It's yet another week, though this one also happens to mark the 13th annual Washington, DC International Wine & Food Festival. Events get underway at the Ronald Reagan Building on Thursday, with competitions pitting sommelier against sommelier and mixologist against mixologist. Then this coming weekend, there'll be a grand tasting featuring more than 600 wines, bites from restaurants like Jack Rose and Taberna del Alabardero, an entire pavilion for Spain, and a whole bunch of other exhibitors. There are also, of course, going to be chef demos and even your very own chance to meet somebody named Alejandra Schrader, who was apparently a finalist on shouty chef Gordon Ramsay's show MasterChef.
General admission tickets are $85 for the Saturday tasting and $80 for the Sunday tasting or $145 for both days. Here's some more information on the schedule.
Sommelier Showdown, 7-9 p.m., $150
For the first time ever, the festival is hosting five local sommeliers — Theo Rutherford of The Coterie, Eli Benchimol of Chef Geoff's, Gustavo Iniesta of Taberna del Alabardero, Guy Golan of J&G Steakhouse and Brent Kroll of Adour — who will try to identify a variety of wines with hidden labels. Chefs Todd Gray, Jaime Montes de Oca and Xavier Deshayes are providing the hors d'oeuvres for the rest of us.
Cupid's Not Stupid, 7-10 p.m., $55
Because it's almost Valentine's Day, they're also putting on a little competition between DC mixologists, including the likes of Gina Chersevani, Rachel Sergi of Jack Rose and Dennis Burns of the Ronald Reagan Building. They'll be creating cupid-inspired cocktails and the price of admission includes tastes of each of these cocktails plus wine, beer and light snacks.
2 p.m. — Scott Drewno of The Source
3 p.m. — Bonnie Benwick of the Washington Post food section
4 p.m. — David Guas of Bayou Bakery
5 p.m. — Victor Albisu of BLT Steak
2 p.m. — Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna
3 p.m. — Javier Romero of Taberna del Alabardero
4 p.m. — Gina Chersevani, formerly of PS 7's
5 p.m. — Allison Sosna of DC Central Kitchen
· International Wine & Food Festival [Official Site]