This past weekend, Brenner's on the Bayou hosted its second Wine Fest. Encouraged by the fantastic response from the one held last year, Brenner's has decided to turn this into an annual event. Days before the weekend arrived, the event was completely sold out. At first I was a bit surprised that tickets would go so fast for an outdoor event, but after trying it out for myself this past weekend, I can understand the appeal.
As I reached Brenner's lush landscape, I was very happy to see that while the festival was thrumming with people and energy, it wasn't overly crowded. Nor did I ever have to wait an inordinate amount of time before having my wine glass refilled, which was a definite plus.
For a $65 entry fee, upon arrival guests were presented with an empty wine glass and a booklet listing the many participating wineries. Then it was a simply a matter of moseying down the stone pathways and asking attractive young women dressed in ruffled yellow dresses for samples.
Each winery brought two selections to choose from, which generally included a red and a white, though this varied to some degree. Interspersing the wine tents were food tents that had small samplings from Brenner's, including fat cocktail shrimp, cheesy flatbread, crisp paninis, rich brownies, and a chunky gazpacho that landed on my dress instead of my mouth. I'm not sure soup was the way to go at an event with few tables and many hills, but the food was still excellent.
A wide variety of wineries were represented. The booklets each guest received at the front were crucial for being able to remember which wines were favorites, though truly by the end of the afternoon, all the wines were tasting pretty darn good.
I enjoyed an Old Vine Zinfandel from the St. Francis Winery in particular. Smooth and mellow, it was a perfect wine to sip while sitting on the colorful blankets that studded the green lawns of the restaurant. Both the Pinot Noir and the Sauvignon Blanc from the Benziger Winery were excellent. Since this is now an annual event, I advise planning ahead and marking your calendars to spend an afternoon next April at Brenner's lovely Wine Fest.