Therese’s Tasting Notes—
Your Local Guide to the Foothills Wine Scene…
By Therese Pope
Sample PlacerGROWN libations and tasty local cuisine at the 14th Annual Auburn Wine, Ale & Spirits Festival, October 7-9, 2016 hosted by the Placer County Wine and Ale Trails, Downtown and Old Town Business Associations, and PlacerGROWN.
Featuring locally produced wine, beer, and food, the Festival has expanded into a weekend-long event that celebrates the culinary and beverage delights of Placer County. According to co-chair Teena Wilkins of Viña Castellano Winery, they hope to make the Festival the premiere culinary event celebrating food, wine, and beer that is PlacerGROWN.
Enjoy four fun-filled events packed into three days! The Festival kicks off on Friday evening, October 7, in Downtown Auburn with a Crop-to-Table Top coursed wine and ale paired dinner and street dance with live music. Enjoy the Wine, Beer, and Food Festival on Saturday afternoon, October 8. Walk through Auburn shops tasting local wine and beer paired with mouthwatering food prepared by local restaurants. The Festival ends on Sunday, October 9, with a Brunch in the Street in Old Town.
The mission of the Festival is to highlight the local wine and culinary industries and to entice the public to Downtown and Old Town to check out what Auburn has to offer. Teena and her fellow committee members wanted to expand the event so it has a more meaningful draw to tourists and new audiences and markets.
“We have so much to offer as a community and I feel we are stronger when we work together,” said Teena. “I want to highlight the reality that we are not just a great place to live, but we are also a great place to visit and spend the weekend.”
The event began thirteen years ago by the Placer County Wine and Grape Growers Association and Teena is one of the founding members of the original Festival. She and Dr. Cari Thachuk Spencer have worked on the event for nine years and have co-chaired the event together for the past five years. Teena has served as the past president for both the Placer County Visitors Bureau and PlacerGROWN. She is also a a founding member of the Placer County Grape Growers Association and the Placer County Vintners Association.
The specific additions to the Festival have lingered in Teena’s brain for a while.
“A few years ago when they put the lights across the street in downtown on Lincoln Way, I envisioned a good old-fashioned street dance, like you see in old movies or in a romantic comedy set in a small town,” shared Teena. “I said that before I stepped down I was going to see that happen as a kick-off for the festival. Both Cari and I, as well as other past committee members, envisioned eventually having a winemakers or Farm to Fork Dinner in the street.”
As a result of their collective vision, they recruited local businesses to help make the three-day Festival a reality. PlacerGROWN’s Carol Arnold and Pat and Pete Enoch from Latitudes are in charge of the Crop-to-Table Top Dinner. Board veteran Peggy Seitzinger of Roper’s Jewelers will assist them with Friday’s dinner and dance. To round out the weekend, the committee decided to create a Sunday Brunch event in Old Town featuring local chefs (with Nell Curran of Bootleggers handling the Sunday brunch). Next year the dance will take place in Old Town and the Brunch will take place in Downtown and the plan is to swap locations each year.
Local business owners that have helped and supported the Festival over the years include:
- Ty Rowe and Nell Curran of Bootleggers
- Teri Gibson of the former Christmas Shoppe
- Select members of the Placer County Vintners Association
- Harvey Roper and Peggy Seitzinger of Roper’s Jewelers
- Treasurer Steve Galyardt of Vitas Insurance
New committee members this year include:
- Pat and Pete Enochs of Latitudes fame
- Courtney Gloor from Viña Castellano who is in charge of the restaurants
- Lisa Whittet of Auburn Needleworks who is in charge of the venues
- Jocelyn Maddux of Fork ‘N Road Productions
- Lone Buffalo Winery who is charge of breweries and wineries
“We want to eventually earn enough money from the Festival to start a fund that is specifically earmarked to market our destination as a true culinary tourist stop,” Teena explained. “We want to keep the local restaurants, breweries, and wineries not just open but give them the ability to continually improve their crafts. We also want to support the local business districts and help fund improvements for these businesses as well.”
The Festival offers a special military discount option for individual event tickets. You can also purchase a three-day discount ticket package for all four events and Designated Driver (food only) tickets are available.
Day of event tickets can be purchased at Herschel Young Park in Old Town and Central Square in Auburn. A free shuttle will ride between Downtown and Old Town and public parking is within walking distance of the events. See website below for ticket prices, and a list of participating restaurants, wineries, breweries, and local businesses.
For more information about the Auburn Wine, Ale & Spirits Festival and to purchase tickets online, visit their website http://auburnwinefestival.com/wine-food-festival-auburn-ca/
Therese Pope is a freelance writer who grew up in Auburn. Her love of wine runs through her veins (thanks to her Sicilian heritage) and believes you don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy wine. Her monthly blog series showcases the local foothills/Placer County wine scene. Therese’s writing background focuses on the food and beverage industries. You can read more of her specialty wine and beer articles at http://crushbrew.com/author/therese-pope .