Dayton’s Annual Premier Wine & Gourmet Food Festival is this Sunday afternoon, from 1-4pm at Carillon Park. Advance tickets are available for $60 at Arrow Wine, Cuvee, Rumbleseat and Bruning’s Wine Cellar, or you can purchase online and print your own ticket. If you’re waiting to see what the weather is like on Sunday, tickets will be available at the park for $70. Your ticket includes your tastes, a souvenir wine glass as well as a beer glass.
The original “Party in the Park” was the brain child of two friends, Vail Miller Sr. of Heidelberg and Mike Frank of Arrow Wine. With a mission of bringing wine out of just the wine cellars and homes of people to the general public, the idea of a wine festival was born. Now over twenty years later and with the second generation at the helm, Vail Miller Jr. and Mif Frank, Fleurs Et Vin has grown into a Miami Valley tradition.
With the support of over a dozen wine distributors, this years tasting list includes over 400 wines to be tasted. You can see it online if you’d like to plot your tasting strategy. A new addition this year is a selection of meads from Cavalier Distributing. Mead, also known as honey wine, is regarded as the oldest of fermented beverage(Learn more about mead from mixologist Brian Petro’s article Drinkable Honey.) The Belgian Beer Garden has expanded this year as well, featuring Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegarden, Duvell and Ommegang.
Music for your dining and drinking pleasure contemporary smooth jazz will be played by JT Fedrick and Sax Groove, back by popular demand from Fleurs 2011. The food at Fleurs et Vin is always spectacular, with returning restaurants like The Oakwood Club, Jay’s Seafood, Carvers, Coco’s and Hawthorne Grill competing to put out the best samples. Now that’s not to say that Neil’s Heritage House, Mamma DiSalvo’s, Scratch Event Catering, Brock Masterson’s, Meadowlark and Thai 9 won’t walk away with the best food of the fest this year. Restaurants like The Dock, Giovanni’s, Amber Rose and The Wine Loft always stand out for great eats and their decorative tables that give you a feel for their atmosphere. Newbies to the event this year include Serendipity Bistro and the soon to open Salar.
When you need to take a break from eating, be sure and stroll by the silent auction tables and place a bid or two. Some of the highlights this year include tickets to a Miami Heat basketball game, VIP tickets to a Conan taping, or ABC’s Mike & Molly, as well of lots of wine, theater tickets, spa packages and more. But get your bids in early, the silent auction will close down about 2:45. Ghost bidding will be available, for those of you who don’t want to waste your valuable tasting time at the auction table. Just allow one of our volunteers to place your bids up to your pre-set limit and enjoy the wine.
The best entertainment of the day is often the live auction, which begins at 4pm, after tasting tables are closed. A must for true wine collectors, the bottles up for bid are often incredibly rare. Register for a bidding paddle and you’ll be treated to sparkling wines and chocolates from Winans.
Whether you win the bidding or not, the big winner of the day is AIDS Resource Center Ohio, the beneficiary of Fleurs et Vin. Funds raised on Sunday will be used to provide medical care, comprehensive case management, housing, HIV testing & counseling, prevention education, linkage to care, education & advocacy in Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Health, young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 27 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the state in 2011 and that number is growing. “The HIV/AIDS epidemic has changed dramatically over the years, however we are beginning to see a second-wave of infection among young people who have never known a world free from the stronghold of HIV and so our response must evolve as well,” states Tyler TerMeer, ARC Ohio’s Prevention Director.