• A Look Inside the North Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival

     
    POSTED March 7, 2016
     
  • A Look Inside the North Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival

     
    POSTED March 7, 2016
     

What started as a way to attract business during the lull between the busy summer and winter seasons at Lake Tahoe has grown into a much anticipated event on the fall calendar. The North Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival, held at the Northstar California mountain resort, celebrated its 30th year in September with three days of activities, including a progressive picnic hike; cooking classes, demos and competitions; winemaker lunches; and a “grand tasting” of culinary creations made by top regional chefs that were paired with premium wines, spirits and brews.

The event drew about 3,000 attendees over three days, a number in keeping with the goal of maintaining the event as a friendly experience for guests, restaurants and wineries, says Nadia Guerrero, senior director of base operations and events at Northstar. “It’s not the goal to blow it out,” she adds. “The restaurants and wineries enjoy the amount of time they get to speak with and interact with participants on a one-to-one basis. It’s not just an assembly line getting people in and out. It’s more a place where people can make connections.”

While most of the action took place at the base-area Village at Northstar, the Ritz- Carlton Lake Tahoe, an AAA Five Diamond hotel at midmountain, hosted a trio of related events, starting with an “art of mixology” class attended by about 40 guests. That was followed by a paint-and-sip session, led by the Painted Vine in Truckee, that saw 17 participants explore their inner artists at easels set up in a hotel meeting room. The signature event was the Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner, a six-course repast for 80 that was prepared by Ryan Dawson, executive sous chef of the hotel’s acclaimed Manzanita restaurant. Since the dinner is served family style, Dawson says he wanted “to offer guests a creative selection of dishes that made use of fresh, seasonal ingredients reflective of the season, whose unique flavors and artistic presentation would also encourage conversation among the group.” Guest favorites included oxtail agnolotti and bone marrow-crusted filet.

The Ritz has been involved in the Autumn Food & Wine fest since it opened in 2010, “and we’ve grown a little every year,” says Hotel Communications Manager Robin Penning. “One of the things that makes it a success is timing, which is always the weekend after Labor Day. That used to be a dead time, but now it’s seen as a great time to visit Lake Tahoe.”

It’s also a great time of year to hold meetings at the lake, she notes. The ski-in, skiout Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe offers 170 guest rooms, a 17,000-square-foot luxury spa and 10 meeting rooms with a combined 15,000 square feet of indoor space and over 22,000 square feet for outdoor gatherings.

As the number of vaccinations across the country increases, the amount of live events and gatherings will hopefully rise with it. However, that doesn’t mean the way people gather will go back to normal instantly: there may be an adjustment period before bars, theaters, stadiums and churches are all full of people again.

 Spacing, social distancing, and creativity will be vital for planners and venues in the meantime, and tools like staging, seating, and more will be crucial for the execution of these.

 

As the number of vaccinations across the country increases, the amount of live events and gatherings will hopefully rise with it. However, that doesn’t mean the way people gather will go back to normal instantly: there may be an adjustment period before bars, theaters, stadiums and churches are all full of people again.

 Spacing, social distancing, and creativity will be vital for planners and venues in the meantime, and tools like staging, seating, and more will be crucial for the execution of these.

 

2020 was on track to be a record year. For some catering companies across the state, continuous growth year-over-year had set them up for success, and they thought it would be their best 365 days yet.

And a record year it was—but not for good reasons. Layoffs and furloughs, major losses in sales, and too many cancellations and postponed events to count made 2020 a year that catering companies will never forget.