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Tickets for the Hill Country Wine and Food Fest on Sale Now

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Photo: texaswineandfood / Flickr

Tickets for the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, which runs from March 31 to April 3, are on sale now. They're changing things up a bit this year, with more events happening in town, famous people (Kyle MacLachlan! Josh Ozersky! Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from Los Angeles' Animal!) and a 26% discount for the first 500 tickets sold to the culminating event, the Sunday Fair. So get on it: tickets will go super fast. Check out the full schedule below.

Thursday, March 31

Savor the Hill Country Luncheons Fall Creek Vineyards, Stone House Vineyard, Becker Vineyards Noon – 2 pm $65
There’s no place like the Texas Hill Country in the spring, and at each of these three wineries, wildflowers run riot creating the perfect backdrop for the vines. Each winery has a unique and special setting in which to enjoy a leisurely multi-course luncheon. Well-known Texas chefs will create delicious dishes paired to Texas wines. Both host and guest winemakers will discuss their wines and their unique experiences as winemakers in Texas. Always one of our most popular events, these lunches sell out fast!

Stars Across Texas Classic The Long Center for the Performing Arts 7 – 10 pm $100
Enjoy an evening under the stars while you savor the signature dishes of some of Texas’ best known restaurants and taste the showcase wines of Texas wineries and guest wineries from around the country as well as the new wave of artisan spirits. The Stars Across Texas Classic is considered one of the premier wine, food and spirits events in Texas. On the banks of Lady Bird Lake with a stunning view of downtown Austin, The Long Center is an exquisite backdrop to the premier culinary talent of Texas’ top chefs and some of the nation’s finest wines and spirits. New this year, Stars of the Bar: Maker’s Mark Craft Cocktail Competition will feature Central Texas’ top mixologists who will craft original cocktails to compete for Maker’s Mark Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival’s official cocktail of 2011. Join the revelry and sample the competing cocktails
as the star judging panel sips its way to determine the top Stars of the Bar.

Friday, April 1

Winemaker Luncheons The Driskill Grill at the Driskill Hotel & Aquarelle Restaurant Franc?ais Noon – 1:30 pm $75
Chef-inspired cuisine paired with outstanding wines along with the unique opportunity to meet and dine with esteemed winemakers will set the stage for a delightful lunch. Your choice of two luncheons hosted at two of Austin’s most-loved restaurants. Chef Jonathan Gelman of The Driskill Grill will host award-winning winemaker Genevieve Jannsen of Robert Mondavi Winery. Chef Theresa Wilson of Aquarelle Restaurant Franc?ais will pair an exquisite menu as host to Theresa Heredia from Freestone Vineyards and Joseph Phelps Winery.

Josh Ozersky’s Burger & Beef Seminar AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 11:30 am – 1 pm $60
TIME magazine columnist and James Beard-winning meat expert Josh Ozersky will lead this unique, “everything you need to know” seminar on the history of the burger, burger cooking techniques, the art of the burger blend and burger flavors. You’ll taste three American regional burgers as well as
a comparison tasting of beef cuts to identify the flavor nuances and then a blend for an unforgettable burger tasting experience. All attendees will receive Josh Ozersky’s book, The Hamburger: A History (Icons of America).

Pasture to Plate: Beef Butchery (Industry & Media Only) The Carillon Restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Gain a greater appreciation of the beef on your plate! Not just for the serious carnivore but also those interested in learning more about beef from pasture to plate. With Texas being the most renowned beef market in the nation, you’ll learn how and why Texas beef has achieved legendary status. Russell Woodward of the Texas Beef Council will demonstrate basic butchering and discuss cuts, uses, cooking times and seasonings for beef.

Sake & Sushi Panel Tasting Uchiko 1–2:30 pm $65
One of Austin’s hottest new restaurants, Uchiko, led by nationally recognized Chef Tyson Cole, will be the venue for this exceptional sake and sushi pairing seminar. Experts will share insights into how sake is made, how to identify and enjoy a great sake and how to make just the right sushi selections to complement your sake choices.

Robert Mondavi Reserve Tasting Sullivan’s Steakhouse 3 – 4:30 pm $85
Robert Mondavi’s original vision was to produce wines from Napa Valley that would stand in the company of the world’s finest wines. In this extraordinary reserve tasting led by the award-winning Robert Mondavi winemaker Genevieve Jannsen, you’ll experience the elegance, harmony and balance that Mondavi envisioned when he founded the winery in 1966.

Cigar Smoker & Whiskey Slam Cedar Street Courtyard 3:30 – 5 pm $40
So we know that hanging out in a sultry bar, puffing on exquisite cigars and slamming back premium whiskey in the midst of downtown Austin’s lively entertainment district isn’t for everyone but, then again, maybe it should be. Discover and enjoy the finer points of cigar smoking with a selection of bold and elegant cigars as you sip (or slam) a variety of whiskey libations. One of the Festival’s most popular events returns for an unforgettable experience indulging in three of life’s luxuries — cigars, whiskey and good company.

Cured: A Charcuterie & Wine Tasting AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 3:30 – 5 pm $45
Charcuterie, the alchemy of transforming meat by salting, curing, smoking and preserving has become one of the nation’s hottest artisan trends, and Central Texas purveyors are creating some of the finest in the land. We will showcase some of the best of the best in the way of salamis, pa?te?s, terrines and cured delicacies in this tasty and informative seminar. Going beyond the normal pairing of simple rustic wines, you’ll experience new taste sensations with fortified and fine wines deliciously paired with local artisan charcuterie.

Live Fire! Beef Supremacy Over Flames Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch 6:30 – 9 pm $75
Showcasing some of the nation’s smokin’ rising-star chefs and international grilling experts, it’s all about beef and flames as these masters of fire showcase unique beef preparations—all in the dazzling surroundings of the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch. Live music, premium wines, spirited cocktails and up-close interaction with fired-up chefs promises an evening filled with spark and sizzle. Join NYC Cochon 555 champion Brad Farmerie of the Public Restaurant in New York City, Australia’s Outback Chef & Cookbook Author Andrew Dwyer, Andy Ricker of the acclaimed Asian street food eatery Pok Pok in Portland, OR, Rodney Muirhead of Podnah’s Pit in Portland along with some of the best chefs in Texas like Aaron Franklin of the white-hot Franklin’s BBQ in Austin, Rene Ortiz of La Condesa, Scott Roberts of the legendary Salt Lick BBQ, Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants in San Antonio, John Bullington of the Alamo Drafthouse, Rebecca Rather of Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredricksburg, Lou Lambert of Lamberts Downtown BBQ and Aimee Olson of Le Cordon Bleu in Austin.

Saturday, April 2

Craft Beer & Cheese – An Uncommon Pairing AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 10:30 am – 12 pm $35
Beer and cheese? The idea of the twosome is odd for many to swallow when in fact the marriage of beer and cheese has sparked a gastronomic revolution challenging wine’s supremacy as the cheese pairing beverage of choice. Beer and cheese pairings go way back to the Middle Ages to Belgium monasteries that produced exceptional beers and cheeses. With both being farmhouse products and having similar origin – grass/grain – they share common characteristics in both aroma and flavor with the carbonation of beer lifting the palate and bringing out many nuances in cheese. World-renowned cheese expert Cathy Strange of Whole Foods Market will guide this unique tasting bringing together artisan cheeses and a selection of Central Texas’ new and popular craft brews.

Spotlight on Texas Wines & Winemakers Hyatt Regency Downtown 11:30 – 1:30 pm $65
Join Austin’s June Rodil, Beverage Director of David Bull’s acclaimed new restaurant ‘Congress’ for an in-depth Texas wine pairing session. Rodil, a former ‘Texas Best Sommelier’ most recently won the ‘Wine Ride for the Perfect Pairing.’ Participants will be led on an exciting journey through the Texas terrior and will have a close-up view of Texas pairings, with farm- to-table dishes created by the Hyatt Regency Downtown’s Chef Kevin Dee. Guests will also enjoy the rare opportunity to get all of their wine questions personally answered by June and these accomplished Texas winemakers.

The Art of Blending with Rodney Strong Vineyards The Carillon Restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center Noon – 1 pm $45
Winemakers rely on blending different grapes to add greater complexity to the flavor and texture of wines and few have mastered the art of blending like Rodney Strong Vineyards, one of the pioneers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry. You’ll discover how this world-class winery finesses the art of blending and by tasting each of five varietals separately, you’ll gain an understanding as to what the winemakers see and expect from each component as they demonstrate how the addition or omission of
any one of the components dramatically influence the final blend.

Champions of Walla Walla The Carillon Restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 1 – 2 pm $50
A not-to-be-missed retrospective tasting celebrating the upcoming release of Walla Walla’s Spring Valley Vineyard’s 10th vintage of its flagship and acclaimed wine, Uriah. You’ll enjoy select vintages showcasing the past, present and future
of this landmark wine and Spring Valley Vineyard, one of Washington’s most unique wine estates The winery has produced notable estate-grown and bottled red wines since the 1999 inaugural release of Uriah, a Merlot-based, red blend named for founder Uriah Corkrum, that has been named to the Wine Spectator’s “Top 100” list four times. Join Winemaker Serge Laville and Uriah’s great-great- granddaughter Kate Derby Raymond as they guide this tasting tour through the rich history of Spring Valley, dating back to the late 1800s, through to the future with a selection of varietal component wines sourced from new vineyard blocks.

Australia Unleashed: Fine Wines & Rogue Cookery Whole Foods Market Culinary Center 2 – 3:30 pm $55
Discover the sophisticated and dynamic cuisine of Australia’s renowned Outback chef, cookbook author and television personality Andrew Dwyer whose food and wine expeditions into Australia’s remote heartland has secured him iconic status. With recipes that are robustly road tested, who would have thought one could cook Lemon Chicken with Couscous or Chocolate Almond Figs Poached
in Port over a campfire in the desert wilderness of the world’s second most remote region? The recipes not only work superbly well in Outback Australia but also can be transferred to the home kitchen with ease. Embrace the Australian wilderness and enjoy astonishing flavors and premium Australian wines as Chef Andrew takes you on a tasty journey of the remarkable and vast Outback.

Big Dog Reds III Forks Steakhouse 2:30 – 4 pm $75
A popular walk-around tasting with food provided by III Forks’ Jaime Guttierrez, Big Dog Reds showcases those monster Cabernets (and the like) that often populate steakhouse wine lists. Visit with the winemakers and owners who craft these wines and be prepared to go home with purple lips!

Star Power: An Evening with Kyle MacLachlan & Animal Restaurant Courtyard at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center 8 – 10:30 pm $150
Best known for his roles in cult films such as Blue Velvet and television series roles in Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City and the new IFC television series Portlandia, Kyle MacLachlan joined forces with one of Washington state’s premier winemakers, Eric Dunham, to launch Pursued by Bear, a small-production cabernet sauvignon. Join MacLachlan with 2009 Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of LA’s Animal Restaurant, a James Beard finalist for Best New Restaurant in 2010 and acclaimed chefs Josh Watkins of The Carillon and David Bull of Congress for a dinner under the stars and in the company of these culinary and celebrity stars.

Sunday, April 3

Sunday Fair — An Eclectic Urban Celebration of Food, Wine & Spirits Mexican American Cultural Center in Downtown Austin 1 – 5 pm $45
In this grand finale to the 2011 Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, wines from Texas and around the world, local and global spirits, food tastings, artisan products and chef demonstrations come together for this premier tasting on the splendid grounds of the Mexican American Cultural Center. Situated on the banks of Lady Bird Lake, steps away from the thriving and hip restaurants and bars on Rainey Street, with downtown Austin as a pristine backdrop, you’ll enjoy all things delicious and enticing about the wine and food scene
in Central Texas. Live music, famed chefs, renowned winemakers and craft brewers help make this one of Austin’s most celebrated outdoor parties.
ThiS evenT iS noT reCoMMended for anyone under 21. aLL evenTS are SuBJeCT To ChanGe or CanCeLLaTion

· All Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]

Fall Creek Vineyards [Driftwood]

18059 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, Texas 78619 Visit Website