by Ian McNulty
For an upcoming festival that begins next week, you won’t need your camp chair, your koozie or any sunscreen, but you will need reservations. For the sixth year now, the Maison Dupuy Hotel is hosting the French Quarter Wine Festival, a nine-week series of wine dinners held in conjunction with its restaurant, Le Meritage.
Each of the 16 wine dinners to follow features a reception and four-course meal with the winemaker or proprietor of a particular winery featured that evening, with special menus from Le Meritage chef Michael Farrell paired with the vintners' selections.
The event is modeled after the Boston Wine Festival, where dinners are held in a pair of waterfront restaurants including Meritage, the forerunner and sibling to our local Le Meritage. The same event organizers also produce the Berkeley Wine Festival in California and the Capital Wine Festival in Washington, D.C.
The French Quarter Wine Festival begins next Friday, March 2, with a grand opening reception that will feature dozens of wines from vineyards participating in this year’s festival series, along with a buffet and performances by the Rebirth Brass Band and Los Po-Boy-Citos. The event, to be held block-party style on Burgundy Street by the hotel and inside its courtyard, begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $75.
The main festival programming gets started the following week with the Opus One Winery dinner on March 6 and the Page Wine Cellars dinner on March 7, and they continue each Tuesday and Wednesday. The cost varies, but is usually either $95 or $105 per person (the Opus One dinner is $155). A closing reception on April 27 will feature wines from the festival and previews of the 2013 series.
For tickets, dinner menus and more details, see www.frenchquarterwinefestival.com.