A cheesy report from the Midwest Winefest

Just look at all that cheesy goodness. Photo by Douglas Avenue Chop Shop.

Just look at all that cheesy goodness. Photo by Douglas Avenue Chop Shop.

I survived another Midwest Winefest, and it was a good one.

The event’s Grand Tasting on Saturday night filled two big halls at Century II with an abundance of wine and good food from local restaurants.

The most popular newcomer award definitely goes to the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, whose booth had the longest line all evening. I kept going back hoping it would get shorter, but it never did.IMG_0328

Owner Schane Gross and head butcher Josh Rathbun also served an impressive spread of gourmet cheeses from its cheese case.

They also had samples of beautifully grilled meats throughout the evening. Rathbun ran back and forth like a crazy person from a grill set up just outside Century II.

Among the other memorable foods I sampled: Delicious oysters on the half shell from the Lakeside Club, a giant bacon-wrapped shrimp from Abuelo’s, a butterscotch pudding creation from the Marriott, some salted chocolates from Dean & DeLuca and a wonderful bite of flour-less chocolate cake from Il Vicino.

It’s Midwest Winefest weekend in Wichita

SOMMELIERSThe big weekend for Wichita wine fans has arrived.

The 19th annual Midwest Winefest, a fundraiser for Guadalupe Health Foundation, starts tonight with the Old Town Walkabout, an event that invites ticket holders to roam from restaurant to restaurant in the downtown entertainment district, sampling wine and food at every stop. I have somehow never managed to attend this event. The 400 or so available tickets always sell out within a day, and they did again this year.

Also sold out: The fancy Friday-night wine dinners planned at Chester’s Chophouse, Wichita Country Club and DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport.

But there are still tickets available to what I consider to be the can’t-miss part of the event: Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting at Century II. The tickets are only $60, and attendees can sample food from local restaurants and more than 350 different wines. And if you have some extra pocket change, you can bid on some expensive bottles of wine, a trip to Napa Valley or even a live puppy.

Read more about the event in my story, which will be printed int he Go! section on Friday but already is available for Internet savvy readers such as you.

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 Kansas.com 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.