Yavapai College offering virtual winemaker symposium

As the Arizona wine industry continues to gain popularity and international respect those making the wine, the winemaker have two ways to learn how to make wine. One way is by hands on trial and error and learning along the way. The other is to learn from a school of wine-making then apply what you’ve learned in the vineyard and winery. Yavapai College is one of those that teach you how to make wine here in Arizona. The school has announced a one-day “Emerging Winemakers Competition & Symposium” on Saturday April 24th.

The virtual and free event will offer 2 seminars, 3 speakers, 7 judges and 1 Best in show winner from 9:30 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. The seminar & symposium is being organized by the Grand Crew, a student & alumni organization at the Yavapai College of Viticulture Enology at the Verde Valley campus in Clarkdale.

“After canceling last year’s event due to COVID-19 safety precautions, we are excited to return this year as a virtual event for wine lovers throughout the state,” said the Competition Organizer Bill Anderson. “As one of our state’s fastest growing industries we created this event as a platform for those new to the industry to be recognized for their efforts in helping it flourish,”

The schedule of events is as follow

9:30-10:15 a.m. PDT

Welcome + Introductions:
Bill Anderson + Michael Pierce

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Montgomery
Topic: Different Beginnings, Same Destination

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. – Seminar 1
Lisa Froncioni-Hai:
California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance
Topic: Sustainability from Grapes to Glass

11:30am – 12:15 p.m. – Seminar 2
Philippe Corderey:
Introduction to Biodynamic Viticulture

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Break for lunch

1:00-2:15 p.m.
Awards Presentation + Roundtable Discussion

To register for the virtual symposium head to their website.

The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival safely returning next weekend

Festivals and gatherings are returning to social calendars after many had to cancel their 2020 events due to Covid-19. One of those festivals first to return is The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival next weekend April 17th & 18th. The Town of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium co-host the 20th annual event in downtown Camp Verde from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and til 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Each day 8-12 wineries will be sampling their wines and pairing them with a variety of pecans. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, live music, local artists and a competitive pie eating contest. All activities will follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, all areas cleaned and sanitized frequently and recommended mask wearing. Page Springs, Salt Mine Wine, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Winery 101 are a few of the wineries pouring wines at the event.

“We were saddened to have to cancel last year but it was with everyone’s safety and best interests in mind, as this is normally one of the town’s biggest events,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “This annual tradition is a wonderful celebration of two local products of the region and we look forward to its return, with a number of additional safety precautions in mind”.

Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. Those 21 and older can pay $20 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Additional tickets can be purchased. For more information visit these websites http://www.cvaz.com and http://verdevalleywine.org

Photo credit: Jenelle Bonifeld & Arizona Wine Guide

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Whiskey Wednesday’s at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen

The Scottsdale hony tonk bar offers up flights of 4 tastes of whiskey’s every Wednesday for $35-$45. Saturday 3/27 is International Whiskey Day and Belle’s is celebrating with 4 signature whiskey cocktails. Tuesday 3/30 is National Hot Chicken Day and several choices (sandwich, tenders & salad) are on their menu to celebrate with.

Jersey Mike’s donating all sales to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

All 45 sandwich shops around Phoenix will donate 100% of sales on Wednesday 3/31. The day of giving is part of Jersey Mike’s 11th annual month of giving in March and is supported by local valley owners Duane Layton, Bill Mapes and Josh Barton.

New menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Phil “The Grill” updated the menu at his Roosevelt Row BBQ joint to include  Chicken Fried Corn & Chicken Fried Pickles and Family Style smoked meats by the pound for dine-in or to-go. New Philly Crack Wings flavors include Jamaican Jerked, Nashville Hawt and BBQ. Wash it all down with the new vodka based Purple Rain cocktail.

Orin Swift wines paired at Match Market & Bar dinner

No foolin’ around on Thursday April 1st when the downtown Phoenix restaurant inside the Found:RE Hotel pairs 5-courses with red & white wines. $99++ gets you a seat at the table that starts at 7 p.m. Seats can be reserved here and for more information click here.

LDV Winery re-opens tasting room on April Fool’s Day, seriously

No joke here when owners Peggy Fiadaca and Curt Dunham re-open their downtown Scottsdale tasting room after almost a year. Covid-19 and structural issues had them closed longer than expected but they’re glad to be back open seeing friends and pouring their award-winning wines.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new Spring menu

The new menu at the 7 Arizona locations celebrates the Garden of Flavors thru June 7th. Seasonal ingredients include artichokes, asparagus, sweet peaches and more. Dishes like the Panzanella Salad, Bacon & Asparagus Pizza go well with new cocktails such as the Kentucky Peach Mule & Peach Bellini. A new cauliflower crust pizza has been added as has desserts Banana Cream Cheese Cake and Caramel Coconut Cheesecake.

Found:RE Hotel celebrates Women in Wine

The downtown Phoenix hotel and signature restaurant Match Market & Bar feature wines made by women all month long in honor of International Women’s Day Monday March 8th. 18 wines from around the world are featured with a portion of sales donated to Hope Women’s Center. Many of the wines feature also donate to women’s causes around the world.

Local First Arizona film series highlights local food economy & community

March 9th is the first of a monthly series of its Good Food Film Series featuring 12 independent short films. Each film discusses the challenges the farm and food community faces over the next year. The first film titled “The State of Arizona Farmland” about the owners of Blue Sky Farms. April 13th will be “Are Edible Landscapes and Trees the answer to Arizona’s Rising Climate Crisis?” and May 11th brings “The Business of Farm to Food Banks“.

A Su Salud virtual kitchen offers healthy Mexican food.

Pita Jungle has jumped into the virtual kitchen game with A Su Salud at its Tempe location. Meaning “to your health” A Su Salud offers Mexican wood fired specialties available for pick-up or delivery from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates. Bowls, burritos, salads, tacos and fajitas are on the menu along with healthy kid options and Pita Jungle desserts.

All-you-can-eat tacos at Jalapeno Inferno

Every Taco Tuesday customers visiting the Pinnacle Peak, DC Ranch and Park West restaurants can get as many tacos as you can eat for $10.99. The special price is for dine-in only.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Duckhorn Wine Dinner at The Boulders Resort & Spa

Reservations are being taken for the March 11th dinner with the iconic Napa Valley winery. The 4-course dinner will be paired with wines only found at the winery. Dinner will be under the stars in the resort’s Organic Garden. Seats are $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-595-4668.

PHX Beer Co.’s new beer supports Arizona Craft Brewers Guild

The new Hefeweizen styled beer, Rebuild the Guild Benefit Beer donates part of the sales to the struggling non-profit while supplies last. Reliant on events the ACBG has not been able to hold any due to the pandemic. Saturday March 27th both Scottsdale & Phoenix locations will donate all money from sales to the organization that support and lobbies for Arizona’s craft brewers.

Cider Corps owner receives big honor

Veteran and owner Jason Duren was named one of 29 Rising Stars in the food and beverage industry from around the country. FSR Magazine recognizes people in the industry who are making a positive change in the industry. Two of the reasons for the honor are Jason’s leadership in the cider industry and his continued support of the veteran community.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen starts nutritious meal prep service

The new honky tonk bar in Old Town Scottsdale just launched “Belle’s on Wheels” meal prep service. Chef Samantha Roberts created a clean eating & nutritious selection of meals high in protein, low in sodium with no added chemicals. Gluten free and dairy free meals are available. Meals are made in advance with proteins costing $4-$14 per serving and sides are $3. Buying in bulk for family meals is also an option. Curbside and in- store pick -up is available with deliveries available for those within 3 miles of the restaurant. To order your meals call 480-590-3190 or visit their website.

World Famous cream puffs coming to Scottsdale

Beard Papa’s build your own cream puffs opens its newest location at Scottsdale Quarter on Saturday February 27th. The Japanese based bakery will offer free cream puffs with all purchases and a FREE SWAG bag to the first 100 customers.

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Jungle Vino available at Pita Jungle for National Drink Wine Day

The new private label wines from California’s Dunnigan Hills will be available at all locations on Thursday February 18th. The Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced by Matchbook Wines and is $18 a bottle and $5 a glass at happy hour.

Bashas donates Paczki sales to St. VdP on February 16th

On Fat Tuesday the local grocer will donate 10% of sales of the Polish fruit filled pastry to St. Vincent de Paul. Customers who snap a selfie with the Paczki can tag @bashasmarkets on Facebook and Instagram and #PaczkiSelfie for a chance to win a$100 gift card. $.75 per or $2.99 for 6.

Bottomless fries at Hopdoddy Burger Bar for Fat Tuesday

The Camelback and Scottsdale burger joint kick off Mardi Gras with more fries than you can eat. All day you can choose from Parmesan Truffle, Green Chile Queso, BBQ Ranch and more. Available for dine-in or take-out.

Sazerac Cocktails & Craft buys new motor scooter for disabled vet

The downtown Phoenix bar raised money and donated their own to buy customer and disabled veteran Dave Little Eagle a new ride. Injured in a 2015 parachuting accident in Afghanistan old scooter broke down and couldn’t get in touch with the VA. Too watch the moment when Dave’s new scooter presented to him you can watch the video here.

Still time to make plans for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and if you and your sweetheart don’t have plans yet this post will give you plenty of dining out or take-out options from local restaurants.

 

 

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Atlas Bistro owner takes over AZ Wine Co. renames it Atlas Wines

The once legendary AZ Wine Co. is no more as Todd Sawyer, owner of the award-winning Atlas Bistro has bought the boutique wine shop. After several months of re-modeling Atlas Wines is reminiscent of AZ Wine’s early days of mid 1990s.

The original AZ Wine Co. has played a big part in the local wine community as it was one of only a few places in the Phoenix area to get hard to find wines and Arizona made wines. Young wine geeks would shop the aisles, read labels, speak with knowledgeable staff and even “try before you buy” wines. Restaurateurs, future sommeliers, chefs and more knew they could find good wines at reasonable prices at the south Scottsdale shop. As time went by the valley grew, wine became mainstream and consumers would start to buy wine at big box stores or other wine shops/bars closer to home.

I had a first-hand look as I was an early employee at AZ Wine Co. learning about wines and becoming a resource to regular customers or someone just stopping in for a gift. To this day have friends I met working their and bump into customers around town asking for wine advice and reminisce about the good ‘ol days.

Gone are the living room sofas, rows and rows of wines, storage space and large wine bar. Sawyer reduced the square footage by 2/3rds and got rid of dead inventory and hopes a local restaurant will take over the left over store front.

Atlas Wines compliments Atlas Bistro

The wine shop plays an integral part to Sawyer’s Atlas Bistro as the small restaurant doesn’t serve wine and the wine friendly menu had customers bringing their own wine (BYO) or buying a bottle or two at AZ Wine. It was a no brainer for him to take over the shop to compliment the restaurant as he was sharing the wine buying for several years. Local wine geek Jock Wulffson continues to help Sawyer with wine buying and with customer relations. Wulffson himself is well known in the local wine community as he’s been involved with local wine & food groups and owned his own wine shop before coming to AZ Wine Co.

Customers will still find food worthy wines from across the globe from reputable wineries and lesser known, small production wineries. Craft beers from Arizona along with imported and domestic beers are available in the refrigerator. Several hundred labels are on shelves from everyday drinkers at under $20 to highly rated and sought after wines costing the price of a monthly car payment. The small wine bar will pour a selection of wines and beers once Covid-19 restrictions allow for.

Sawyer hopes to be re-opening Atlas Bistro in the near future for dinner and once opened it will provide European styled appetizers at the wine bar.

Atlas Wines is at 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. (480)423-9305. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or see their website.

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Toys for Tacos at Mr. Mesquite Taqueria

All 7 locations are collecting toys in exchange for tacos until December 31st. Bring in a toy, clothes or learning tool for The Academic Opportunity of Arizona and get a free taco for the day of drop off.

Monday night is Date Night at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant invites couples to join them on Monday’s for dinner for $50. Starting at 4 p.m. each twosome will get 2 pasta entrees, 2 salads and a pre-selected bottle of wine. Reservations required and must mention Date Night Special for special price. 480-427-2264.

Holiday tamales available from Los Sombreros

Order by the dozen for pick-up by December 24th. Mix & match Green Corn, Pineapple, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas, Carnitas & Red Beef Chile. All tamales are using produce from local farms. Order at their website.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria now available from ghost kitchen

Pizza to go is now available at Kitchen United MIX in Scottsdale. Order on-line and have the same delicious pizza and more made fresh and ready for pick-up or delivery.

Merkin Vineyards launches monthly Sunday brunch

This Sunday December 6th in Scottsdale will be the first brunch offered at the wine bar. The first Sunday of every month several dishes will be offered that use ingredients grown at its vineyards, gardens and orchards in the Verde Valley. Wines and Mimosas will be available to compliment your food.

Domaine Carneros dinner hosted by Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort

Champagne house Taittinger will be showing it’s Napa Valley sparkling wines off at a dinner on Thursday December 10th. Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa hosts Domaine Carneros for the 4-course dinner as part of the resort’s monthly Winemaker Dinner Series. The evening starts at 6:30 with an appetizer and wine reception followed by dinner at 7.

Domaine Carneros was created in the 1980s to create sparkling wine in California’s Napa Valley using the same methods used in making champagne in France. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are grown on the property used to make the award-winning bubbly. During the dinner you’ll hear about their newest project, being the first champagne house to plant vineyards in the United Kingdom. The vineyards were planted in 2015 in Kent South-east England and planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Meunier. No tasting of these sparkling wines, as the first release is set for 2024.

After the dinner wines will be available for purchase for guests to take home at a discount. The dinner is $99++ per person with limited seating and reservations being required. To reserve your seat call 480-629-6231.