Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'Two-stop' wine dinner draws 55

Regional wineries have their own shares of war stories about getting local restaurants to carry their wines. Then you have the opposite end of the spectrum, where
Brandywine Prime in Chadds Ford, Pa., not only carries a number of local wines but operates in concert with a few of them on events.

One occurred last Saturday with the third annual Barrel Tasting and Dinner that Brandywine Prime sponsored along with
Chaddsford Winery. Restaurant GM Michael Majewski told me by phone that 55 attended. “That’s awesome," he said. "That's a great turnout for a wine dinner."

Costing $65 per person, the event started with hors d’oeuvres and wine out of the winery, then moved to the restaurant for dinner paired with Chadds Ford’s wines. Majewski said this is the second time they’ve followed the same “two-stop” script, and it’s not one they’re likely to change. “It seems to be a real popular thing, Majewski said, adding he’s planning to maintain a schedule where these are held twice a year.

“I think we’ll do it again in the spring and probably in the fall,” he said. “The fall works out well because they get to taste fermenting wine, and then the spring works out because the fermented wine is finished and racked off, and you get to taste it in a little bit different stage. If you come both times, you get to see a little bit of then and now. But even if you don’t, to taste fermenting wine, that’s pretty cool.

They go to the winery, taste out of the barrel . . . then we they come back to the restaurant and we finish the dinner there. This dinner. I made warm cider with apple spice wine that [Eric Miller] makes [at Chadds Ford]. Then I splashed it with a little bit of Wild Turkey. We had a little bourbon pumpkin pie and that was a big hit.”

What helps the Brandywine Prime-Chaddsford Winery pairing is their proximity; they’re only a couple of miles away. Majewski wouldn’t rule out trying the same idea with another winery, say, when Brad Galer reopens Folly Hill in another year or so. Otherwise, the distance from winery to restaurant eliminates many of the others on the
Brandywine Valley Wine Trail.

“We could do it at Penns Woods, but he doesn’t have that winery up and running yet,” Majewski said. “It’s gotta be someplace close, because if you’re in the car for more than 10 of 15 minutes, it kind of loses something.”

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