She was an amazing chef, known throughout the Finger Lakes - and beyond - for her imaginative menus and creative culinary skill, and she was a warm and friendly neighbor to those of us who call this beautiful Seneca Lake area our home. Debra Whiting, co-owner of Red Newt Winery and Bistro, has been called an ambassador of the food and wine of the Finger Lakes Region and she was a huge supporter of the Finger Lakes Wine Festival. It is in large part due to her hard work that the festival has grown in size and stature making this coming weekend, a perfect time to honor her at the festival at the Watkins Glen International Race Track. There will be two opportunities for festival goers to pay tribute to the memory of Deb Whiting. The first will be to raise a glass during a special toast in her honor, prior to the blessing of the festival during the Yancey's Fancy Launch of the Lakes. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to watch a beautiful pictorial presentation of her life - on display on the second floor of the media center on both Saturday and Sunday.
Attendees are invited to don their best togas for the Yancy's Fancy Cheese Launch of the Lakes, which will commence at 6 PM on Friday. It is said to be the best way to get into the Wine Festival sampling spirit. Yancey's Fancy will offer sampling of their world-famous cheese, and wine from several wineries will be on sale. There will also be concessions , live music, and fireworks - all for only $15. The two tasters with the best togas will be blessed by Bacchus, the god of wine, and crowned King and Queen of the 2011 festival. They will receive crystal champagne flutes from the Vee Collection compliments of Steuben Glass. In addition, they will receive free admission to the 2012 festival. Proceeds of the ticket sales for Launch of the Lakes will be donated to the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty in Debra Whiting's memory.
This year marks the fifteenth Annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival - when the Watkins Glen International Raceway transforms into a huge Finger Lakes Wine tasting room. This year, over 600 New York Wines will be sampled. On Saturday and Sunday - in addition to wine, the festival will feature food, arts and crafts from across the state, culinary classes, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and more. For information contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 888-461-7223, or the Wine Festival Website.