Dinners with the Vintners
Hosts welcome you at their beautiful homes and unique locations around Sun Valley. These small sit-down gatherings featuring exceptionally talented chefs rising to the challenge of creating a multi-course meal worthy of the exceptional wines that our generous vintners have chosen to share with the select guests in attendance.
Vintner dinners are only available with the purchase of a Grand Cru or Premier Cru package.
2015 Vintner Dinners
BROWN AND WEIDNER RESIDENCES
Liz Brown and Sis & Billy Weidner
Kosta Browne Winery, Dan Kosta, Co-Proprietor
The flavorful and intense single-vineyard wines from Kosta Browne are blended to express the specific qualities and consistencies of their pedigreed vineyards in Sonoma County. Their highly sought-after Pinot Noirs have catapulted the winery into the top tier of producers in California.
Halleck Vineyard, Ross Halleck, Proprietor
Halleck, a family-run estate perched above the Russian River, continues to draw accolades for its Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Dry Gewurztraminer. The vineyard’s perfect grape-growing and harvest conditions allow the fruit to mature slowly and result in the intense flavors of their wines.
Executive Chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
Sue Zemanick knew cooking was her calling at an early age. She has been widely lauded by multiple publications, including Food & Wine magazine, is a four-time finalist for the James Beard “Rising Star Chef” category, and was named James Beard’s “Best Chef of the South” in 2014.
Spend an evening in The Big Easy with this Vintner Dinner that captures the spirit and fun of New Orleans, complete with fantastic food, lively music, and good times. Originally hailing from the “Crescent City,” your hosts, Liz Brown and Sis & Billy Weidner, now live next door to each other along the banks of the Big Wood River in West Ketchum. Start the night off with cocktails, appetizers, and jazz in the garden at Liz Brown’s gorgeous home, moving on to enjoy an outstanding meal created by New Orleans’ top chef, Sue Zemanick, on the expansive lawn of the Weidners’ custom log home alongside the river. Sue’s modern mix of French and American dishes with a Southern flair will be perfectly matched with wines from the superstars at Kosta Browne, who will bring along their sold-out Pinots, as well as Ross Halleck’s limited-release wines of undisputed excellence. Time to join the party!
Kirsten & Brad Cleveland
A Wells Fargo Private Bank Dinner
Schramsberg Vineyards, Hugh Davies, President
Schramsberg, founded in 1862, is a vineyard alive with tradition. The estate is home to the oldest hillside vineyards in Napa. Producing 8-10 award-winning sparkling blends each year, the winery is committed to small lot base wine production.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Bob Bertheau, Senior Director of Winemaking
Chateau Ste. Michelle is known for its award-winning wines and rich heritage, and its head winemaker, Bob Bertheau, crafts exceptional Bordeaux-style blends of unique power and character for its Artist Series Meritage wines, honoring world-class artisans such as Dale Chihuly.
Scott Mason of Enoteca and Ketchum Grill, Ketchum, Idaho
Scott Mason has spent over 30 years refining his craft and expanding his palate. He has brought his talents to fruition in his restaurants, Ketchum Grill and the newly opened Enoteca, two local favorites beloved by residents and visitors alike for fresh and innovative fare.
Begin the evening on the expansive deck of Kirsten and Brad Cleveland’s French country-style home on the backside of Dollar Mountain, enjoying a glass of bubbly from Schramsberg with bon vivant Hugh Davies. Hugh and his family have been participating in the Wine Auction since its inception and The Center is honored to be part of the vineyard’s venerable tradition. After taking in the stunning views of Baldy, wander into the gorgeous garden, a perfect place to dine al fresco and enjoy stellar wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle. The winery will feature several wines, including special bottles from their 20th anniversary release in the Artist Series, featuring Dale Chihuly. These reds will be the perfect complement to Scott Mason’s scrumptious culinary creations. A night filled with such impressive wines, incredible food, and inspiring company is one you will not soon forget.
Carey & John Dondero
A Wells Fargo Private Bank Dinner
Antinori Family Wine Estate & Antica Napa Valley, Glenn Salva, Estate Director
High in the eastern mountains of Napa Valley sits a breathtaking wine estate. Antica produces small lots of truly outstanding wines, a testament to the discipline and knowledge of the Antinori family. The family’s history in the wine industry spans six centuries and 26 generations.
Executive Chef Kim Wiss of Antica Napa Valley, Napa, California
Kim Wiss, a 30-year veteran of the food and wine industry, originally hails from New Orleans. After extensive training in Napa Valley and Florence, Italy, Kim returned as Antica’s Culinary Director and Business Manager and is also guest instructor at the venerable Napa Valley Cooking School.
Chef Spring Bullard of Ketchum, Idaho
Spring has been a private chef for more than 15 years, now based in Sun Valley after stints in New York City and abroad. Her delicious catering menus are inspired by her passion for food and her focus on creating exquisite meals utilizing a healthy, local approach.
Magnificent floor to ceiling glass doors open onto a large patio surrounded by trees at Carey and John Dondero’s elegant Gimlet home, just steps from the Big Wood River, where this distinctive dinner will take place. In a culinary match made in heaven, two premier talents from Napa Valley and Sun Valley, Kim Wiss and Spring Bullard, will come together in the kitchen to create a superb multi-course meal, paired flawlessly with notable wines from Antica Napa Valley and the Antinori Family Wine Estate. Guests will be spoiled by an astounding array of premium Cabernets from the single-vineyard Antica portfolio and the cellars of Antinori, presented by the estate’s esteemed and knowledgeable director, Glenn Silva. If you dream of big, sumptuous reds, this is the dinner for you. But not to worry…there will also be outstanding Chardonnay and Rosé to tempt your taste buds. You truly can’t go wrong with this one.
JILL & FRANK’S RESIDENCE
Jill & Frank
Blackbird Vineyards, Paul Leary, President
With an ingrained commitment to the diversity of varietals and terroir, Blackbird is dedicated to crafting truly expressive wines with a focus on Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard’s portfolio reflects artisanal wines of great complexity, richness of fruit, and overall distinction.
Round Pond Estate, Ryan MacDonnell, Owner
Round Pond Estate, owned and operated today by the second generation of the MacDonnell family, is a Rutherford farm and winery that specializes in the creation of pure, expressive wines, artisan foods, and unforgettable experiences—all from the heart of Napa Valley.
Cristina Ceccatelli Cook of Cristina’s Restaurant, Ketchum, Idaho
Cristina grew up in Tuscany and moved to the United States in 1993. She is the author of two successful cookbooks. Her restaurant in Ketchum is a special place where people gather to enjoy the company of friends and the fresh, uncomplicated flavors of Cristina’s Tuscan childhood.
As you enter this majestic estate in Eagle Creek, meander along winding pathways and over bridges that lead to a quintessential multi-story Sun Valley log home, tucked into the surrounding woods with glorious views to the West. Surrounded by pastures and ponds, the property is remote and incredibly peaceful and the home’s expansive decks and multiple fire pits make this the perfect spot for an unforgettable Vintner Dinner. Cristina’s legendary cooking will be accompanied by fine wines from Blackbird and Round Pond. Ryan MacDonnell will be uncorking some of Round Pond’s exceptional and rare vintages, especially the rich and expressive Cabernets. These highly rated, limited-production Rutherford wines have earned critical praise for their trademark blend of voluptuousness and complexity. And Blackbird’s president, Paul Leary, will bring his signature reds to complement Cristina’s meticulously crafted and creative courses. Stunning views, extraordinary wines, and dynamic conversation will be yours for the taking during this enchanted evening.
HANSON AND PERLMAN RESIDENCE
Ellen Hanson & Richard Perlman
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery, Betty O’Shaughnessy Woolls, Proprietor and Luke Russ, Commercial Director
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyards on Howell Mountain and Mount Veeder. Admired for their power and elegance since the first vintage in 2000, these wines consistently garner praise from the international press.
Quilceda Creek Vintners, John Ware, Owner
Quilceda Creek is dedicated exclusively to the production of world-class Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded in 1979, the winery has had an unbroken string of highly-rated vintages that have led to its reputation as Washington State’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon producer.
Executive Chef Tyler Stokes of Provisions, Salt Lake City, Utah
Tyler’s new Salt Lake City restaurant, Provisions, is an American craft kitchen offering modern cuisine in a neighborhood setting. Tyler is drawn to cuisine that highlights regional, organic, and sustainable ingredients, using new and old-world techniques to create exciting flavor profiles in every dish.
Talk about the perfect place for a party…you will not want to miss the chance to support the arts and savor outstanding wines at this remarkable Vintner Dinner. Ellen Hanson and Richard Perlman invite you to join the celebration in their dynamic contemporary home, a marvel of glass, wood, and concrete perched on the hillside off of Saddle Road with stunning views of Baldy Mountain from every corner. Your hosts are adventurous world travelers and art lovers and Ellen, a highly regarded interior designer, has given each room her signature touch with not a single detail overlooked. Huge windows flood the home with light and set the mood for what promises to be a phenomenal meal. Chef Tyler Stokes will bring his unique style and creative flair to the kitchen to concoct a menu full of delightful surprises, sure to tantalize the senses. His dishes will harmonize seamlessly with the evening’s selection of outstanding wines, including top-notch Cabernets from Quilceda and O’Shaughnessy. This is where the magic happens.
Jill & David Hitchin
A Wells Fargo Private Bank Dinner
Figge Cellars, Peter Figge, Proprietor
Figge Cellars exemplifies the new traditions of old-world wine craftsmanship. Producing only Burgundian varietals, these small lot production wines express their cold climate origins and are prized by sommeliers and their patrons for their elegance and complexity.
Villa Creek Cellars, Cris & JoAnn Cherry, Owners
The flagship reds from this stand-out organic winery in the west hills of Paso Robles showcase grapes from the area’s most prestigious vineyards. Villa Creek’s Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, along with blends of the three varietals, have reached unobtainable status. These vibrant wines exhibit fruit, minerality, earth, and soul.
David Fox of Silver Fox Catering, Ketchum, Idaho
Chef David Fox, a longtime Sun Valley local, has specialized in catering and event planning in Idaho’s Wood River Valley since 1989. His culinary creativity and proven attention to detail allow him to turn any kind of gathering into a magical affair.
Get ready for an evening filled with delicious food, delectable wines, and delightful conversation. Surrounded on three sides by pristine National Forest land, Jill and David Hitchin’s home, “Chanteclair,” is secluded and exquisite, with spectacular views. Stunning crystal chandeliers from the Metropolitan Opera House grace the home’s interior and a spectacular fountain modeled after Aga Khan’s in Sardinia anchors the grounds. Sit back and let Jill and David charm you with their generosity and entertain you with stories of their travels around the world. Caterer David Fox, a master at pairing fresh, unique ingredients with premium wines, will join Peter Figge, who will pour a variety of his signature handmade varietals, and Cris and JoAnn Cherry of Villa Creek, sharing their big, luscious reds, all as perfect accompaniment to the mouthwatering flavors of David’s inventive dishes. This intoxicating combination of outstanding wine, enchanting hosts, and a brilliant chef will surely make for an unforgettable experience.
Peter Curran, Michael & Barbie John, Tracy & Greg Johnson
Ram’s Gate Winery, Michael John and Jeff O’Neill, Co-Owners
Ram’s Gate grows and sources grapes from the most respected grape growers in Sonoma County. Esteemed for their small-lot Pinots and Chardonnays, Ram’s Gate crafts wines that are true representations of the terroir, paying homage to the families and caretakers of each individual vineyard.
Executive Chef Taylr Behnam of Ram’s Gate Winery, Sonoma, California
The mastermind behind Ram’s Gate’s artful food pairings, Taylr is a culinary adventurer and conceptual visionary who designs each dish based upon the earthbound nuances in its accompanying wine. A member of the winery’s chef team since its opening day, Taylr is an avid supporter of the locavore and sustainability movement in food, and a thoughtful, creative, and experienced innovator.
Chef Becky Ludwig of Sun Valley, Idaho
Becky Ludwig and her husband Steve own At Your Place, a private chef and catering service. Previously, they owned Place Restaurant at the Knob Hill Inn. Becky uses as many local ingredients as possible in her dishes, keeping up with the current food trends and creating inspired menus for special events and clients.
Executive Pastry Chef Lisa Vega of Dandelion Chocolate, San Francisco, California
Lisa Vega, a California native, has always been drawn to the thriving food scene in San Francisco and the discipline of excellence she learned early on as a pastry chef. She thinks of herself as a “fairy godmother” of desserts and loves the moment when people fall in love with her creative confections.
Tracy and Greg Johnson’s contemporary mountain home is tucked into the trees next to the Big Wood River amongst guesthouses and a vintage Airstream. The word on the street is that this will be an event for the ages, taking place in a fabulous rustic party barn on the property. The massive glass doors of the barn open onto a sprawling lawn where you will enjoy cocktails and stroll along garden pathways. One of your other hosts, Michael John, will bring an impressive selection of critically acclaimed wines from Ram’s Gate Winery, so you know you will be in good hands. And in the kitchen, the good hands are guaranteed…times three. Taylr Behnam will be there from Ram’s Gate, applying her reverse-pairing philosophy to the evening’s menu. First, she tastes each wine, and then experiments with flavors and textures to find the kind of pairings that are so sensational they are hard to forget. She will also pair her own skills with the proven talent of local culinary virtuoso, Becky Ludwig. This powerhouse team of chefs also includes the considerable confectionary skills of Dandelion Chocolate’s newest hotshot pastry chef, Lisa Vega, who will whip up a jaw-dropping dessert to top off the evening’s meal. There is truly something special in the works here…no doubt about it.
Sarah & David Woodward and Barbara & John Lehman
Pride Mountain Vineyards, Stuart Bryan, Owner
Pride’s historic vineyards acres drape across the Mayacamas Mountains above overlooking Napa and Sonoma. The winery crafts big, bold red wines that celebrate a unique gift of ripeness without sacrificing structure, complexity, or balance. Recognized as one of the “world’s greatest wine estates” by Robert Parker, Jr., Pride Mountain Vineyards joins just 22 other California wineries for this distinction. Pride wines have also appeared six times on the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World list. Small-lot production ensures their impeccable quality and remarkable taste.
Failla Wines, Ehren Jordan, Winemaker
According to The Wine Advocate, “Failla is a top-notch source of high-quality, European-inspired wines that combine flavor, intensity, and elegance.” Named 2008 Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, Failla’s Ehren Jordan focuses on cool-climate grape sources to produce food-friendly wines of crisp acidity and layered complexity.
Executive Chef Aaron Wermerskirchen, Juniper, Boise, Idaho
Aaron’s specialty is creating flavorful and inventive dishes inspired by a variety of different cuisines. Classically trained, he knows how to source local products with integrity, flavor and soul and is a master at producing food that is honest and straightforward, paying homage to the bounty of the region.
Hugging the banks of the Big Wood River in the secluded Red Cliffs neighborhood sits the sprawling home of Sarah and David Woodward. Nestled in the trees with views of the river, this home is a sanctuary filled with eye-popping contemporary art, often visited by the local wildlife. Your delightful evening will kick off with cocktails on the spacious patio, complete with a custom bocce ball court for those in the mood. As for the wines, the dream team of Stuart Bryan and Ehren Jordan are planning to showcase a variety of their very best vintages from Pride and Failla at this dinner, so be prepared. And to round things out, you are in for a treat with the menu that chef Aaron Wermerskirchen has on deck. Sarah and David’s huge open kitchen is perfect for watching Aaron work his magic, and he will be pulling out all the stops, matching each wine selection with knock-out flavors and freshness that will leave you shaking your head in astonishment. Lasting memories will be yours for the taking at this dinner…and that’s a promise.