Dining With Denise Neil

Time running out to book Midwest Winefest wine dinners

Chester’s Chophouse is one of four restaurants putting on Midwest Winefest wine dinners this year.
Chester’s Chophouse is one of four restaurants putting on Midwest Winefest wine dinners this year.

UPDATE: As of Friday, April 17, the dinners at Chester’s and the Ambassador are sold out.


You still have time to decide whether you want to attend the Midwest Winefest Grand Tasting, the main event of the annual Midwest Winefest, scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. April 25 at the Century II Exhibition Hall.

But you’re running out of time to decide whether to attend one of the four lavish Midwest Winefest wine dinners, which happen the night before, on Friday, April 24. The deadline for reservations is noon on Tuesday. Each of the dinners start at 7 p.m., and dress is black-tie optional. A portion of the ticket price is price tax deductible. For reservations, call 316-682-5502. Here’s a look at the choices:


Benziger Family Winery Wine Dinner at Wichita Country Club, 8501 E. 13th St. N.: This five-course dinner, hosted by winery partner Chris Benziger, costs $135 a person and will start with assorted hors d’oeuvres passed butler-style; a fish course of cold corn bisque with avocado relish, chipotle cream and jumbo lump crab meat; a salad made of assorted spring greens with a roasted yellow pepper dressing garnished with smoked Muscovy duck breast, in intermezzo of Meyer lemon sorbet with caramelized ginger; herb-crusted beef tenderloin medallion with a bone marrow demi-glace, wild mushroom ragout, potatoes and baby kale salad; and chocolate meringue turban with Godiva chocolate ganache and fresh raspberry sauce. Each course will be paired with a different Benziger wine.


Chappellet Vineyard wine dinner at Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar, 1550 N. Webb Road: This dinner costs $140 a head and will include an avocado toast with Key West shrimp, radish and Norwegian bread cheese, and a sesame crisp and peach compote. The appetizer will be salmon smoke rillettes, egg mimosa, pickled red onion, capers, cornichons, crispy baguettes and dill Dijon sauce, and the fish course will be Florida snapper en papillote with leeks, zucchini, carrots, squash, Maryland crab and beurre rosette. Also on the menu: duck and chicken crepe with spinach, foi and bone marrow jus and raisin moutarde; filet with Provence spice, vegetable pissaladiere, sauce Robert and spring cress; and a cheese tartlet with macerated strawberries and a rhubarb compote. each course will be paired with a Chappellet vineyards wine.


Justin Vineyards & Winery dinner at Double Tree Hilton Wichita Airport, 2098 Airport Road: This dinner costs $135 a person and features a menu of assorted hors d’oeuvres passed butler-style; cold-poached diver scallop with Israeli couscous, grilled peach, tomato and mint with a red jalapeno vinaigrette; a pan-seared duck with gnocchi galette with a Port wine jus; beef Wellington with Cabernet demi-glace, truffled Yukon potato puree and braised fennel with spinach and shallot; a vareity of cave-aged cheeses, dried fruits and nuts; and a dessert of chocolate brioche English toffee bread pudding. Each course will be served with a different Justin Vineyards wine.


Rombauer Vineyard wine dinner at the Ambassador Hotel, 104 S. Broadway, : This dinner costs $140 a person and features seared branzini skewers with fennel pollen and bacon/spring onion vinaigrette plus smoked duck breast with sweet tomato-citrus relish; a fish couse of grilled prawns with creamy polenta, goat cheese and grilled asparagus; grilled chicken and fennel sausage with saffron linguini, marinated tomatoes, sliced peppadew and pecorino; a coffee braised short rib with baby carrots, Bermuda pearl onions and sweet stout cherry jus; and tiramisu mousse cake with candied orange and espresso cream. Each course will be served with a different Rombauer wine.