WESTFIELD - From vineyard walks to cycling, from gardening to food and wine, there is something for everyone in the 2012 summer classes and events recently announced by Johnson Estate Winery as part of the second annual Chautauqua in June Learning Festival.
The festival, aimed at capitalizing on the area's tradition experiential learning, will offer over 75 vacation learning opportunities for three weeks beginning in late May. The Festival is a collaboration of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Planning and Economic Development, Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown Community College's Center for Continuing Education, SUNY Fredonia's Center for Lifelong Learning and area businesses including Johnson Estate.
During its 2011 anniversary year, Johnson Estate inaugurated its Sunday Morning Vineyard Walks, which will again be offered in 2012 on selected dates throughout the summer, beginning on May 27. Participants will join owner Fred Johnson on a relaxing and walk through the Estate's vineyards and end at the winery for a tour and light brunch. Heavy rain, however, cancels these walks.
And, speaking of weather, that's the theme of Johnson Estate's Winemaker's Dinner, "What's Weather Got to Do With It?" scheduled for Saturday, June 2. Chefs Ross Warhol, Alex Gray and Marisa Love from the Athenaeum Hotel have planned appetizers and a four-course menu which will highlight different Johnson Estate vintages. For example, the menu will include both the 2009 and 2010 vintages of Chambourcin. The weather in 2009 was cold and rainy and in 2010, hot and sunny, and the resulting wines, while both delicious, are very different. The menu, to be available online next week, reflects the chefs' interest in local foods and will include ramps and fresh local strawberries.
For the first time, Johnson Estate is also sponsoring a Vistas and Vino Cycling Tour, which will be led by the winery's wholesale manager Bob Dahl, an experienced cyclist affiliated with the Hollyloft Bike Shop in Jamestown. The group will visit three vista points as well as three wineries and end at Johnson Estate for a buffet lunch. Other winery classes include "How to Make Pesto" and "Propagating Daylilies and Iris," the latter to be held at the Nass Daylily Farm and Johnson Estate. The winery's classes are listed below and more details and registrations are available under News and Events/Calendar at www.johnsonwinery.com.
May 27, June 3 and 17, July 8, 15, 22 and 29 and Aug. 5 and 12 - Sunday Morning Vineyard Walks, 9 10:30 a.m. Take a vineyard walk with Fred Johnson, then a tour of the winery followed by a brunch pairing. $25 per person.
June 2 - Winemaker's Dinner, "What's Weather Got to Do With It?", 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Meet Winemaker Jeff Murphy and Chef Ross Warhol. Four-course dinner plus appetizers with "al fresco" dining in the vineyards, and featuring multiple vintages of Johnson Estate wines. $60 per person. Reserve by May 28.
June 16 - A Day in the Garden, Propagating Iris and Daylilies at Johnson Estate and Nass Daylily Farm, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A hands-on experience including a picnic luncheon. $50 per person.
June 23 - How to Make Pesto: A Garden Walk, Demonstration and Tasting, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wine pairings, tastings and samples to take home. Guest speaker Kathleen Ramm, Ribbon Road Farm. $25 per person.
June 24 - Vistas and Vino: A Cycling Tour in Chautauqua County, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Three vista points, three wineries. Sag vehicle provided to bring purchases back to purchaser's car. Buffet luncheon at Johnson Estate after ride. $25 per person.
July 12, 19, 26 and Aug. 16 - What's Terroir? A Vineyard Walk and Tasting, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Group departs from Turner at Chautauqua in class bus. Pairings with six wines in the vineyards. A special studies course no. 1913. Register for these classes at Chautauqua Institute.
July 27 - Locavore Wine Pairing Supper in the Winery, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Six wine and food pairing stations including local beef, chicken, fruits and vegetables. $35 per person.
Johnson Estate Winery, the oldest estate winery in New York State, is located in the heart of America's Grape Country and is a member of the Lake Erie Wine Country). For more information about these events or reservations for specific events, visit www.johnsonwinery.com, or www.facebook.com/johnsonwinery, or call 326-2191.