Foodie Events / Restaurants

Underrated Australian Wines Get a Major Spotlight Moment In Wine & Food Week’s Lavish Kickoff In The Woodlands

A Seven Course Meal Like No Other

BY // 06.07.23
photography Kelley Sweet Photography

In an intimate setting at the newly renovated Harrison’s restaurant in The Woodlands Resort, Wine & Food Week got off to a delicious start.  The 19th year of Wine & Food Week in The Woodlands kicked off with the Flavors of Australia dinner.

Constance McDerby, co-founder of Wine & Food Week, introduced the evening’s host —The Woodlands Resort’s David Federico. He also introduced wine ambassador Simon Solomon from Winebow Fine Wines and Spirits. Solomon brought wines to showcase from the Southern Hemisphere, while chefs from The Woodlands Resort group created a seven-course food menu paired to the special selected wines. Executive chef Ricardo Bravo presented each chef and their course as the evening progressed.

Solomon spent time talking about each winery, and the history of the selected wine. To say it was a lesson in wine education is putting it lightly.

Constance McDerby in red, is surrounded by the chefs for the Wine & Food Week kickoff dinner. Simon Solomon, far left, from Winebow. David Federico is in the back row, wearing a blue blazer.
Constance McDerby in red, is surrounded by the chefs for the Wine & Food Week kickoff dinner. Simon Solomon, far left, from Winebow. David Federico is in the back row, wearing a blue blazer.

According to Solomon, Australian wines are often the product of sixth and seventh generation family-owned wine producers and their products are “liquid geography and history lessons.” He also highlighted the organic, sustainable processes that many winemakers in Australia are noted for using.

An especially impressive wine was Henschke Henry’s Seven Red blend, which won top region wine honors in a blind taste test at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Henschke beat out of 3,200 entries.

But the wine lessons don’t end there. Most wineries in Australia take the name of the winemaker, with the exception of the Yalumba winery.

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The Yalumba name comes from the aboriginal term that means “the land around us.” This is Australia’s most historic winery, having been in the wine business for 170 years, according to Solomon. Yalumba’s stewardship of the winemaking process extends to barrel making. They are the only winery in the Southern Hemisphere to have an operational, on-site winery cooperage.

Chefs took turns impressing the lucky diners at the dinner with seven courses. The kitchen power included Sorriso’s David Buckley, E’terie executive chef Johana Gomez, Back Table chef Jonathan Lestingi and pastry chef Alyssa Haynes, who finished off the night with a sopapilla cheesecake.

Wine & Food Week in The Woodlands was founded 21 years ago when McDerby talked with The Woodlands Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The Woodlands Township and H-E-B about creating an event to highlight wines and food. McDerby tells PaperCity The Woodlands that H-E-B’s goal was to be “the number one retailer of wine in Texas.” The grocery giant has been a partner in Wine & Food Week in The Woodlands since the beginning.

Wine & Food week continues this week at a variety of locations across The Woodlands. Tickets are still available for most events.

PC Seen:  D’Artagnan and Angie Bebel, Ron and Marty Saikowski and Constance McDerby.

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