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WineFest at Mohegan Sun celebrates the grape in Uncasville, CT

The Thames River in Uncasville CT is the idyllic location of the Sun Winefest 2014 - at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino
The Thames River in Uncasville CT is the idyllic location of the Sun Winefest 2014 - at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino
Courtesy Mohegan Sun Casino

Aficionados of the juicy fruit from the finest vineyards, paired with top chef-prepared foods, are in for another spirited weekend at the Mohegan Sun’s 11th Annual Sun Winefest.

Among the celebrity chefs on hand, Mary Ann Esposito will be offering her tips on Italian cuisine
Courtesy Mary Ann Esposito

The main event of the weekend, the Sun Winefest Grand tasting, will be in the handsome Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday, January 25th and 26th from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Over the course of the two days, the Grand Tasting will have something for everyone’s particular taste buds. How? With more than 1,000 brands of wine and beer as well as specialty sponsor spirits. Even non-imbibers can have fun sampling signature dishes from the some of the region’s most highly rated restaurants.

Saturday and Sunday’s Grand Tasting will also feature celebrity chef demonstrations and fun-filled contests on the Main Culinary Stage. Look for popular chef-personalities like Govind Armstrong (8 oz. Burger Bar restaurants), Mary Ann Esposito (Ciao Italia!), Manouschka Guerrier (Food Network’s Private Chefs of Beverly Hills) and Robert Irvine (TV’s Restaurant:Impossible). For 10 years, from the time he was 15, Robert was in the Royal Navy and prepped food on Her Majesty’s Royal Yacht Britannia! These folks all have stories to tell!

On Friday, January 24th at Sunburst Buffet from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., those inclined toward spirit drinking and cigar smoking can experience a bourbon inspired menu paired with a variety of fine bourbons. Mixologists will be on hand to create some specially crafted bourbon cocktails for those who don’t want their liquor straight. Smokers can finish the night off with a premium cigar sampling from Adonis Cigars. Tickets are $90.00 per person.

In the Cabaret Theatre on Saturday, January 25th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. the Elite Cru Tasting event will be presented by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. This exceptional wine-tasting event features the “best-of-the-best” vintages from around the world. Participants will have the opportunity to meet the winemakers and learn the principles behind making wine. A raw bar hosted by Georges Bank will feature their South Bay Blonde Oysters, shrimp from Mazzetta Company and specialty cheeses from igourmet.com. Tickets are $200.00 per person and include a Saturday Grand Tasting ticket and a bonus $50.00 gift certificate for igourmet.com.

Also on Saturday, January 25th, world-class chefs including Todd English, Robert Irvine and Jasper White host a night of sumptuous cuisine with the Celebrity Chef Dine Around event. Ticket holders will be invited to walk around the Uncas Ballroom from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and watch these culinary masters at live cooking stations. A pairing of premium wine or beer will complement each dish. Tickets to the dine around are $185.00 per person.

Tickets are $80.00 for Saturday’s one-day pass, $70.00 for Sunday’s one-day pass and $125.00 for a weekend pass to both Saturday and Sunday’s Grand Tasting. There will be a nominal charge for the sampling of signature dishes – a portion of the proceeds benefits Channel 3 Kids Camp.

Tickets for the Grand Tasting, Elite Cru Tasting, Celebrity Chef Dine Around, and Bourbon Tasting and may be purchased online at www.sunwinefest.com, over the phone at 1.800.745.3000 or in-person at Mohegan Sun’s Box Office.

For more information on Sun WineFest 2014 events, hours, featured personalities and area hotel information, visit the Sun’s website or find info on Facebook and Twitter.

Cheers!

By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’