Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wine and Food highlights Blowing Rock's SAVOR festival

Biltmore Estate wines at SAVOR Blowing Rock's Grand Tasting.
Biltmore Estate was pouring its wines at the SAVOR Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 22.

By Dathan Kazsuk & Jennifer Primrose | April 26, 2017
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

Blowing Rock, North Carolina. A small town in Western Carolina that has a population of roughly 1,200 people. The town is host to annual events, such as its yearly Winterfest which draws in people for its Polar Plunge and wine tasting events. But the town is also home to the food and wine festival known as SAVOR Blowing Rock. Entering its 12th year, this 4-day extravaganza features a handful of food and wine seminars, wine tastings as well as a 5K and a Grand Tasting to end the numerous weekend events. SAVOR welcomes roughly 3,000 attendees each year to sip, savor and learn about the delicacies the event has to offer while taking in the serenity of this quaint mountain town.

Being the wine and beer fans that we are and having attended Winterfest a handful of times we decided it was time to check out this event. Unfortunately, with limited time, we had to plan carefully. So, after perusing the list of events, that range from wine, liquor and beer seminars to restaurant showcases and cooking demonstrations - all ranging from $28 to $125 per person - we finally settled on the Corkscrew and Brew 5K at Chetola Resort and the Grand Tasting event, both taking place on Saturday.

Related Story: Upcoming 19th Annual 2017 Blowing Rock Winterfest

Our adventures began on Friday, arriving in town a little after noon. We decided to head over to Grandfather Winery as we had only been once before and wanted to give it a second try before heading to the Alpine Village Inn to check into our room. GPS decided it would be a wonderful idea to take us on a route that included driving down a gravel mountain road as we prayed GPS would not let us down. We arrived safely and enjoyed our time sampling what Grandfather Winery has to offer. 

Grandfather Winery, Banner Elk, NC

After checking into the Alpine Village Inn and being surprised with a free bottle of wine for staying two nights, we checked out the schedule of evening activities and decided to head over to Sunset and Vine wine shop for a free wine tasting and then to the Sip and Shop Downtown - which featured 21 shops along Blowing Rock's Main Street pouring samples of wine while you shop between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

We had a great time at Sunset and Vine chatting with the distributors and Christina from Shelton Vineyards. Next, we headed to Main Street to see what the shops were offering. Unfortunately, we found the Sip and Shop a little disappointing, as many of the shops we checked into were not pouring any wine. We didn't go into every shop, but of the 6 or so we went into, only half had wine or drink readily available for its patrons. The plus is that we discovered some shops we had not yet had the opportunity to check out on our previous visits. We decided to end the night with dinner at Blowing Rock Brewing Company.

Christina with Shelton Winery pours wine inside Sunset and Vine wine shop.
Related Story: Brewery ProfileBlowing Rock Brewing Company

We thought about calling this next section, 'What were we thinking?,' but decided against it. For some reason that we can't quite figure outnot only did we decide to sign up for the Corkscrew and Brew 5K, but also decided to select the beer/wine option because that is what non-runners do. Sign up for a 5K - in the mountains - while drinking. Bucket list item - CHECK! Would we do it again? Probably. To read more about our adventures, check out our Corkscrew blog.

Related Story: SAVOR: Corkscrew and Brew 5K at Chetola Resort

Drinking wine and beer at 9 a.m. while jogging a 5K in the mountains ... it was a bucket list.
We spent the afternoon at the Grand Tasting, held on April 22, that offered patrons an opportunity to sample close to 100 different wines from around the state and U.S. The event also featured other small businesses and distillers who were pouring samples of their favorite poisons.

Some N.C. businesses included Banner Elk Winery, Linville Falls Winery, Crude Bitters, Call Family Distillers, Covington Vodka, Ugga Mugga Bakery and others. While some of the big names in distributors such as The Country Vintner, Fine Wine Trading and Advintage touted some great wines from California and the West Coast.

All in all, we had a great time at our first SAVOR Blowing Rock and look forward to future events and visits to one of our favorite small NC towns.