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The 31st Annual Autumn Food and Wine Festival returns to Northstar California Resort from Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11, inviting foodies spanning Northern California, Lake Tahoe and Reno to savor flavors of California. The Autumn Food and Wine Festival offers innovative teaching sessions with the addition of new experiences this year including a Star Tour wine pairing, the final phase of competition for Northstar’s Mountain Kids Cook-Off, a family movie night and more.

Regional chefs, craft breweries, wineries and distilleries including the event sponsor, Charbay Artisan Distillery contribute to the experience. Friday and Saturday event offerings are the perfect introduction to Sunday’s Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting, where participants are encouraged to cast their votes for Best Pairing of Food and Beverage, Best Food, Best Red Wine, Best White Wine and a slew of People’s Choice Awards.

Friday, Sept. 9

4 to 5 p.m. 
Art of Mixology

The Backyard Bar & BBQ, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

$50 Advance/$55 Day Of

This entertaining educational experience will feature freshly cut herbs classic ingredients such as bitters and infused liquors to create three unique cocktails paired with appetizers. Guest will enjoy this workshop al fresco at The Backyard Bar & BBQ. Advance ticket purchase recommended as seating will be limited. Walk-ins will be accepted on a space-available basis. All guests must be 21 or older to participate.

5 to 8 p.m.
Backyard Barbeque Family Cookout

The Backyard Bar & BBQ, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
$39/Adult – Ages 3 -12/$20

Join The Backyard Bar & BBQ for a cookout featuring traditional barbecue favorites such as tender juicy burgers, ribs, chicken, pulled pork and house-made desserts with live entertainment until 9 p.m. Guests will be welcomed the day of as advanced purchase is not necessary.

6 to 9 p.m.
Farm-to-Tahoe Dinner

The Zephyr Lodge, Northstar California Mountain
$100 Advance/$115 Day Of

The Northstar culinary team will create a multi-course dining experience featuring a menu using fresh sustainable and locally-sourced produce. Guests will escape up the mountain at Northstar California during an evening gondola ride delivering them to the iconic Zephyr Lodge. The menu will be enjoyed with beer wine and light beverages as guests enjoy live music and signature floor-to-ceiling views of the Sierra Pacific Crest. Advance purchase of tickets to this event is required as limited seating is available. All guests must be 21 or older to participate.

8 to 11 p.m.
The Living Room, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Unwind and relax in The Living Room and try a variety of specialty crafted cocktails, Champagne and a selection of handpicked wines while enjoying the music of a Live DJ. Guests are welcome to enjoy After8eight at their leisure until 11 p.m. as no advanced purchase is necessary.

Saturday, Sept. 10

11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Gourmet Marketplace Vendor Fair 
The Village at Northstar 

Meander through the cobblestone walkways of The Village at Northstar while sampling local and regional gourmet and artisan treasures in the Gourmet Marketplace Vendor Fair. The open-air marketplace displays kitchen gadgets, linens and clothing, handmade jewelry, fine art, photography, spa products and more.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
BBQ & Brews Luncheon
Overlook, The Village at Northstar
$55 Advance/$65 Day Of

An annual crowd favorite, grill master and Autumn Food and Wine celebrity, Chef Jason Gronlund makes his return to this year’s festival. His high-energy barbecue demonstration will have spectators on the edges of their seats from the first spark of his grill. This seminar will teach participants to incorporate beer into mouthwatering recipes and grilling techniques, culminating with the ultimate taste test as guests savor a barbecue luncheon paired with a craft beer flight.

11 to 2 p.m.
Take a Hike! Progressive Picnic
On-Mountain, Northstar California Resort
$65 Advance/$75 Day Of

Northstar California invites guests to savor gourmet bites and craft brews in the open air, taking in the mountain’s natural beauty as they enjoy a trailside beer tasting, progressive picnic and guided hike through the Tahoe National Forest. Accompanied by a professional trail guide, participants will explore the wilderness and become familiarized with the native flora and fauna. Each trailside tasting station will guide guests further along the route as they sample various artisan beers paired with gourmet tapas. Hikers of all ability levels are encouraged to participate and secure tickets in advance; guests will be welcomed on a space-available basis the day of the event.

11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Sips & Salutations
Tahoe Yoga & Wellness, The Village at Northstar
$25 Advance/$30 Day Of

Find your balance and then sip the balanced flavors of wines from a featured winery. Start the day with a flow-based yoga class followed by a guided wine tasting. This event is sure to help you find your Zen both inside and outside the classroom.

12 to 4 p.m.
Village Wine and Brew Walk
The Village at Northstar
$25 Advance/$30 Day Of

The Village at Northstar will transform into a mecca of delectable varietals during The Village Wine and Brew Walk. Guests are invited to prep their taste buds for the Grand Tasting event as they leisurely taste and learn about different wines and brews setup at stations throughout the boutique shops. Beer aficionados can look forward to cold craft beers from Stella Artois and Cidre, Goose Island, 10 Barrel, Spaten, Franziskaner and more. Guests age 21 and over are invited to participate in the casual afternoon event which includes a souvenir tasting glass.

12 to 4 p.m.
Kid’s Zone
Overlook, The Village at Northstar

Kids and kids-at-heart can delight in fun activities located atop The Overlook, in the heart of The Village at Northstar. Complimentary face painting and balloon sculptures will be available as well as arts & crafts projects and a play area on The Overlook Deck for younger guests. Additional ticketed activities available throughout the weekend include the bungee trampoline, rock wall, spider climbing web and slide, gem panning station and miniature golf features located throughout The Village.

12 to 1:15 p.m.
Mountain Kid’s Cook-Off Finals
Village Stage, The Village at Northstar

New this year, the Mountain Kid’s Cook-Off challenge brought teams of 8 to 12 year old culinary artists to Northstar California where they compete in two rounds of cuisine challenges to qualify for the final phase of competition taking place during the Autumn Food and Wine Festival. The final two teams will compete head-to-head for the Champion title and will walk away with the Golden Whisk trophy. The region’s youngest culinary artists not only are perfecting their culinary technique as they create experiences of a lifetime, but also contributing to the Tahoe-based non-profit Project MANA through ticket sales.

12 to 2 p.m.
Petra Winemaker Luncheon
Petra, The Village at Northstar
$60 Advance/$70 Day Of

Petra Owner and Wine Connoisseur Kali Kopley and a select winery will host a multi-course luncheon featuring award winning wines. Let the experts guide you through the complexities and tastes of food and wine pairings. Menu details and wine selections to come. Limited seating is available.

1 to 2:15 p.m.
Mixology Class
Tavern 6330’, The Village at Northstar
$30 Advance/$40 Day Of

This hands-on class will have you moving and shaking in no time. Join Northstar’s Tavern 6330’ bartender Trever Lojka as he teaches guests how to craft the perfect cocktail. Guests will learn about infused liquors, the perfect ingredient combinations and how to incorporate seasonal ingredient into your next cocktail concoction. Guests will also taste delicious treats from Tavern 6330’ Chef Chad Shrewsbury, who truly embodies the “farm-to-fork” culinary movement.

1:30 to 4:00 p.m.
Vertical Mountainside Tasting
The Village at Northstar and On-Mountain, Northstar California Resort
$45 Advance/$50 Day Of

Join Northstar and a select winery on a adventure that elevates your taste buds as you ascend up the mountain. Guests start in the Village for their first tasting at 6330’ in elevation. Then take the Big Springs Gondola to Mid-Mountain, located at 6850’, for a second tasting and some light snacks. The third and final tasting will take place at Zephyr Lodge located at 7870’, accessed via the Zephyr Chondola. Guests will not only taste but then enjoy a glass of their favorite wine from the afternoon on the Zephyr Lodge deck while savoring the view of the Sawtooth Ridge.

2:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Cooking Demonstration with Chef Joseph Keller
Village Stage, The Village at Northstar

Join a master, Chef Joseph Keller, on a culinary journey as he performs a cooking demonstration on the Village Stage. Chef Keller has been cooking since the age of 12, studied under an esteemed list of French Chefs and worked hand-in-hand with his brother, Chef Thomas Keller, on an accomplished portfolio of restaurants including the legendary French Laundry. Now he’s at Northstar to help “the next generation of cooks realize their dreams.”

3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
Hands-On Tortilla and Salsa Making with Chef Lara Ritchie of Nothing to It Culinary Center, Reno

Overlook, The Village at Northstar
$25 Advance/$30 Day Of

This year we’re going south of the border with Chef Lara. She will teach 25 guests how to make handmade tortillas and salsa. The class is appropriate for children as young as 9 years old. You’ll also get to taste your masterpiece once you’re done. Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Day-of tickets will be on a space availability basis

4:45 to 6 p.m.
Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off 
Village Stage, The Village at Northstar

Guests of the Autumn Food and Wine Festival are encouraged to spectate at one of the most anticipated events of the weekend – the Blazing Pans Mountain Chef Cook-Off. Seated in costume and equipped with noisemakers and air horns, guests are encouraged to show off their style as they holler and cheer on their favorite competitor during the heated battle. Two renowned local chefs will prepare two courses of restaurant-quality dishes within 45 minutes. Each chef will have to incorporate a secret ingredient which will be revealed just before the clock starts ticking. The winner of the coveted title will receive an award and forever bragging-rights.

6 to 9 p.m.
Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner
The Manzanita Terrace, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
$135 Advance/$145 Day Of

Prepared by Executive Chef Dwayne Edwards of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner will feature a family-style dinner presentation of a special harvest menu that incorporates the freshest, locally sourced, sustainable ingredients. This farm-to-table dinner will seat guests together at a long table on the Manzanita Terrace to enjoy six courses paired with wines from Napa Valley Pahlmeyer Winery al fresco against a mountainside setting.

6:30 to 9 p.m.
Charbay Distillery & Winery Annual Release Party

Featuring Marko & Jenni Karakasevic of Charbay Artisan Distillery & Winery and Chef Jason Gronlund

The Zephyr Lodge, Northstar California Mountain
$95 Advance/$105 Day Of

A highlight of the Autumn Food and Wine Festival, the Charbay Annual Release Party, invites guests to spend the evening on the mountain with the 13th– generation Master Distiller and notorious hype-man, Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Artisan Distillery and Winery preparing a variety of handcrafted cocktails. Guests will enjoy the cocktail creations alongside masterfully-prepared hors d’oeuvres presented by culinary master Chef Jason Gronlund, President of the non-profit Chef Relief and champion of the famed Garlic Showdown at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. The flavors are only matched by the ambiance guests will experience riding two gondolas to arrive at The Zephyr Lodge, perched on-mountain and showcasing an unforgettable sunset. Party guests must be age 21 and over and should secure tickets in advance as seating is limited.

7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Wine’d Down Movie Night
Skating Rink, The Village at Northstar

Families and friends are invited to sit back, relax and sip wine during a complementary, al fresco showing of the culinary classic and kid-approved, Ratatouille. A limited number of chairs will be available for guests to use, please also feel free to bring personal, low-back chairs and blankets to make for a cozy evening.

8:15 to 10 p.m.
Tahoe Star Tour & Wine Tasting
Northstar Cosmoarium, Castle Peak Parking Lot
$40/Adult, $20/Child

Experience the wonder of the dark skies above Northstar California during the final Tahoe Star Tour event of the season. For this special night only guests will be offered a wine flight tasting throughout the evening. A Star Guide will educate the crowd with an informative astronomy presentation including a laser-tour of the sky and telescopic viewing of the cosmos through state-of-the-art computerized Celestron telescopes. Kids are welcome to this event featuring fireside seating, s’mores treats and hot chocolate while mom and dad enjoy delicious wine.

Sunday, Sept. 11

1 to 4 p.m.
Grand Tasting & Culinary Competition

The Village at Northstar and The Overlook
$75 Advance/$95 Day Of

The most anticipated food, wine, spirits and brew event of the year is back for the 31st consecutive year. An al fresco afternoon tasting features more than 25 top chefs in the region paired with 25 premium wines, spirits and brews in a formally judged food and wine pairing competition. Each chef’s dish is paired with a varietal and vintage from the winery or brewery of their choice. It’s a culinary throw-down and the chefs compete for the Best Marriage of Food and Wine/Beverage and Best Food categories in addition to the coveted People’s Choice Awards. The offerings are judged by a panel of food and wine industry experts, and then the pairings are opened for ticketholders to enjoy.

Guest tickets also allow them to sample from additional wineries pouring their finest varietals and vintages. In 2015, more than 70 wines were poured at this event. Guests age 21 and over can expect to find great weather, spectacular food and fine wines, craft beers, artisan spirits and live music with good friends – all in the mountain setting of Lake Tahoe in The Village at Northstar.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gourmet Marketplace Vendor Fair
The Village at Northstar

Meander through the cobblestone walkways of The Village at Northstar while sampling local and regional gourmet and artisan treasures in the Gourmet Marketplace Vendor Fair. The open-air marketplace displays kitchen gadgets, fine linens and clothing, handmade jewelry, fine art, photography, spa products and more.

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