This past August, Cakebread Cellars savored a milestone: the 25th anniversary of our American Harvest Workshop (AHW), an annual celebration of American wine and food attended and led by leading chefs and artisan food purveyors. To commemorate the silver anniversary, we invited all the chefs from the past 24 workshops and were gratified that over 50 attended, along with our many longtime food purveyors. On Friday morning, August 19th, we greeted the group with a traditional Mexican breakfast at our Suscol Ridge Ranch. Half then went golfing with Dennis Cakebread, while the other half kayaked on the Napa River with Bruce Cakebread, with the entire group gathering for a lamb and Cabernet Sauvignon luncheon at our Foster Road Vineyard in the Carneros District.
The rest of the day Friday was devoted to preparing a Grand Chefs’ Tasting that evening, which transformed our winery and courtyard into an elegant setting for a gala celebration. Nearly 600 guests, including food and wine media and Cakebread Cellars wine club members, strolled the grounds sampling delectable creations prepared by our AHW alumni chefs at 25 separate food stations. Guests also attended workshops with leaders in the wine and food industry and mingled with the Cakebread family and other wine and food lovers from throughout the U.S.
Sharing his kitchen with 50 top chefs from around the world was a thrill for Cakebread Cellars Culinary Director and AHW Manager Brian Streeter.
“All the chefs and food purveyors had very fond memories of their previous AHW workshops and really wanted to come back to reconnect with the many friends they’d made here,” Brian says. “Those relationships are the key reason we keep doing the program. The 25th anniversary event required lots of hard work and preparation—we were planning it for over a year—but it was extremely rewarding to see it come to fruition. The energy in the winery the night of the event, both among the chefs and our guests, was truly amazing."
The Grand Chefs Tasting was not the end of the AHW anniversary weekend. On Saturday, members of the Cakebread family hosted several lunches for the chefs, including one at Jack and Dolores Cakebread’s home, followed that evening by a farewell 7-course sit-down meal, prepared by 16 chefs, for 100 people on the winery patio.
As if the 25th anniversary celebration wasn’t enough, Ten Speed Press, on August 15th, released The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook: Celebrating Wine, Food and Friends in the Napa Valley. A collaboration between Jack and Dolores Cakebread, Brian Streeter and author Janet Fletcher, the cookbook features home-tested recipes from the winery and AHW chefs and food purveyors. The sumptuous recipes utilize locally available ingredients, are grouped seasonally and are paired with Cakebread Cellars wines. Over the next several months, Brian Streeter and members of the Cakebread family will be signing the book at stores throughout Northern California and further afield. Those buying it at the winery can get copies signed by Dolores Cakebread. You may order your copy direct from the winery by calling (800) 588-0298