New in 2013: Tasting Room Sessions

If you love not only discovering new flavors and enjoying new wines but also exploring culinary trends by engaging in dialogue with knowledgeable tastemakers, then this year’s new Tasting Room Sessions will top your list of must-see happenings at the Fest. We’re giving you even more opportunities to expand your culinary repertoire and learn from industry insiders with a new, robust lineup of informative talks with a selection of wine experts, tastemakers, culinary craftsmen and more.

Indulge your culinary curiosity as you digest new information about innovative developments across a spectrum of food and beverage-related topics.


Charles Smith on the Charles & Charles Project

with Charles Smith and Charles Bieler

10:45 – 11:15 a.m.

Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils) – two friends, one goal: to pay tribute to France by making the best American rosé.

Altitude Matters

with Graham Weerts

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Join Stonestreet winemaker Graham Weerts for a blind tasting of high elevation wines from around the world. Uniquely armed with years of mountain winegrowing experience, Weerts will guide us through the challenges and rewards of growing these powerful, mineral-driven wines in vineyards high above the valley floor.

Social Media on the Plate: Sharing Takes On A New Meaning presented by Austin Food & Wine Alliance

with Natanya Anderson

12:45 – 1:15 p.m.

Sharing at the table in today’s social media-obsessed world no longer requires an additional fork. These days, sharing your meal usually involves a phone, an app like Instagram and some patient friends at your table as you snap, tweet and post your way to sharing every dish coming from the kitchen. Social Media guru and food blogger Natanya Anderson gives insight into how and why we’ve all taken to sharing our food adventures and what this means to chefs, restaurants and your next meal.

Why Washington?

with David ‘Merf’ Merfeld

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.

A discussion of how Washington State wine country was formed, what makes it special, from weather to terroir. Taste why you should be drinking Washington wines.

Urban Farming Grows Up presented by Austin Food & Wine Alliance

with David Pitre and Katie Kraemer Pitre

2:45 – 3:15 p.m.

From rooftop plots to corner farm stands, urban farming has taken root throughout the U.S. Is this the trend du jour or are consumers understanding the benefit and importance of food grown locally? David Pitre and Katie Kraemer Pitre of Tecolote Farm have experienced a 20-year evolution in the popularity of locally grown produce and urban farming. Ever expanding in their quest to bring locally grown organic foods to Austin, their next project brings produce to the doorsteps of low-income families — making urban and organically grown produce available to an even wider audience.


Apple Revolution: Ciders Trending Now presented by Austin Food & Wine Alliance

with Wes Mickel

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Argus Cidery, the first American Hard Cider crafted in Texas from apples produced by Texan growers and winner of a $10,000 Austin Food & Wine Alliance grant, is taking the lead on culinary innovation to plant a test orchard in Dripping Springs for experimentation of new apple varieties and rootstocks not grown in Texas, and will be the first Texas apple orchard using organic practices.

Mixing it up: Austin’s Craft Cocktail Scene presented by Austin Food & Wine Alliance

with David Alan

1:45 – 2:15 p.m.

From custom ice to handmade shrubs, exotic bitters and locally-produced spirits, Austin is becoming recognized for its spirited approach to craft cocktails. One of Austin’s most popular bartenders, David Alan (aka Tipsy Texan) will share insights and insider tips on Austin’s top cocktails and cocktail makers, along with new trends coming to a shaker near you.