On Aug. 28, 1798 the first successful United States vineyard was established in Kentucky. There are a multitude of wineries and vineyards with “first ” claims but John James Dufour is credited with the first successful commercial vineyard and winery in America. The native of Switzerland named the winery The First Vineyard. His plan was to establish a Swiss colony and winery about 25 miles from Lexington, Kent. There were other vineyard attempts but they failed because the European vines did not do well in the new soil and could not fight the new diseases in the terroir. Dufour found that the Cape variety seemed to do well because it was a cross between a wild native grape and a European grape. His first group of investors lost interest in the Kentucky project so he moved to land north of the Ohio River in the Indiana Territory. Some records recognize the Indiana effort over the Kentucky start but both played a part in the future of viticulture in the United States. The first vineyard in Kentucky proved that a new wine grape could survive this side of the Atlantic and the Indiana effort proved it could succeed. Cheers to John James Dufour.
More cheers to Mike and Vicky Fagan for opening Mike’s Grill, 1772 Pleasant Valley Road in Placerville. They are having a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration Friday, Aug. 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. Stop by to welcome them and to see the new restaurant. For more details call 530-642-2347.
There will be French wine at the book launch party for “The Dordogne Deception” by Sherry Joyce on Friday, Aug. 30 at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd. in El Dorado Hills, from 6 to 8 p.m. The book is set in Southwestern France so the French wine will be complemented by French-themed music and prizes. There is a pre-event happy hour at Bistro 33 across from Face in a Book from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The public is invited to both.
Another great place to enjoy some wine or beer is the Fair Play Pub, 7915 Fairplay Road in Fair Play. There are weekly events and specials and host Ian Schofield is always coming up with more fun things to do. Call 530-620-1500 to get a current schedule.
Lake Tahoe is a fun place to be for the Labor Day weekend. The 21st Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler Race is Saturday, Aug. 31. California’s Tahoe Queen and Nevada’s M.S. Dixie II battle for bragging rights and the best place to be is on one of the paddlewheelers. There is brunch on board from 10 until 11 a.m. and then the paddlewheelers depart from respective marinas to battle it out on beautiful Lake Tahoe. Spectators can also watch from the beach. For Tahoe South information and race information contact 1-800-AT-TAHOE (1-800-288-2463) or tahoesouth.com.
Skies over Tahoe South is Sunday, Sept. 1 at 8:30 p.m. This Labor Day Weekend Fireworks Extravaganza pyrotechnic exhibition explodes over Lake Tahoe after dusk and features all the flowers, patterns, shapes and designs. The show features a simultaneous music broadcast that can be heard on local stations KRLT-FM 93.9 and KOWL-AM 1490. The fireworks are visible from all over town.
A great place to enjoy great food with spectacular wine is the Pairings lunches at Miraflores Winery, 2120 Four Springs Trail in the Pleasant Valley area, on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The four-course meals are served on the covered terrace and present a special menu created each week to match the wines. On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, Chef Christina Machamer, season four winner on Hell’s Kitchen, is preparing the meal. Diners will be able to talk to the chef while taking in the view of the vineyard. To make a reservation call 530-647-8505.
Filmfare at the El Dorado County library, 345 Fair Lane in Placerville, is an all cartoon festival on Saturday, Aug. 31. The outdoor projector movies start at 7:45. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and have a fun night. Donations benefit Friends of the Library. For titles pick up a flyer at the library or call 530-621-3012.
The El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce Charity Golf Tournament is accepting reservations for the Wednesday, Sept. 19 shoot out at Apple Mountain Golf Resort in Camino. There is an early-bird special of $135 if paid by Sept. 3. The price goes up to $155 after that date. Golfers get green fees, cart, range balls, closest to pin, longest drive, furthest from the pin, prizes, free beverages on the course, lunch and dinner. The shotgun start is at 12:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Family Connections El Dorado.To play call 530-621-5885.