Vine & Vittles: Beer and wine will go head to nose

By John Brown
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you have read this column before, you know that wine is the ultimate liquid accompaniment to just about every type of food known to man.Yet there are heathens out there who deign to suggest that beer is a more appropriate beverage to swill with our daily repast. Heresy, I know, but in an effort to put this issue to rest once and for all, some good folks in our fair city have suggested a contest where wine and beer will be pitted against each other in a five-course gourmet meal.This good old-fashioned throw-down will benefit FestivALL, the multiweek festival that has brought a plethora of top-notch musical entertainment to our region for the past several years. Here's the skinny on what we're calling "FeastivALL":On Feb. 23, FestivALL Charleston will host its first fundraiser, FeastivALL, a five-course gourmet dinner with a wine and beer pairing for each course.The event will take place at Berry Hills Country Club with food prepared by noted chefs Nick McCormick of Berry Hills Country Club and Tim Urbanic of Café Cimino in Sutton.A reception with a silent auction begins at 6 p.m. with dinner following. Guests will enjoy five courses, each paired with a craft beer and fine wine chosen by Charleston's top beverage consumers, Rich Ireland (beer) and yours truly (wine).
After each course, guests will vote for the beverage pairing they like better. By the end of the night, one will emerge the winner. (Is there really any question, Rich?)In the spirit of FestivALL, the night will be a celebration of artistic expression hosted by "Mountain Stage's" Larry Groce and featuring brief performances between courses. Guests will also get a first look at schedule highlights and headliners for FestivALL 2013.There will be a silent auction with items including a stay at Café Cimino Country Inn, high-end art by local vendors, autographed movie memorabilia from West Virginia celebrities and more.Tickets are $100 per person, $40 of which is tax-deductible. All donations above the ticket price are completely tax-deductible. Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase them online at or at Taylor Books (which adds a $2 sales fee). Call 304-389-4873 for additional information. Seating is limited so call today. All proceeds from the event will go toward FestivALL 2013, which will celebrate the arts, the city and West Virginia's 150th anniversary.Join me Saturday night in tastefully demonstrating the superiority of wine.For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's Vines & Vittles blog at
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