuring over a thousand different brands of wine, beer, and spirits. That’s right, a THOUSAND. Good thing the event is from 12-5pm – I’m going to need to spread this out! And hey, if I have to wait it out to achieve my “drive-home-safe” state, no better place than a casino, right?
There will also be food from tons of different restaurants – gotta have something to soak up my wine, right? The Main Culinary Stage will have celebrity chefs doing demos. I’m not talking the chefs I saw at the CT Wine & Food Fest (though don’t get me wrong, they were amazingly talented). I’m talking the likes of Bobby Flay (who unfortunately isn’t taking the stage on the day I’m going…dammit!) and Todd English, creator of one of the best NYC restaurants I’ve ever been to (he also won’t be there the day I’m going, come on)!
A couple of events will also be taking place during the Grand Tastings that have admission included with the Grand Tasting pass. On Saturday, Ciroc’s Grape Stomp will challenge participants to stomp the most juice possible out of a pile of grapes – sounds messy, and fun! The winner will get a HUGE prize: $1,500, an overnight stay at Mohegan, dinner for two at Todd English’s restaurant there, and free pedicures (someone’s wife will be mighty happy if he wins).
I have to be honest, even if I was going on Saturday, I don’t think I’d participate in that one. A bit too messy for me and my legs haven’t reached their strongest grape-stomping status possible yet. Someday – I guess that’s what squats are for!
The complimentary event taking place on Sunday, when I’ll be at the WineFest, is another event that I’ll be watching instead of doing: The Bud Light Lime 8th Annual Oyster Open. I am vastly uncoordinated, so an event to determine who can shuck the most oysters is probably one that would render me useless. Props to whoever wins though, because he or she will take home $5,000! Chef Jasper White (I met him last weekend) will be at this event, so I am definitely going to be there.
As I mentioned before, the Beam Global Spirits & Wine Bourbon Tasting will start things off on Friday in the Leffingwells Martini Lounge (class, class, class, see pic below, and I was there last Saturday!), home of the largest indoor planetarium dome in the entire world. My town’s very own Plan B will be there mixing up inspired cocktails or serving bourbons on the rocks. Trust me, I’ve had their bourbon, and it is AMAZING. Fig-and-vanilla-infused on the rocks, anyone? After sampling drinks, guests can head upstairs and smoke gourmet Avo cigars while listening to jazz music. I LOVE the old-timey feel of this event, despite the fact that it includes smoking (skip it and have more bourbon! ;-)).
Something I would have LOVED to attend, if only I were loaded (and if it weren’t sold out), is the Moet & Chandon Celebrity Chef Dine-Around. It’ll be exactly what it sounds like – celebrity chefs (Bobby Flay and Todd English, pictured below, back again!) doing live-demos at cooking stations as guests walk around, sample their creations, and pair them with a wine or beer. $175 is indeed a fair amount of money, especially nowadays. But for the foodie who would cherish the chance to talk with some of the most famous chefs around, I’m sure it’ll be well worth every penny. And seriously…look at all that food.
For $200, the real wine-os can experience the Elite Cru Tasting of some of the highest-quality vintage wines available on the market today, at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret Theatre. The wines will be paired with oysters, shrimp, and specialty cheeses. The participants also get to take home a $50 igourmet.com gift certificate, and the regular Grand Tasting is included with admission too. So I guess you could say you’re only spending about $80 more to be part of this extra tasting!
For those who like to pair more education with their libation, the igourmet.com Seminar Series is a great chance to increase your food-and-drink smarts. Seminars range from $50-$65 each, and take place on both Saturday and Sunday. Which ones would I like to try? How about From Angus to Pinot or Things You Never Knew About Bourbon? Where is my unlimited money tree?
If beer and/or hard liquor isn’t your thing, or if you have plans during the day on Sunday (errands, anyone?), no problem. Perrier-Jouet’s Bubbles & Bon-Bons from 6-9pm will pair champagne with desserts for those wanting to cap off (or start) their evening with, well, bubbles and bon-bons. Attendees will even get to mingle with three amazingly talented chefs, including a Food Network host and Mohegan’s executive pastry chef herself, and talk to them about their amazing creations – as they eat them! I love it when I have the chance to directly compliment a chef on his or her work – it’s a fantastic opportunity.
Holy moly – there’s certainly a lot to be seen, smelled, and tasted this coming weekend at Mohegan Sun! I can’t believe I have to wait until Sunday to join in the fun, but I think somehow I’ll survive (got a lot lined up this weekend as per usual ;-)) It’s been a few years since I first heard about the Sun WineFest, and have wanted to attend ever since, so it’s a bit of a dream-come-true for me! I’ll be tweeting during the event with plenty of photos, and I’ll be writing a recap post afterward for sure! It’s gonna be a big one!
Which of the “sub-events” I mentioned at the Sun WineFest would you most want to attend?