Gather ‘Round the Table
Family. Nothing quite captures the feeling of family better than everyone sitting at the table for a home-cooked meal. Relatives from near and far pass baskets of bread and bowls of vegetables. Children scamper from their seats, only interested in dessert. Some would say it’s a scene straight out of a Hallmark card when in reality it was the inspiration for a Terra Blanca tradition: the Winemaker’s Dinner.
With its humble beginnings many years ago, this annual get-together has always been a celebration of three of Keith and ReNae’s favorite things: food, wine, and family.
Though few people have come and gone over the years, many have stuck around, seeing the tasting room when it was Keith and ReNae’s dining room, the construction of new caves and facilities, and the current tasting room completed and thriving. They’ve been through it all, including some of the first Winemaker’s Dinners. Here’s a look back at what these honorary Pilgrims remember.
Before the current tasting room with its Tuscan Ballroom and sweeping vistas, the Winemaker’s Dinner was held in different venues around the Tri-Cities, including the Meadow Springs Country Club and Chez Chaz, and was catered by restaurants such as Blue Moon.
Jim and Connie Ostrander remember what those events were like. They have been ONYX Club members since 2004 and have attended the last 8 Winemaker’s Dinners.
“We’ve never been disappointed,” Connie said, describing the presentation, food, and service. “Even if we didn’t know Keith and ReNae and went to an event, we would still come back for more.”
She had many compliments about the wine pairings and food prepared by Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar, but when asked what her favorite memory of dinners past was, Connie could not pick just one. Instead, she described the overall experience.
“Every evening is always different, but our expectations are always met,” she said. “It’s always a magical atmosphere….Between the food, the wine,
and the presentation, it always feels like we’re pampered and welcomed like family.” Even among total strangers, as Connie later said, “We’ve sat with friends we already knew, and there were times we didn’t know anyone at the table. But we would end up being friends at the end of the night.”
Paul Rutland, also an ONYX Club member since 2004, seconded Connie’s sentiments. For a man whose wife Kim says he “never meets a stranger,” the Winemaker’s Dinner is the perfect opportunity to meet and mingle with friends old and new alike.
Unlike Connie, Paul could pick a favorite moment.
“My favorite [ONYX] dinner was the one served outside the [old] barrel cave doors,” he said.
The Winemaker’s Dinner has grown since then, expanding with Terra Blanca and upholding a tradition of excellence. This Saturday, Feb. 15, the tradition continues as Keith and ReNae welcome old friends and fresh faces alike at the 2014 Winemaker’s Dinner.
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. Join us for Red Wine and Chocolate Weekend, featuring chocolate and wine pairings! It’s this Saturday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Tasting Room.