A toast to 10 years of WineFest

Not only is this weekend Mohegan Sun's WineFest, it's also the 10th anniversary of what's become a huge destination-event.

How huge? Consider this: 1,000 brands of beer, wine, specialty spirits and nibbles await WineFest attendees. Between sips and nosh, chefs Bobby Flay, Robert Irvine, Todd English, Jasper White, Govind Armstrong and Dorie Greenspan, among many, many other professional foodies, will present seminars, advice, perhaps a trade secret or two and just plain good company. All of the above happens at Saturday's Celebrity Chef Dine Around (which is, not surprisingly, sold out).

Then there's the annual grape stomp event on Saturday at 4 p.m., when stomp-teams make like Lucille Ball and try to extract the most juice from a vat-ful of grapes, all in the name of charity-UConn Foundation, Inc.'s Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk.

A party this big tends to sell out quickly, and while several 2013 WineFest events have, indeed, sold out, many more opportunities remain available for dedicated oenophiles. They are:

Sunday's Grand Tasting: Tickets are $70 for a one-day pass. If you go on Sunday, be sure to check out the 9th annual Mohegan Sun Oyster Open at 4:15 p.m. The Open pits the country's best oyster shuckers against each other in a competition for a $5,000 prize.

Elite Cru Tasting: Tickets are $200; includes Saturday Grand Tasting ticket and a $50 gift certificate to igourmet.com.

Bubbles & Bon Bons: Taste desserts by famed pastry chefs Dorie Greenspan, Mindy Segal and Gesine Bullock-Prado paired with Moët Impérial Champagne and Grand Marnier. Sunday event, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $95.

Sunday Sweet Deal: Tickets are $135 and include a Sunday Grand Tasting ticket and a Bubbles & Bon Bons ticket.

Venice Is Calling: "How to Craft the Famous Bellini (Prosecco and Italian peach juice) with Nicoletta Canella of Canella Winery; seminar is $50.

Argentina And Malbec: The Perfect Pairing with Jimena Turner of Alamos Winery; seminar is $45.

Shared Terroir in Beer & Cheese - Smutty Style! with David Yarrington of Smuttynose Brewing Co. If this seminar is as fun as its name, the $40 ticket seems well worth it.

For tickets and more information about WineFest weekend, Jan. 26 and 27, visit http://mohegansun.com/sitelet/winefest.


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