wine guy wednesday
CultureMap Wine Guy Chris Shepherd uncorks 3 must-attend fall events — starting with Southern Smoke
Team!!!! Check out this list of wine events that are coming up soon! If you love wine (or if you love fun!), you must attend these killer events! Two are annual Houston events that I look forward to every year, and one is coming to Houston for the very first time. Mark your calendar.
I can’t wait to see you at all of these events coming up over the next month. These three events provide such cool opportunities for the city of Houston, so let’s get out and support them. Love you all!
Southern Smoke is back!
First on the docket and closest to my heart: Southern Smoke Festival on October 14 at Discovery Green.
Southern Smoke is a foundation that has granted more than $11 million to people in the food and beverage industry nationwide in their times of crisis. What does that mean? If that waiter that always takes care of you at your local restaurant gets hurt or gets sick or experiences a natural disaster or any other crisis, we take care of them by providing a financial grant to get them through.
We also provide access to free mental health care to food and beverage workers in Texas, Louisiana, California, Illinois, and New York. We provide grants to university psychology clinics, and they provide free mental health counseling to F+B workers. It’s a win/win across the board.
But these services aren’t free, which is why we’re throwing a huge party to raise money!
This year, we have more than 70 chefs from around the country coming in to cook, and we’ll be pouring amazing wines including Robert Sinskey, Hirsch, Miner, Lallier, Robert Mondavi Winery (To Kalon and Estate Vineyards baby!!!), Blackbird, June’s Rose, Pax, Cruse Wine Co, and more!
Little-known fact: [My beautiful wife] Lindsey and I started Southern Smoke to support a sommelier in need (looking at you, Antonio Gianola!), and we made a pact back then that we would always serve amazing wine at the festival. Trust me, we have kept our word.
General admission tickets are still on sale at www.southernsmoke.org. Let’s go!! Do something good for the people that take care of you when you need it the most!
A fancy fête for Champagne lovers and daydreamers
La Fête Du Champagne takes over Houston November 3 and 4 with multiple events going on in multiple places! Better get that ride share ready!
For all you Champagne lovers and daydreamers, you need to hold on, because this is awesome. Last year I saw an event that was in two cities only — New York and Los Angeles. I told [my beautiful wife] Lindsey that this year we are going to one of them, and I can’t tell you how excited I got when I found out La Fête Du Champagne is coming to Houston!! This event is truly magical for those of us that have that bubbly bug — what we think about every time we walk into the wine shop or open a wine list.
Before getting into the details, I asked the La Fete Du Champagne team why they’re coming to Houston.
"We are thrilled to take a taste of La Fete to Houston as it's a city known for having such a great wine and food scene,” executive director Jaime Dutton told me. “Over the years, we have had a loyal following of guests joining us at our various events in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and now we felt it was time to bring our festival and a great lineup of Champenois to Houston.
"We are thrilled to partner with chef Aaron Bludorn, Cherif Mbodji, and their team at Bludorn and Navy Blue, who [co-founder] Daniel Johnnes and Raj Vaidya know well from their time in New York at Café Boulud. It is also a pleasure to host another dinner with the team at Pappas as they hosted a dinner with us in 2019 and we have been working on getting back to Houston since then."
The weekend kicks off Friday, November 3 at Navy Blue with a lunch featuring Champagne Pierre Paillard! The Paillard family will be there to present six wines that showcase their terroir.
That night, hold on to your Champagne bucket hats for this one. Wait, did someone say CHAMPAGNE SALON AND DELAMOTTE????
Yeah, they did! During this dinner at Pappas Bros Steakhouse Downtown, you will get to taste Champagne from both houses and killer food from the team at Pappas. I’m in and this is just day one. Day 2 gets even better!
Saturday November 4 at Bludorn Restaurant, guests will get to try a selection of wines from all the producers and a selection of small bites from the team. As we know, the bites will be amazing like an oyster bar, octopus, and short ribs. Prepare yourself for this line up of wines — Billecart-Salmon, Delamotte, Larmandier-Bernier, Laurent-Perrier, Leclerc-Briant, Pierre Paillard, and Salon!
And then THERE IS A GALA DINNER! Luckily I just got my blue velvet smoking jacket in the mail. (Editor’s note: That is totally baller, Chris. Send us a link to add to cart?)
Bludorn is hosting the La Fête du Champagne gala dinner, where special bottlings will be tasted, and Aaron and chef de cuisine Chase Voelz are going to create an amazing menu for this spectacular event. Full disclosure, I just saw the menu and it’s gonna be baller!
Tickets are on sale for all the events at www.lafeteduchampagne.com. I would suggest that you don’t wait on this. I didn’t. I cannot thank them for hosting one in Houston and not making me travel to have this amazing experience.
All hail the Iron Somm!
If you can’t take all this wine excitement, then pass out now. (Editor’s note 2: CultureMap does not advise passing out while reading CultureMap.)
But, if you are ready for one more, here is one of my favorite wine events of the year: IRON SOMMELIER!! Held on November 9 at the Post Oak Hotel, this fantastic event benefits the amazing Periwinkle Foundation that develops and provides programs that positively change the lives of children, young adults, and families who are challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and are cared for at Texas Children’s Hospital.
I am a true believer in this foundation and attend every year. This event is chock full of good stuff from a seated dinner to a competition and tasting which brings together the city’s prestigious sommeliers that are competing for the title of Iron Sommelier!
There are so many wines to taste, an awesome auction and my favorite, a wine pull!! I love games of chance! This truly is a wonderful evening. Tickets are available at www.ironsommelier.org.
Contact our Wine Guy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Shepherd won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2014. The Southern Smoke Foundation, a nonprofit he co-founded with his wife Lindsey Brown, has distributed more than $11 million to hospitality workers in crisis through its Emergency Relief Fund. Catch his new TV show, Eat Like a Local, every Saturday at 10 am on KPRC Channel 2.