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Winefest Des Moines 2014 is May 31 through June 7

Chef Sean Wilson of Proof will host Winefest's Home and Away Pairing Dinner.
Chef Sean Wilson of Proof will host Winefest's Home and Away Pairing Dinner.
Charles Walton

Winefest Des Moines 2014 is almost upon us. Winefest gets bigger every year, and this year will be no different as the festival stretches out to span eight days. This year's Winefest will run from May 31 through June 7, and it will again feature food from some of Des Moines' top restaurants and vendors paired with wines from some of Iowa's top wineries and wineries from all over the world. Tickets for most of Winefest's events are still available (see below) and may be purchased online through MidwesTix. Here is a look at the schedule of events for this year's festival.

Winefest kicks off this year with the Meredith Saturday Sessions at the Meredith Corporation (1716 Locust Street, Des Moines) on Saturday, May 31. The Saturday Sessions are educational food and wine workshops featuring a number of local and national celebrity panelists, chefs, and sommeliers. Lynne Rossetto Kasper of American Public Media’s Splendid Table, Better Homes and Gardens Food Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins, Meredith Test Kitchen Director Lynn Blanchard, New York chef and restaurateur Stefano Terzi, Better Homes and Gardens Senior Food Editor Maggie Gilsan, Gateway Market sommelier Abbe Hendricks and cheese expert Caleb Campbell, Better Homes and Gardens food stylist Greg Luna, Better Homes and Gardens food photographer Andy Lyons, Meredith Associate Food Editor Kelly Kegan, Better Homes and Gardens style editors Eddie Ross and Jessica Thomas, Editor of Better Homes and Gardens’ annual Grilling and Mexican magazines Carlos Acevedo, Proof co-owner and restaurant sommelier (and Des Moines Social Club Founder) Zachary Mannheimer, and Better Homes and Gardens Senior Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor Nancy Wall Hopkins will all be a part of this year's Saturday Sessions. Here is the schedule for the workshops:

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: A Splendid Conversation ($45)
1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.: Share the Table with Barilla (sold out)
3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.: Say Cheese! (sold out)
5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Setting the Party Scene ($35)
6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.: Barilla Interactive Dinner ($75)

On Sunday, June 1, the festival continues with the Iowa Lawn Party at Jasper Winery (2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Iowa Lawn Party will feature food samples from Gateway Market, Daily Bread Bakery, and Berkwood Farms and sips from Iowa wineries and micro-breweries. Mr. Baber's Neighbors will provide music for the event. The party will also feature sliders designed by Iowa Beef Industry Council Slider Challenge winner Cristen Clark. Clark's recipe for Merlot Candied Bacon, Maytag Blue Cheese, and Arugula Sliders was announced as the winner yesterday. Tickets for the event are still available for $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.

The Community Tasting is up next on Monday, June 2. The event will take place at Gateway Market & Cafe (2002 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Gateway's team will cook up an array of favorites form their menus to accompany a selection of festival wines. This event is free.

Tuesday, June 3, is Toasting Tuesday. The event (sponsored by Ahlers and Cooney) will celebrate sparkling wines (champagnes) at the Riverwalk Hub (Court Avenue & Water Street in Des Moines) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eight stations will be set up pairing Hub appetizers with champagnes from eight production areas including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Australia, the United States, and Iowa. Each station will tell the sparkling wines' stories and cover the different varietals, dryness levels, or regions within the areas. This event is sold out.

Wednesday, June 4, brings the Nyemaster Goode Home & Away Pairing Dinner at Proof (1301 Locust Street, Des Moines). Proof's culinary team, headed by Chef Sean Wilson, will cook up homegrown comfort foods to pair with unique imported wines. This event is also sold out.

On Thursday, June 5 the Prima Dinners take center stage. Des Moines' top chefs pair with a winery to create a unique dining experience in locations across the city. The six Prima Dinners are each $250. Here are the details on each dinner.

The Des Moines Art Center (4700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines)
Chef: David Baruthio of Baru 66
Vintner: Emanuel Tres
Status: sold out

The home of Bob & Cynthia Lidgett (50 37th Street, Des Moines)
Chefs: George Formaro and Derek Eidson of Centro
Vintner: Gramercy Cellars
Status: sold out

The home of George Cataldo (1000 Tulip Tree Lane, West Des Moines)
Chef: Dominic Iannarelli of Splash Seafood Bar & Grill
Vintner: Grgich Hills Estate
Status: sold out

Terrace Hill (2300 Grand Avenue, Des Moines)
Chef: Lynn Pritchard of Table 128 Bistro + Bar
Vintner: Illahe Vineyards
Status: Call (515) 244-0039 for reservations

The Home of Allen & Cindy Sabbag (508 Grand Oaks Drive, West Des Moines)
Chef: Jerry Talerico of Sam & Gabe's
Vintner: Cakebread Cellars
Status: sold out

Le Jardin (2815 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines)
Chef: Tag Grandgeorge of Le Jardin
Vintner: Tasca d’Almerita
Status: Call (515) 244-0039 for reservations

Friday, June 6, Winefest Des Moines moves to the State Historical Building (600 East Locust Street in Des Moines) for Sips in the City (sponsored by Dupont and Pioneer) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sips in the City will feature food from Gateway Market, Baratta's, Berkwood Farms, Carefree Patisserie, The Cheese Shop, Chocolaterie Stam, Cooper's on 5th, Crème Cupcakes & Desserts, The Fighting Burrito, Keller's Breads, Malo, Trostel's Greenbriar Restaurant & Bar, South Union Bread Cafe, and Zombie Burger. Wines, beers, ciders, and other beverages will be provided by Artisan Beer Company, Backpocket Brewing, Bodkin Wines, Buena Vista Winery, Cedar Ridge Vineyards, Charles Smith Wines, The Cheese Shop of Des Moines, Ciderboys, Confluence Brewing Company, Constellation Brands, The Corker, Dimitri Wine & Spirits, Don and Sons, Duckhorn Vineyards, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Eagle Eye Imports, Emanuel Tres, Exile Brewing Company, Gateway Market, Glazer's, Global Wines, Gramercy Cellars, Helwig Winery, Ingersoll Wine and Spirits, Iowa Sister States, Jasper Winery, Johnson Brothers, Little Swan Lake Winery, Madison County Winery, Markham Vineyards, Negociants, Okoboji Wines, Peace Tree Brewing Co., The Piedmont Guy, Reidel Glassware, Sileni Estates, Splash Raw and Bubbly Bar, St. James Winery, Tassel Ridge Winery, Terlato Wines, Trinchero Family Estates, Twisted Vine Brewery, Van Wijk Winery, Vine Street Imports, Vines to Wines, Vintus, Wine Bridge Imports, The Wine Group, and Winebow. The New Bodies and Maximilian Eubanks will provide live music on separate stages. Tickets for Sips in the City are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. All wine and food samples are included in the ticket price, and there will be an opportunity to purchase limited allocation wines by the glass. Patrons can upgrade to the Sammons Financial Group VIP Lounge for $35. The VIP package includes entrance to the event one hour early, plus high-end wines, butler-passed hors d’oeuvres from Baratta’s Restaurant, and lounge seating.

Winefest Des Moines 2014 culminates on Saturday, June 7 with The Willis Grand Tasting at the State Historical Building from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Grand Tasting will feature food from Gateway Market, Baratta's, Carefree Patisserie, Catering by Cyd, Centro, Chocolaterie Stam, Crème Cupcakes & Desserts, Django, Embassy Club, HoQ, Louie's Wine Dive, Malo, Splash Seafood Bar & Grill, Trellis, and 801 Chophouse. The same beverage providers from Sips and the City will be back with their high-end wines. The Splash Raw & Bubbly Bar will feature premium sparkling wines, oysters, caviar, and other accoutrements. Tickets for The Willis Grand Tasting are $75, and the Sammons Financial Group VIP Lounge will be available again (starting at 5 p.m.) for an additional $35.

Winefest Des Moines 2014 events are all 21-plus exclusive. Cocktail attire is suggested for The Willis Grand Tasting. For more information on Winefest Des Moines 2014, go to the festival's website.

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