Sipping Through May
Enjoy wine tastings, beer festivals and other fine events.
From the huge Atlanta Food and Wine Festival to Cinco de Mayo parties and the American Craft Beer Week fests in East Atlanta and Dunwoody, May is offering up an array of wine, food, beer and spirits tastings and dinners welcoming the summer months ahead. Other choices include the Smyrna Wine Stroll, the Blues, Brews and BBQ in Piedmont Park, a beer breakfast in Decatur, “Eats and Beats” in Buckhead, and two outdoor arts events in Duluth and Dunwoody, just to point out a few.
May 1 – “What’s Up With Wine Down Under -- Australian Wines” is the theme of a wine seminar and an eight-glass wine tasting starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in The Kroger Bristot in the Johns Creek Kroger Store. First, an hour-long seminar overviews modern Australian wines. Secondly, everyone adjourns, goes next-door to Pearl’s Restaurant for the wine tasting. The restaurant and the Kroger Store are in the commercial plaza on Old Alabama Road. Call 770-751-7384 for reservations.
May 1 – The Red Sky Tapas and Bar in Marietta is where It’s Our Time Woman’s Group meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday for a “Women and Wine” party. The organization is a women’s support group that meets monthly for a celebration of good food, wine and friendship.
May 2 – The National Restaurant in Athens hosts at 7 p.m. Wednesday a Portuguese Wine dinner served with specially prepared Portuguese food courses. The Five Points Bottle Shop and Atlanta’s Artisan Vines Distributing is joining the restaurant and offering wines from the vineyards of Quinta Nova, Monte da Raves Queira and Vale D’ Algares.
May 4-6 – Duluth’s “Barefoot in the Park” Fine Arts Market kicks-off at 7 p.m. Friday in the Town Green with the gala “Carnevale,” a festival in the Italian tradition offering food from local restaurants accompanied by wines and beer. There is a $60 admission charge for “Carnevale.” Admission to Barefoot is free Saturday and Sunday with the exception of the six wine tastings. Four are scheduled Saturday and two on Sunday. A $10 donation is required for each one. Sponsors say the tastings and seminars will explore domestic, Spanish, South American and organic wines. Visitors may stop at 60 exhibition tents and enjoy food, music, children’s activities, dance, and theater in addition to artistic creations for sale.
May 4-5 – Cinco de Mayo, that huge anniversary celebration of a Mexican military victory over the French, begins ramping up with special Cuatro de Mayo events beginning Friday afternoon. Given that May 5 is Saturday, one can correctly guess that record amounts of tequila and Mexican beer will flow freely throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are too many parties to list in this article so telephone your favorite Mexican eatery and ask what they offer. Pure Taqueria in Duluth will be roasting a pig and selling Margaritas, tequila, beer, and wine under a tent starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. The tent will go up after 7 p.m. Friday to start the celebration early.
May 5 – A seven-year anniversary party from 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Marietta Wine Mart will feature wines with sevens in their names. Look for Seven Deadly Zins, Seven Artisans Winery, Seven Hills and the Seventh Moon Wineries. This popular beverage shop is just off the square in downtown Marietta. Admission is by charity donation.
May 5 – Frogtown Cellars near Dahlonega hosts a Lobster Fest at the winery beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday. There is alfresco dining, free lobster bibs to go with the cooked crustaceans, desserts and a lengthy offering of Frogtown’s many award-winning wines. Reservations required.
May 6 – A special party begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the Whole Foods Briarcliff. A free glass Growler container will go to to any customer purchasing a Growler full of beer. The party marks the first Sunday the store may legally sell alcoholic beverages. The new Growler Bar also offers a free beer tasting from 1-4 p.m. When you purchase take-home beer between 12:30-9 p.m. you get the free 64-ounce container, comlete with a screw top to retain carbonation.
May 7 – Time for the “Eats & Beats” Party at The Buckhead Theater from 7-9:30 p.m. Monday where 25 chefs from Atlanta’s top restaurants will serve up gourmet fare. Festivities include a special VIP Sommelier wine tasting and a “chefs band” whose members are local chefs and musicians. The event raises money selling the Diner & A Cause Cards. The cards offer 20 percent discounts on restaurant meals and benefit the Children of Conservation charity.
May 8 – The Perimeter Mall Total Wine & Spirits store offers a $25 course for “Polished Wines of the Piedmont” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Seating is limited, but if you attend, there will be upwards of 15 red and white Italian wine -- everything from sweet Moscatos to hearty Barolos and Barbarescos.
May 10 – Chocolate Perks Cafe on Main Street in Duluth is regularly scheduling wine tastings the second Thursday of each month. The next event takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and features “Wines of Spring and Summer,” those lighter red varieties and white wines. Look for a white Bordeaux, an Italian Soave, a Rose' and more. Admission is $20.
May 10 – Guests may enjoy “Wines of Italy” starting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Atlanta Wine MeetUps new Wine Xplorer tasting room on Dunwoody Village Parkway. Organization membership is free but there is admission charge for events.
May 10-13 – The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is part huge party and part gastronomic blow out with a series of celebrity chef events, cooking classes, cocktail mixology, two days of wine and spirits seminars and tastings centered around the Lowe's Atlanta Hotel on Peachtree Street. Look for spirits, beers, wine and fine food getting served and poured underneath tents behind the U.S. Federal Reserve Building at 10th and Peachtree streets. Organizers plan it as a celebration of Southern food culture.
May 12-13 – The Tiger Mountain Winery near Clayton opens its newly refurbished Red Barn Cafe this weekend. Special lunches and dinners are planned. All of Tiger Mountain’s award-winning wines are going to be served to guests coming to enjoy food, music, and tour the winery and tasting room. Years ago the Ezzard family operated a dairy farm on the property. The big red dairy barn has a new patio, large and small dining rooms on the ground level and above in the old loft.
May 12-13 – The Dunwoody Arts Festival will see Chamblee-Dunwoody Road closed to traffic north of Mount Vernon Road from 2 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday. Workers will start errecting over 100 artists and entertainment booths and tents around Dunwoody Village where musicians, food vendors, artists and craftsmen, and children’s entertainers are going to hold forth. The festival begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and is expected to attract over 15,000 people. Wine, beer and martinis will be served along with other beverages.
May 12 – The 10th Annual Dunwoody Beer Festival’s exhibition booths and music stage will take over most of the north end of the Perimeter Mall parking lot from 2-7 p.m. Saturday. Organizers promise over 150 beers “and liquors” guests may sample while strolling about listening to musicians on the ROCK 100.5 FM music stage. The Dunwoody Restaurant Group is the food vendor. What is great is that there is no need to drive to arrive. The MARTA subway station is next door. If coming by vehicle is necessary, pick a designated driver or go to the www.dunwoodybeerfest.com website and sign up for the safe driver program. Another option is staying overnight in a nearby hotel and attending the Dunwoody Arts Festival the next day.
May 12 – Hinton’s Wine Store in Alpharetta is offering a tasting of Spanish wines from a leading importer Eric Soloman Selections from 3-5 p.m. For $15 per person, guests in the Bin 75 Tasting Room may sample the Val De Sil Codello ’06, the Framona Gessami Blanco ’10, the Izadi Rioja Reserva 2006 Tempranillo, the ‘09 Flor De Vetus red blend. and the $40 Villacreces Crianza ’06.
Mother's Day events abound this Sunday, May 13, the time we honor the ladies who gave us life, raised and nourished us. On this important holiday, restaurants far and wide plan special Mothers Day lunches, brunches and dinners -- far too many to list here in this column.
May 13 – Go to downtown Decatur where The Brick Store Pub, in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society, celebrates “Women and Beer” starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. The festivities acknowledge ladies who brew, Mother's Day, and American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20) all at once. Bring your Mom. Lady brewers from Georgia and Mississippi are producing some of the specially featured tap beers. There are home brewing demonstrations, a Mother's Day Beer created for this event, desserts made and served with beers, a women’s charity fundraiser and much more. Reservations are a good idea.
May 16 – “The Best of Napa and Sonoma Wines” features a selection of at least eight red and white vintages presented from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the Dal Coure Humble Italian Restaurant in Johns Creek. The cost is $20 per person. The nine-month-old restaurant is next door to the Dal Coure Market, which sells wine and food.
May 17 – Between 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday the Salud! Cooking School in the Harry’s Whole Foods Market on Upper Hembree Road in Alpharetta offers an Italian wine course and tasting titled “Splendors of Piedmont.” It is designed to “introduce students to the region, which has been called the Bordeaux of Italy, and explain why it holds it’s eminent position among the fabled” wines of the world, according to Shannon Marsh of Harry’s. Cost is $44. Guests may sample wines made from Cortese, Moscato Asti, Bargbara, Brachetto, Dolcetto and Firiesa grapes.
May 19 – Beer for breakfast? Why not. Decatur’s Brick Store Pub hosts from 8 a.m.-noon its 2012 Yard Sale Breakfast serving pancakes and beer, other foods, along with selling “tons of old glassware and other goodies from the beer vault.” It all coincides with American Craft Beer Week. The beer list shows brews named “Espresso,” “Mokah,” “Java” plus other beers produced by Sweetwater and Terrapin Brewing with names like “Mean Joe Bean” and “Wake and Bake.”
May 19 – The 7th Annual Smyrna Wine Stoll from 2-5 p.m. in the Smyrna Market Village, organized by The Wine Cellars, one of metro area’s top wine bars and shops, offers guests 60-plus domestic and imported vintages in a not-to-be-missed wine fest. Considering the extensive wine varieties, the food vendors, and the $40 admission, this gem of a wine show is a true bargain. With the closure of the late, great, Atlanta wine show Wine South, Wayne and Renee Rowe, The Wine Cellars owners, successfully created a mini-sized outdoor Wine South. Market Village restaurants stepped in, set-up food tables in front of their venues around the two-block area. This makes it easy to leisurely stroll between the 10-13 wine tables regardless of the Saturday crowds. The Smyrna Public Safety Foundation is the event’s charity.
May 19 – The 9th Annual East Atlanta Beer Fest begins pouring suds for guests from 1-6 p.m. Saturday in Brownwood Park, located in the East Atlanta Village area off Moreland Avenue south of I-20. Organizers promise over 150 craft and micro brewed beers served in souvenir pint glasses along with live music, food trucks and restaurant exhibitors. Expect plenty of swag, that beer fest staple. Organizers sell VIP admissions that cost more than regular ticket prices but allow holders to enter earlier, sample more! Drink responsibly.
May 19 – Parmans Fine Wines and Spirits is holding its second monthly wine tasting from 4-6 p.m. Saturday in the Sandy Springs commercial mall at the corner of Abernathy and Roswell Road. Guests may sample eight wines from Peirano Estates, a Lodi, CA, winery founded in 1895. The Peirano wines include their Viogner, Chardonnay, a Muscat Canelli, a Merlot, and a Tempranillo. Peirano also produces three blended wines named “The Other” Red, “The Other” White and “Immortal” Zinfandel which are exceptionally nice. I have tasted most of them. Continental Beverage Corp. in Marietta is the distributor. For the $10 per-person admission, guests get to sample food and snacks. Parmans holds tastings next-door in Ippolito’s Italian Restaurant where the staff is most happy to offer their regular menu specialties.
May 23 – The Inman Park Barcelona Wine Bar on North Highland Avenue has scheduled a $40 per person Food and Wine Pairing Class beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Offered are six wines from Spain, Germany and Argentina, including a sparkling Spanish Cava. Wines will be paired with foods such as Red Snapper Tiradito, Fried Green Tomatoes, Plquillo Pepper Marmalada and other tasty treats.
May 27 – The 3B fest is back! Atlanta’s Fifth Annual Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival offers continuous concerts featuring four bands, heaping plates of Southern BBQ and ice cold beer from 2-11 p.m. Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. All takes place under the big air-conditioned tent at Midtown’s Park Tavern located on the corner of Tenth Street and Monroe Drive.