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The first Winefest Des Moines event of 2014 is January 16

While the 12th Annual Winefest Des Moines doesn't kick off until May 31, the Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation has set up monthly educational wine flight events leading up to this year's festival. The first of those Ernst & Young Wine Flights will take place this Thursday, January 16 at 6 p.m. at South Union Bread Café. The event, Hidden Gems of the Wine World, will explore "some of the world's lesser-known wine producing regions and the grapes rooted in their history, climate, and cuisine." The event will feature "an impressive roster of wines from across the globe, offering all the complexity and character of mainstream names without the hefty price tag". Gateway Market's Certified Sommelier, Abbe Hendricks, will lead the discussion of the wines, and Centro will provide pizza for the event. Tickets are still available for $40 through MidwesTix.

South Union Bread Cafe will host Winefest's first event of 2014.
South Union Bread Cafe will host Winefest's first event of 2014.
South Union Bread Cafe

Here is a look at the schedule for the rest of the Ernst & Young Wine Flight classes:

February 20, 6 p.m.—Wine Cocktails ($40)
South Union Bread Café
1007 Locust Street, Des Moines

March 20, 6 p.m.—Pinot Noir & Chardonnay World Tour ($40)
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill
303 Locust Street, Des Moines

April 17, 6 p.m.—Beyond The Plum Wine: Asian Food & Wine Pairing ($40)
Willis Infiniti
2121 NW 100th Street, Clive

May 15, 6 p.m.—Dinner Party Wine Pairing ($40)
Sbrocco Wine Bar
208 Court Avenue, Des Moines

For more information on Winefest Des Moines, go to their website.