Columns by John

John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

The Taste of Parkersburg

Area food, wine and beer lovers should mark their calendars for the weekend of May 31-June 1 and seriously consider attending the annual Taste of Parkersburg (TOP).

This event features gourmet edibles from local restaurants, West Virginia farm to table foods and a whole host of wines from around the world. You will also be able to taste a good sampling of craft beers too. In addition, TOP will feature local artisans and crafters as well as excellent music.

The weekend kicks off with a special Bordeaux wine tasting from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday May 31, at the Blennerhassett Hotel. Parkersburg native and Bordeaux’s U.S. wine ambassador Robert Cavanaugh will share his knowledge of the famous French region, and lead attendees through a tasting of eight wines.

Cavanaugh is a master sommelier with certifications from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London (WSET), the Court of Master Sommeliers and Le Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux as part of the International Bordeaux Ambassador program.

From all accounts, Cavanaugh sounds like my kind of wine guy. He says he got his start in the beverage industry at Parkersburg’s North End Tavern where, I assume, he was inspired to move beyond that frothy amber fluid to the fruit of the vine.

On Saturday June 1, there will be several events taking place simultaneously – all from about 5 to 11 p.m., including tasting the wares of several restaurants, sampling wine and beer from a multitude of vendors - all the while being entertained by several different musical groups.

In addition to the public events, there will be a trade wine tasting on Friday afternoon where those involved in the wine industry are invited to taste and interact with winery representatives.

Events will take place in and around the Blennerhassett Hotel located at 3rd and Market Streets in downtown Parkersburg. For ticket prices or other information, you may call 304-865-0522 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sounds like a great weekend.
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