Wine festival season is upon us and drunken gluttony is the name of the game! This unique breed of harvest celebration has been going strong in New Mexico for nearly two decades, starting with the the New Mexico Wine Festival, which kicked it all off 18 years ago. You can continue the tradition this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Bernalillo Wine Festival Grounds. And if you happen to go on Saturday, be sure to stop by the Anasazi Fields Winery booth, where Andy Sandersier, author of the excellent The Wines of New Mexico, will sign his book from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information call 899-3815. Then there's the Harvest Wine Festival at the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds in Las Cruces. Highlights include hourly grape-stomping competitions that only get better as the day wears on. For more information and driving directions, log on to nmwine.com.
This past Sunday, the city wrapped up its Tricentennial celebration of cuisine and agriculture with "A Taste of Albuquerque" at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Booth after booth offered up exquisite foods from the area's best restaurants, but the real stars of the evening were hard at work, preparing gourmet meals on a tight schedule for the "TVI Culinary Challenge." Students enrolled in the TVI Culinary Arts program got to compete in a two-hour battle that included a strict scoring system and a "mystery basket" of ingredients. Sysco Foods of New Mexico, Bueno Foods and Southwest Wine and Spirits provided the food, equipment, prizes and scholarship money that was awarded to the top three up-and-coming chefs. They were: Melissa Moore in first, Pat Klaurens in second, Ernest Andazola in third and Tim Wood as first runner-up. Congratulations!