Wine Wanderlust Guide: May 2018

This month, check out wine and food festivals in California, Massachusetts and New Jersey, or try your hand at live bidding on collectible wines at a prestigious Washington, D.C., tasting fundraiser. Plus, a new Portland wine lounge opens in partnership with Oregon's Domaine Serene
Wine Wanderlust Guide: May 2018
During the Paso Robles Wine Festival, local wineries like Terry Hoage Vineyards, pictured here, welcome visitors to try their wines. (Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance)
Apr 27, 2018

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Domaine Serene Wine Lounge Opens at Sentinel

Studio 3 Inc
The Domaine Serene Wine Lounge at Sentinel is accessible via the hotel's lobby and Alder Street entrance in downtown Portland.

Oregon wine producer Domaine Serene—which earned a spot in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2016 and 2013—opened the Domaine Serene Wine Lounge at Sentinel in Portland’s Sentinel Hotel on April 13.

The goal, according to a statement from Domaine Serene president Ryan Harris, is to bring the winery's rare and collectible bottlings to traveling wine connoisseurs and their Portland-based wine club members, “who can’t always make time to visit the Clubhouse at Domaine Serene,” which is in the Willamette Valley town of Dayton, about an hour away.

Three tasting flights are available: The Estate flight features a rosé and two Pinot Noirs from the winery’s Oregon estates; the Santenay, Burgundy flight includes a Chardonnay and two Pinot Noirs from Domaine Serene's sister estate in Burgundy, Château de la Crée; the 45th Parallel flight offers a pair of Chardonnays and a pair of Pinot Noirs, one each from Oregon and Burgundy. There’s also a by-the-glass list and a rotating library selection available in 2- or 5-ounce pours. Check out the new tasting room.

Journeys in Wine and Food

Ready for the next adventure? Look for these wine travel experiences this May.


Two festivals this month celebrate the wines of Mendocino County's Anderson Valley and the Central Coast region of Paso Robles.

All things Pinot Noir The Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival takes place May 18–20 at Camp Navarro, a campground known for its redwoods. For Pinot Noir obsessives, there's an all-day technical conference where hard-core wine lovers can geek out with winemakers about crop yields and microbiomes ($100 per person). And there are more social outings, like the Casual BBQ at Husch Vineyards with live music on Friday evening ($65–$75), or the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon, where 50 producers share their Pinots as small bites are offered ($150). For some of the events, "Designated Driver" tickets are available at discounted prices. There will be both a silent and a live auction, with proceeds benefiting the Anderson Valley Health Center.

Stay the night Attendees have the opportunity to stay in cozy cabins or glamping teepees to soak in the Anderson Valley’s rugged beauty. Get more information.

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
The 36th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival will bring together more than 70 wineries at the Downtown City Park for the Grand Tasting.

Take it downtown The long-running Paso Robles Wine Festival brings together more than 70 wineries May 17–20 to showcase the appellation’s diversity in Paso Robles’ downtown City Park, with a Saturday Grand Tasting ($70–$145) of Zinfandels, Rhône-style wines, Bordeaux-style blends and more, all made in the Paso Robles region. Expect live music and local food, too.

Narrow the focus Try area wines paired with food from local farms with a Thursday winemaker dinner at Thomas Hill Organics restaurant featuring producers like Adelaida and Eberle ($125). Or start Saturday morning off at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom with a winemaker seminar on the classic characteristics of the region’s wines ($25).

Visit the vineyards The real stars here are the local wineries themselves, and more than 100 are working with the festival to offer vineyard tours, tastings, meals and happy hours. Get the full listing and ticket prices.


White Elephant
The harborside White Elephant hotel will host Nantucket Wine & Food Festival events.

The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival began in 1996 as a one-day wine tasting; it has since morphed into a five-day, island-chic affair with an impressive lineup of parties, lunches, dinners, seminars and walk-around tastings. This year's events run May 16–20.

A personal touch The Great Wines in Grand Houses events offer a five-course meal or 90-minute tasting with a vintner, preceded by a Champagne toast, in private, often historic homes. Participating wineries include Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Chappellet, Il Poggione and Christian Moreau Père & Fils, among others. Ticket prices range from $125–$1,295 per person.

Waterfront wine The festival takes advantage of Nantucket's island location, with an elegant kickoff gala ($260–$325) on Thursday, May 17, bringing 40 chefs and 40 winemakers together at the harborside White Elephant hotel, also the site of the Saturday and Sunday Grand Tastings ($125–$210) with 150 wineries pouring a total of 600 wines. Or enjoy a Friday bluegrass brunch overlooking Jetties Beach followed by a casual day at the Culinary Village ($100 combined), with cooking demonstrations, food and drink samples and more live music.

Local support The festival’s charity foundation supports Nantucket nonprofit and community organizations, including a local high-school culinary scholarship. Get tickets.

New Jersey

Crystal Springs Resort
The Crystal Springs Clubhouse will host the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival’s Grand Tasting.

The New Jersey Wine & Food Festival is back for its 10th year, from May 4–6, at the Crystal Springs Resort, home of Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Restaurant Latour.

Big year, bigger lineup Showcasing 12 featured winemakers and more than 50 chefs, the festival boasts a larger lineup than ever before, with winemakers attending from California, France, Italy and Uruguay. In addition to guests of honor Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, the roster includes notable chefs like Michael White of the Altamarea Group, plus Restaurant Award–decorated peers like Michel Desjardins of the Award of Excellence–winning Spuntino wine bars and David Felton of the Best of Award of Excellence–winning Ninety Acres.

Fine dining (and fitness) Events are starting to sell out, but there are still opportunities to wine and dine all weekend, from the Chef’s Garden Dinner on Friday ($295) to the Sunday Champagne Brunch ($50), with golf and bocce tournaments and yoga sessions interspersed in between. Keep an eye out for Saturday’s Rosé All Day ($45), the Krug Vertical Tasting ($95) and the final Grand Tasting ($150). Here’s the full list of events and ticket prices.

A culinary cause All proceeds will go toward The Ment’or BKB Foundation, an organization that trains and funds culinary professionals to represent Team USA in the Bocuse d’Or competitions.

Washington, D.C.

The Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction is back May 9–12 in the capital for its annual four-day celebration to raise money for the American Heart Association.

Live bidding It starts with the Congress Has Heart rooftop reception ($200 per person) on Wednesday night, which includes a live auction of large-format bottles from American wineries. Friday’s Vintners Dinner & Auction ($1,000) showcases Château Margaux wines alongside a dinner crafted by chef Daniel Boulud, followed by an auction of Bordeaux wines direct from the châteaus’ cellars. The final Grand Tasting & Auction ($250) at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Saturday is an exuberant affair where guests can enjoy wine from California, France, New York and Oregon, and bid on luxurious travel and dining packages.

Embassy connections Thursday brings a selection of intimate dinners at ambassadors' residences, private homes and top area restaurants; a few still have seats available.

Saturday seminars You can also head to one of three seminars ($50 each) to compare bottlings of Champagne Henriot, taste “Around the World” with Bartholomew Broadbent or play a collaborative blind-tasting game with Think Food Group cofounder Rob Wilder. Get more info.

Collecting Auctions