BriarPatch brings virtual wine and food pairing event to the masses

FOR SAM VANDEGRIFT, self-proclaimed “Provocateur of Vinous Joy,” sensory storytelling is the way to connect people to wine and food.

His own wine journey spanning two decades can be traced back much earlier, to when he was a boy running around barefoot in his mom’s garden in Willamette Valley, Oregon where he developed his palate on sun-ripened blackberries and plums. He wouldn’t realize it until years later, but his senses stored away a memory of a winery tour with his sister’s Girl Scout troop when he was seven.

Skip ahead to a young adult version of Sam visiting his aunt and uncle in the UK when he took his first sip of Italian wine.

“It blew my mind that something could taste like that,” he said. He was transported back in time to that winery barrel room he visited as a kid and knew he was onto something.

The sensory experience that triggered his memories laid the groundwork for a lifetime of drinking wine and helping others connect with similar stories of joy.

Vandegrift is the host of Wine and Food Pairing Secrets, a 90-minute virtual wine and food pairing event presented by BriarPatch Food Co-op via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

“We’re going to talk about pairings and why things go together. It’s going to be more of a social hour,” said Vandegrift.

Putting the puzzle together

Locals will have the chance to tune in collaboratively with cooperative markets from around the country as Vandegrift shares his passion and talks about wines from specific regions.

Participants will sample up to four wines along with paired foods. BriarPatch Owners and Shoppers who register for the event will receive a $10 store credit toward the purchase of “class materials.” BriarPatch Wine Buyer Charles Brock has curated the suggested wine list and paired nibbles for the evening.

People don’t have to be hip to wine jargon to enjoy wine, Vandegrift says. He helps people realize that wine doesn’t have to be intimidating and everyone has the skills they need once they find their personal connections with wine flavor and become comfortable with it. This event is designed to be fun and accessible.

“It’s a little about putting a puzzle together. It’s a constant road of discovery. I want people to find pleasure and joy in this,” said Sam.

Samuel Vandegrift is an award-winning sommelier who worked in nearly every facet of the wine trade from wholesale and importing to writing and education. He also is a lover and drinker of wine whose mission is spreading the word about delicious. Connecting people with awesome wine is what he wakes up every day to do. He holds a Diploma of Wine and Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Learn more and register:

—Laura Petersen

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