Eve Interviews Local Winemaker Stephen Hemmert on: Picnic de Chefs
Club Culinaire’s 32nd Picnic des Chefs is next Sunday, May 20. In wanting to prep readers as to why they may want to attend this gastric feast of both food and wine I reached out to local winemaker, Stephen Hemmert, to tell us a little more about the kid-friendly event:
Hi Stephen, could you tell us some of your past experiences at Picnic de Chefs?
My first Picnic de Chef’s was last year and what an amazing event. The grounds and facilities are beautiful, the wines and foods are fabulous. And note: it is also a family event. There are all kinds of activities for kids including, but not limited to inflatable bouncers/jumpers, swimming and water slides.
Not only were there numerous wineries or brokers pouring delightful wines, but there was an open bar conveniently located near the restrooms. You can start off your day like I did with a glass of Pernod. That indeed is the breakfast of champions.
Any interesting wines or foods you’ve sampled at the event?
There were so many wines and so little time I truly can’t say anything stood out in my memory. I’m lucky that I remember attending, if you know what I mean. Trust me, there were so many choices and so many great wines.
As far as the food? Although there were many amazing culinary treats, my favorite was, the cheese tent. OMG the cheeses were out of this world. And of course, most went well with the wines being served.
The food tents are set up as various areas or regions of France; Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, etc. Each tent will feature foods and receipts distinct to that region. This to me was truly awesome as you got to savor the best that each region has to offer in French cuisine.
Why do you attend?
And anything else you think our readers might want to know?
Some might think the distance from the SCV to Agoura Hills too far of a drive but it is well worth the trip. Not only will the food and wine be superb but there will be live music, drawings for vacations and other fabulous gifts. Not to mention, beautiful people and an atmosphere I can only describe as something out of a European film. If you attend, you will find it magical. Come on out and see me as I will be representing Le Chene, (Juan has a catering event that day). I will be pouring Juan’s Red 2010 and other wines that we just bottled this Monday, May 7th. Also in attendance will be our stable mate in wine, Reyes Vineyards. I can’t wait.
Stephen Hemmert is a local winemaker who has been making wine since 1997. This week he bottled his first “Professional” estate grown wine under my own label, ”Stephen Hemmert” Oasis Vineyard Zinfandel 2010. Stephen also has been making wine for and with Juan Alonso (The owner or Le Chene) for about five years. Their first professional debut as a label was with the release of Juan’s Red 2009. The two just finished bottlings of a 2010 Cab/Merlot, Tannat, Grenache, Syrah and a sweet white wine called Dulce Blanco. All the wines are available for purchase at Le Chene (http://www.lechene.com), including Stephen’s Zinfandel.