This year’s Winefest will be a bigger affair than in previous years, thanks to more events, more food, and of course, more wine.
Winefest Des Moines will celebrate 10 years next week, and organizers have stretched the event, which typically encompasses a weekend, to eight days of tastings, dinners and classes running Saturday through June 9.
Winefest is one of Des Moines’ largest food and wine festivals, and features thousands of carefully chosen wines from around the world as well as culinary bites from many of the city’s talented chefs. Schedules and information on making reservations can be found at winefestdesmoines. com. Here is what you can expect.
When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Meredith Corporation, 1716 Locust St.
What: If you’d like to back your food and wine consumption with a little knowledge, make a reservation for a “Saturday Session.” These new classes cover a wide variety of topics, from cooking with basil to Latin grilling to pairing Italian culinary staples with Italian wines. A hands-on cooking class, led by Barilla America’s Chef Edmondo Sarti and hosted by Nancy Hopkins, deputy food and entertainment editor at Better Homes and Gardens, will be held during the Barilla Interactive Lunch at 11 a.m. ($75). Learn to cultivate and cook with fresh basil with Country Gardens editor James. A. Baggett and BHG’s food editor Maggie Meyer as they demonstrate simple recipes during Grow A Basil Banquet at 2 p.m. ($35). Learn how to transform your next backyard get-together into a fiesta with Carlos Acevedo, editor of BHG’s annual Grilling and Mexican magazines, and Zachary Mannheimer, restaurant sommelier and co-owner of Proof during Tapas on the Grill: Entertaining with Latino Flair at 3:30 p.m. ($35). And finally, learn how to create perfect food and wine pairings (food included) from Joanne Weir, award-winning cookbook author, chef, restaurateur and television personality during Food + Wine = Divine at 5 p.m. ($45).
Iowa Lawn Party
When: 2-6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Jasper Winery, 2400 George Flagg Parkway
What: We shouldn’t need to give you a description (why wouldn’t you attend a lawn party on a Sunday?), but we will anyway. Relax at the Iowa Lawn Party and celebrate all things local, including beer, wine, food and live music. Tickets are $10 in advance or $20 at the door.
When: 5-7 p.m. Monday
Where: All metro Dahl’s locations
What: Can’t wait until the big event next weekend? Stop by Dahl’s while picking up groceries to get a sneak peek at some of the wines that will be featured at Winefest. Samples are free.
When: 6-8 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Various locations, including Gateway Market, Vintage Wine and Spirits, Ingersoll Wine and Spirits, WineStyles West Glen and Sbrocco. Go to winefestdesmoines. com for a schedule.
What: Sample wines at your favorite liquor retailer (or try a new potential fave) during Wine Flights. Each retailer will host an evening event, ranging from wine and cheese pairings to aged white wines.
She Said Wine, He Said Beer Dinner
When: 6 p.m. June 6
Where: Raccoon River Brewing Co., 200 10th St.
What: A dark stout would taste delicious with that pot roast — or would you rather have a glass of red? At the She Said Wine, He Said Beer dinner, you don’t have to choose. Raccoon River Brewing and Gateway Market offer a multi-course dinner paired with wines and brews to sample. $65 per person.
When: 6:30 p.m. June 7
Where: Various locations. Go to winefestdesmoines. com for a complete schedule.
What: Local chefs pair with an Iowa winery to create a special menu, served in an intimate location. This year’s lineup includes Chef David Baruthio of Baru 66, Chef Dominic Iannarelli of Splash Seafood Bar and Grill, Chef George Migliero of the Wakonda Club, Chef Andrew Meek of Sbrocco and Chef George Formaro of Centro and Django. Tickets are $250 per person.
Sips and the City
When: 6-9 p.m. June 8
Where: Nollen Plaza, Third and Locust streets
What: The highlight of Winefest for the young professional crowd (although not limited to YPs only), Sips and the City is the perfect after-work escape for wine, food and music. Hundreds of wines will be available for sipping, with even more food for patrons this year. Enjoy the event in sunny Nollen Plaza, with live music and hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants, as well as inside Capital Square. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Upgrade to the VIP lounge for $25 more to be treated to high-end wines and exclusive food prepared by local chefs.
The Grand Tasting
When: 6-9 p.m. June 9
Where: Nollen Plaza, Third and Locust Streets
What: The final, more formal event of the weekend features wines from around the world and gourmet foods, all in an elegant atmosphere at Nollen Plaza and inside Capital Square. Cocktail attire. Tickets are $75. Upgrade to the VIP Lounge for $25 more and be treated to an array of sparkling wines and sweet treats from local confectioners.