Category Archives: Wine

Your chance to medal in Olympic drinking

As we enjoy watching our U.S. athletes complete in London, we shouldn’t forget about other sports that requires strength and endurance — namely beer and wine drinking.

A couple of local alcohol purveyors are getting into the Olympic spirit by putting on drinking Olympics.

One is Granite City Food & Brewery, which has restaurants at 2244 N. Webb Road and 2661 N. Maize Road in Wichita. From 9 to 11 p.m. tonight through Thursday and Monday through Aug. 9, the restaurant/bar is staging games that could win patrons prizes.  

In “Sharp Shooter,” for example, game players use their hands to shoot a rubber band at a target. “Growler Curls” are pretty self explanatory.

Daily winners, which are named at 11 p.m. nightly, win $25 gift cards. All the daily winners are entered into a drawing for a $300 gift card grand prize at the end of the promotion.

You can find complete rules on Granite City’s website. 

Beyond Napa at 338 N. Mead is putting on the 1st Annual Wine Olympics. Each day through Saturday, the wine store will select two wines from different countries and offer samples in the store. Patrons will taste, compare and then vote for their favorite. The winner is announced the next day on the Beyond Napa Facebook page. 

Store hours are noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-260-9920

Liquor store wine tastings start on July 1

Jamie Stratton, wine director at Jacob Liquor

A law change that takes effect on July 1 will allow liquor stores in Kansas to start offering wine tastings, and Jacob Liquor is wasting no time.

The store, which has locations at 3049 N. Rock Rd and 10221 W. 21st St., will offer its first tasting on the very first day it’s allowed: Sunday, July 1.

Jamie Stratton, Jacob Liquor’s wine director, is still finalizing the details of the event. But it will likely feature a variety of wines available for sampling stationed around the store. After that, the stores will start offering tastings every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They’re allowed to offer samples of wine, beer and spirits.

The events, as the law requires, are free. I compared them to the free samples popular at Sams, and Jamie laughed and said that was probably a good description. He probably will not be laughing at this photo I’ve posted, which I borrowed from Jacob Liquor’s Facebook page announcing the tastings.

Jamie said he’d have the details, such as time of the tastings and what will be served, ironed out by early next week. He’ll give them to me, he said, and he’ll also post them on the Jacob Liquor website.

Next week’s menu: Burgers, bottles and Bloody Marys

A cool shot I grabbed of my girls and me at Saturday's Midwest Winefest. Can you tell which one is me? We're like the Charlie's Angels of wine.

I’ve just now, at 3 p.m. on Monday, recovered from Saturday night’s Winefest enough to tell you a little bit about some more adult beverage-based events coming up next week.

I didn’t get too crazy at the Winefest, mind you. But the trip across the street to hang out at the bar of AVI probably was the opposite of what my group needed. (Amiright, Ben Arnold?) At least we were on foot!

The Winefest is one of my favorite food and beverage events of the year, and I never fail to have a great time. One of the highlights of this year’s events for me: The Dillon’s Marketplace booth, which was set up with a whole array of fabulous cheeses from the fancy Dillon’s cheese case. I sampled Merlot-flavored cheese, espresso-flavored cheese and raspberry-flavored cheese. The table also offered piles and piles of shaved Parmesan, which is only one of my favorite things on earth to nibble with wine.

And only two tables away, one of the vendors was serving up samples of Kim Crawford, one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs. At some point, the kind pourer at the table wondered if we had sampled it enough to have decided whether we liked it. Woops.

Two more fun food and beverage events are coming up soon.

One is called Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys and doubles as Botanica’s 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Party. The event will include a beer tasting by River City Brewery and a Bloody Mary competition among local bars and restaurants such as The Anchor, The Candle Club, Heroes, A.V.I., Newport Grill, Scotch & Sirloin and The Vagabond. The event also will feature food by The Flying Stove and music by Spirit of the Stairs. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on May 4, and tickets are $40 a person. Make your reservations here.

Chester’s Chophouse chef Bobby Lane is putting on a VinoBurger Cookbook tasting event at 6:30 p.m. on May 1. The event will be on Chester’s patio and is $40 a person. Lane will prepare two burgers of his own as well as two from the VinoBurger cookbook. The event includes five wine and four burger samples. RSVPs must be e-mailed to

What’s to eat at Winefest

There’s just not room in the Go! section to list some of the most important information about Winefest – what each of the restaurants there will be serving.

So as a public service, I’m listing them here. Warning: Reading past here will result in hunger. (P.S.: If you’re going to the sold-out Winefest Walkabout on Thursday, you can see a list of what they’re serving here.)

Abuelo’s: Sauteed chicken zucchini with penne pasta, Mexical rice, papas con chile and chile con queso

The Wichita Marriott: Mediterranean shrimp skewers and international and domestic cheese tower with lavosh and flatbreads

Carrabba’s:  Chicken Marsala and shrimp scampi

Granite City: Shrimp Asian salad on a fried wonton

Hyatt Regency: Braised short rib with homemade BBQ sauce in a bread cup

Mike’s Wine Dive: Wild boar ragu with crostini and roasted red pepper hummus

Newport Grill: Bay scallop ceviche and olive and ricotta tapas

P. F. Chang’s China Bistro: Chicken lettuce wraps

Redrock Canyon Grill: North Coast salmon filets served chilled with garlic toast points and Millionaire sauce

Sweet Basil: Penne pasta primavera with chicken and strawberry daiquiri fudge brownies

Wild Thyme Gourmet: Chili bacon grisini and caprese appetizer

Dillon’s Marketplace: Sartori’s Bella Vitano Merlot cheese, with new flavors espresso, salsa and raspberry

Café Maurice: Assorted sweets

Monica’s Bunt Cakes: Bundt Runts in red velvet, chocolate sour cream and crazy carrot

Sweetly Scrumptious: Sweetly Scrumptious Cuppy Cakes

The Chocolate Fountain: Tuxedo fountain with strawberries and sweet dippers

Raise a glass: It’s Winefest week

It’s one of my favorite weekends of the spring: WINEFEST WEEKEND!!!

I don’t like to miss the Grand Tasting, which this year is on Saturday. It fills Century II with around 350 different wines to sample along with food from several of Wichita’s best restaurants. (I’ll have a full story about the event up on by Wednesday and in the paper on Friday.)

But Winefest isn’t just the Grand Tasting. It also includes several pre-events, but it’s hard to get tickets for them. (The sold-out-in-seconds Walkabout is a good example.)

The Winefest schedule also includes several wine dinners the day before the tasting. Two of them already are sold out, but tickets for a third one are still available. It features Sean Roney, son of Pat Roney, who is the owner of Gerard Winery & Windsor Sonoma Winery.

The dinner is at 7 p.m. Friday at the Marriott Wichita, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $125 a person, and part of the proceeds for the dinner benefit the Guadalupe Clinic and are a 2012 tax deduction.

The multi-course meal’s entree will be a pan seared tenderloin of beef with horseradish chips and grilled multi-colored Swiss chard.

Reservations are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday by calling 316-682-5502.

Five fun food-and-drink fundraisers

It’s fundraiser season, which is my favorite season. Over the course of February and March each year, several organizations put on fancy parties that include food, wine and frivolity. If you want to go (trust me, you DO want to go), it’s time to get your tickets. Here are the ones I know about.

Cocktails & Cookies: This annual fundraiser, scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Drury Plaza Broadview, benefits Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. It includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, sweet cocktails and desserts prepared by local chefs using Girl Scout Cookies as a main ingredient. Tickets are $100 a person at I’m a dessert judge at the event, so I’ll see you there.

Uncorked Wine Tasting and Auction: This event also is on Feb. 25 at the Derby Public Library in Derby and raises money for the Derby Community Foundation’s Community Enrichment Grant Program. It will include food from local restaurants, wine tasting stations, Cocoa Dolce chocolates and an art auction. Tickets are $35 a person and available at the Derby Welcome Center, 611 N. Mulberry, Ste. 200, or by calling 316-788-9815 or by e-mailing

A Night on the Red Carpet: The third annual Oscar-night party, a fundraiser for Episcopal Social Services, is on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Abode Venue, 1330 E. Douglas. It’s a fun, black-tie optional party that this year will feature food from Carrabba’sLarkspur and Luca Italian Kitchen plus drinks, a showing of the 84th Annual Academy awards, local celebrities on the “red carpet,” live music and a live and silent auction. Tickets are $75 a person or $850 for a table of 10. More information about the party can be found at The Eagle also has two sets of tickets to give away, which we will do at noon on Monday. If you want to enter to win a set of tickets, visit the Facebook page and scroll down till you find the giveaway. All you have to do is hit “like” on the post. I’m the emcee of this one, so I’ll see you there.

Palette to Palate: This second-annual fundraiser benefits KETCH and will be at 7 p.m. March 3 at the Drury Plaza Broadview. It’ll feature food from restaurants such as Luca Italian Kitchen, Newport Grill, Bocconcini Italian Eatery and more. It also offers a wine tasting and art auction. Tickets are $60 a person by visiting

Death by Chocolate: Exploration Place’s sixth annual Death by Chocolate fundraiser is a wonderland of chocolate-y goodness. It includes unlimited chocolate creations and drinks from local bakers and restaurants. It’s from 7 to 10 p.m. on March 31, and tickets are $75 a person

Wine dinners at Ya Ya’s

Ya Ya’s Eurobistro, the fine dining restaurant at 8115 E. 21st St., will be the site to a couple of fancy, libations-based dinners over the next two weeks.

The Wichita chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food is putting on a Van Duzer Vineyards wine dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ya Ya’s. It’ll feature five courses paired six wines from the vineyard, an Oregon winery known for its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Admission is $55 for AIWF members and $65 for non-members. Call 316-682-5502 for reservations, which are due by noon on Monday.

Ya Ya’s also is putting on a $95-a-person champagne dinner on Feb. 13 that will include a five-course meal, each course paired with champagne. The entree is pan-roasted duck breast with smoked gouda polenta. Call 316-634-1000 soon for reservations since it’s Valentine’s Day eve and all.

A full week of Scotch, wine and courses

Several local restaurants are doing their part to help you get your stomach expanded and your tolerance increased just in time for Thanksgiving.

During the next few days, three wine events and a Scotch tasting are planned at local restaurants. Here are some of your choices:

Chapada Chop House, 2142 N. Tyler Road: The new restaurant is putting on a single malt Scotch tasting with guest speaker Robert Sickler at 6:30 p.m. tonight. The event will feature five Scotch whiskeys and heavy appetizers. Admission is $35 a person. Make reservations at 316-201-4694.

Hangar One, 5925 W. Kellogg: The restaurants monthly Wine Flight Dinner is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday and will feature five courses with wine. Admission is $39.99 a person. Make reservations at 316-941-4900.

Carrabba’s, 3409 N. Rock Road: Carrabba’s monthly wine tasting also is on Wednesday. It’s at  6:30 p.m. and will include five to six wines paired with five to six small plates. It’s $35 a person. Call 316-315-0777 for reservations.

Luca Italian Kitchen, 301 N. Mead: The restaurant’s “Terra” dinner is at 7 p.m.  on Thursday and will feature four courses paired with wines. Tickets $65 a person at 316-262-3232.

Know of any others coming up? Let me know and I”ll put them on my wine and beer events page.

Three October wine dinners

Now that we’ve had our fill of beer, it’s time to turn our attention to wine.

Thank goodness three October wine dinners are on the horizon.

Auburn Spirits, the liquor store at 13303 W. Maple, is putting on a Spanish wine dinner at 7 p.m. Friday at Rolling Hills Country Club. Tickets are $70 a person, and reservations must be made by Wednesday by calling 316-440-1111. You can see the full menu, which includes a four-course meal with five wine parings, right here.

Newport Grill’s Iron Sommelier Dinner is scheduled for Monday and will include nine courses and 16 wines. It’s $125 a person and pits local food and wine experts, including Newport Grill’s Alicia Elleman and Jacob Liquor’s Jamie Stratton, against each other to find out who can pair wine and food best. It starts with a reception at 6 p.m., the the battle begins at 6:30 p.m. To make a reservation, call  316-636-9555.

Oeno at 330 N. Mead has whimsically titled its October 29 Wine Dinner”The Grape Pumpkin.” It will feature four courses paired with three wines, and each course includes pumpkin as an ingredient. It’s $35 a person. For a reservation, call 316-440-5000.

Wine and beer lovers: This is for you

Today, I’m launching a new feature on this blog that’s aimed at local fans of wine, beer and spirits.

It’s a new “page” where I’ll track local wine and beer tastings, charity events and more. (Look up there! Just to the left of my menu! Where it says “Wine and beer events.” Now click.)

I’ve started with some listings of events coming up over the next several months, and I’d like to add more features in the near future. A reader has already suggested that I have a section that lists bottle discounts at local restaurants. (Bella Luna, for example, offers half price bottles on Mondays and Wednesdays.)

Take a look and let me know what I’m missing.