Monday, April 27, 2009

St. Michael’s Food and Wine Festival Sizzles on the Chesapeake

Record-setting April temps struck during this year’s St. Michael’s Food and Wine Festival, which made the nice folks at the D’Marie booth very happy. They sell a mix that you stir into red or white wine, pop in the freezer, and a little while later you get an icy slush made with wine. Their little cups of red and white wine slush tasted great on such a scorcher, and as did crisp whites like Pinot Grigios—although I steered clear of anything red for the first couple hours.
Although the event officially began at 11:00, the local liquor laws required everyone to wait until 12:00 to pour. Someone shouted “ 11:59” the minute before and then it was “12:00, You can pour wine!”
My schedule only allowed me one day at the festival, but it was well worth the drive down Maryland’s rural eastern shore. The folks who run the fest have Southern hospitality down pat and welcome you with big smiles. The location of the event, right on the water at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, was scenic and fascinating. Our tickets to the festival also included entry to the museum’s exhibits. I climbed up a furnished 19th century lighthouse and got a fantastic view of the water and the festival.
Two large tents are set up where the wineries pour. There is also cheese sampling from a quality local producer Firefly Farms. My husband and I always take some of their fresh goat’s milk cheese home with us.
This festival has terrific speakers, but the supply of public tickets is unfortunately very limited. I arrived half an hour early for the first speaker, the Wine Coach, and was already too late. As the day wore on, I began to think that I could only get into one seminar due to the long wait. I choose to hear Danielle Cyrot, winemaker at Napa Valley’s St. Clement Winery, voted Best Boutique Winery two years in a row. She was a delight—young, upbeat, and informative. Her seminar focused on tasting the four Cabernet Sauvignons that comprise the blend of their signature wine, Orropas. As Danielle described the topography of each of the different vineyards, I imagined myself in California hiking in the vineyards again. I later introduced myself to Danielle, who was quite gracious. Hope I have the opportunity to visit her winery one day.
After the seminar, my husband and I strolled the tents and took time to chat with both the exhibitors and attendees. At the Lockwood booth, we drank Syrah and debated with another wine lover just who sang Que Sera, Sera….one I-Phone search later and we had the answer: Doris Day in an Alfred Hitchcock Film.
At the festival’s end, my husband and I scampered down the shore to soak our tired feet in the cool water of the Chesapeake. It had been a hot, fun time at the St. Michael’s Food and Wine Festival on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to let you know that after reading your blog, I began searching to see if st.michaels would be having a wine festival this year, and there is one scheduled toward the end of April. Check out for details. Thanks for your very descriptive information about last year's winefest!