This delectable article was written by my friend and guest blogger Charlotte Monte who had the pleasure of attending the annual EDWA Vintners’ Dinner. Enjoy!
Every year, El Dorado County’s Winery Association hosts two consecutive Passport Weekends, where dozens of wineries throughout the four area designations (Fair Play, Camino/Apple Hill, Greater El Dorado and Pleasant Valley) open their doors to Passport holders for special food and wine pairings. This is our third year experiencing this relaxing, enjoyable event, and it keeps getting better! El Dorado County is not only California’s best-kept secret, it is the state’s latest rush: a wine rush! People come from all over the world to experience this event.
Winemakers’ Dinner. You have the option of starting on Friday evening at the Annual Winemakers’ Dinner, and we find this a highlight of the entire weekend. A multi-course meal is paired with beautiful wines from an assortment of wineries. Previously held in the Sequoia Hotel, this year Cielo Estate hosted the Winemakers’ Dinner. The hors d’oeuvre course, called “Mediterranean Picnic,” featured a variety of olives, heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella in olive oil, artichokes and assorted salamis and cheeses, and was held in Cielo’s wine cave, which was a treat in itself.
Hollywood Theme. After hors d’oeuvres, we moved into the main room where dinner was served. For the first time, there was a theme to the entire weekend: Hollywood. Little did I know, according to Kathleen Dodge, Executive Director of the El Dorado/Lake Tahoe Film and Media Offices, at least 30 high-profile movies (i.e., Indian Jones, Memoirs of a Geisha) have been filmed in this area. What was the main selling point that gained Ms. Dodge preference over any other setting in the world? Gift baskets that featured El Dorado County wine!
Over the course of the weekend participating wineries followed the Hollywood theme to a greater or lesser degree of impressiveness. But more on that in my following post.
Wine tasting on Saturday and Sunday. After a substantial breakfast in the roomy dining/sitting area of the Camino Hotel B&B (formerly a loggers’ lodging), we headed out for our first stop, Grace Patriot Winery, where we picked up our Passport and VIP tasting glasses. Grace Patriot’s Hollywood theme was American Graffiti, and they had several beautiful vintage cars on display.
Getting more information. If you would like to check out a future El Dorado County Passport Weekend, please visit ElDoradoWines.org. You’ll be able to find out where the Winemakers’ Dinner is being held that year, which will allow you to make hotel reservations as close or as far as you want. You’ll also be able to find out opening times of the various wineries so that you can choose your starting-point winery. I recommend bringing a wine diary or notebook to take notes, and definitely a camera!
Next time: Our adventures on Saturday and Sunday!