Fête d’Été tour to combine local dining, bike ridingWritten by Jay Hathaway | | email@example.com
Gone are the old days of stuffy wine tastings and dinner pairings. A group of Oregon winemakers and local aficionados have decided to take things mobile — on two wheels.
Anne Amie Vineyards, a small, family owned winery in Willamette Valley, Ore., will offer a unique twist on traditional winemaker dinners with its second Fête d’Été bike ride tour.
The tour — with stops in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati — concludes in Toledo at 6 p.m. May 21.
Instead of five courses in one restaurant, the winemaker tour boasts progressive bicycle dinners. In each city of the tour, participants will travel by bicycle between five restaurants in general proximity.
Fête d’ Été translates from French to “summer party.” Adam Mahler, owner of Ampelography, a local wine sales and marketing firm, is hosting the Toledo event. He said the title encompasses the spirit of Toledo in late May.
“The thing that’s cool about Ohio is we get so excited for summer to come. It starts building in April, and by May, we’re just crazy and wanting to do things outside, and biking is a natural fit.”
This will mark the second time the bike ride has taken place in Toledo. The last was in 2012.
Mahler said he can personally affirm the unique experience that the event provides.
“I’m like everyone else — I drive everywhere,” Mahler said. “But, I started getting into a little bit of urban biking, and I realized that the city looks different when you’re on a bike. I felt like that is part of what is going on — in all these cities — is this resurgence, and that’s how we approached it.”
“We just wanted to set it apart. We wanted to do something different.”
The ride will begin at the Toledo Museum of Art, with a serving and presentation by TMA Executive Chef Drew Ruiz.
Ruiz, an avid bike enthusiast, will join the bike tour following his stop.
“I ride my bike 12 months out of the year,” Ruiz said. “My only stipulation was that I wanted to do the first course so I could ride with them for the other four.”
“There’s something to be said for [dinners] that are set outside, and being outdoors and physically interacting with their world,” he added. “This, in my opinion, allows people to heighten their senses … occupied by more than just the plates in front of us.”
From TMA, the ride will move to Mancy’s Steaks, then back downtown for stops at Manhattan’s and the Oliver House Courtyard, and finishing at Registry Bistro.
Registry co-owner and Executive Chef Erika Rapp said she will be manning the kitchen during the Toledo ride, but she is signed up to bike the Cleveland leg of the tour.
“I think it’s a fun time,” Rapp said. “It’s great wine, and a chance for different restaurants to participate in a dinner together, and I like to ride my bike, so it’s a good time.”
Guests must provide their own bicycles and wear proper safety gear.
For those concerned about inebriated bicyclists, Mahler said that the portions of wine will be small enough that intoxication will not be an issue.
“We want to do this by the law, and be smart about it.”
Mahler hopes the success of the event will lead to more in the future.
“We’ll definitely keep this going. This year, the enthusiasm was really high. We’d like to do this every other year.”
The dinner costs $80, all-inclusive, and comes with a T-shirt with the Fête d’ Été logo.
At press time, the events for Toledo and Cleveland were sold out, but a waiting list is available on the website.
Tags: Adam Mahler, Ampelography, Andrew Ruiz, Anne Amie Vineyards, bicycle, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, dinner pairing, Drew Ruiz, Executive Chef Drew Ruiz, Mancy’s Steak House, Oregon, summer party, TMA, Toledo Museum of Art, wine tasting, winemaker, “Fête d'Été” bike ride tour