We’re proud to host some of the best culinary talent in the country. Our expert chefs will tantalize your taste buds and our unmatched global wine selections will make for a truly memorable experience. Enjoy unique culinary stylings alongside beautiful Lake Oconee.
It was never clear how this adventure was going to turn out. In the late 60’s when my family started to grow wine grapes in Napa Valley, there was no one to show them the way. There was plenty of advice, to be sure, but in truth no one had started a successful Napa vineyard since Prohibition. They were, in a word, crazy.
Their lunacy was infectious, however, and a few other enterprising souls joined the gambit: Tony Baldini, our first viticulturist; David Whitehouse, our first “real” winemaker; Richard DeGarmo, Mr. fix-it; Mary Ware, queen of the office and everyone’s schedule. I grew up with them and consider them all family. A shared passion brought them to us, and my parents received them with open arms. They settled into their respective posts, not as hired hands, but as equals in a shared endeavor. As I settle into my own role in the family business, I find this remarkable dynamic preserved and count myself blessed to spend my days working with old and new friends that quickly feel like family.
The land focuses our energies, as it always has, challenging us to understand its soils, the vines that grow in them, and the way fog drifts through the rows in the morning. It is an eternal learning process – each question answered reveals another be asked – but it’s a journey we love to take with each and every vintage. It also defines us and the wines we make, providing the vital essence of every bottle that bears our name. Decisions made in the vineyard and cellar not only guide the expression of the land, but affect the very soul of the wine. For this reason, we have always committed ourselves to estate production, adamant that we should be the ones growing the grapes and turning them into wine. Our passion requires it.
One Family. One Estate. One Passion. This is who we are.
- Loren Trefethenclose
Check back soon for an updated list of 2019 Chef participants!
“Food is not just for sustenance…it’s a way of life.” Chef Paula Sims Ballard was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana where she discovered her passion for cooking at an early age. In 2005, Chef Paula became the Co-Owner and Executive Chef of the Sycamore Grill, a fine dining restaurant housed in an 18th century historic mansion in the heart of downtown Stone Mountain, Georgia. Well known for its fabulous cuisine, it became a local favorite and destination spot. During her reign, Chef Paula took the Sycamore Grill to new heights with innovative cuisine and southern hospitality at its finest. Sycamore Grill has been featured in The Atlantan, Bon Appétit and the Treasures of Georgia.
In 2013, Paula created For Wineauxs Only through her passion for the love and enjoyment of food and wine. For Wineauxs Only, specializes in private wine tastings, wine dinners, education and food and wine pairing experiences. Chef Paula is also Chef/Co-Owner of The Bistro, a delightful lunch café in Olde Town Conyers, Georgia. Her other endeavors include Chef Instructor with Vino Venue/The Atlanta Wine School conducting cooking classes, cooking competitions and private events.
Teri Blevins started her culinary career creating snacks for her siblings and their friends in exchange for doing her chores in her hometown of St. Albans, WV. Known as the Food Mom, Teri has had a lifelong passion for baking and cooking. In 2010, Teri entered Duncan Hines Red Carpet Cupcake Challenge and she placed in the top 10 nationally. The result was a flurry of inquiries, and Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes was born on August 1, 2010!
Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes has grown into one of the most successful bakeries in WV and in 2016, Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes moved into a beautiful historic brick and mortar bakery on Main Street in St. Albans. In the last ten months over 10,000 happy customers have enjoyed Gourmet Cupcakes, Heavenwiches (Gourmet Cookie Sandwiches) homemade pepperoni rolls, scones, cakes, cheesecakes and more.
Teri has provided cupcakes for Paula Deen’s Bag Lady Foundation Fundraiser in Lake Oconee, GA, Jennifer Garner’s Flood Relief Fundraiser, has been named to the 101 Most Unique Places to Dine in WV, and has been named #24 out of the Best 101 Cupcakes in the US by the Dailymeal.com. Local awards include Best of Taste and Peoples Choice at the 2016 Sweet Charity Dessert Competition. Teri is thrilled to be at the Food and Wine Festival and can’t wait to bring a taste of West Virginia to Georgia!
Corrado Corrias is a native of Sardegna, Italy. He started his career in the food industry in Rome when he was 18, working for Ciampini in Piazza Navona. He then moved to Chicago and managed two successful restaurants, before moving to Georgia. He helped open the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation in 2002 shortly after marrying his wife April, a native of Madison, Ga. In 2010, Corrado opened his own restaurant based on the recipes of his mother, Giovanna. Da Corrado Ristorante has since undergone two expansions and has become a favorite with locals and tourists alike, offering everything from Baked Sea Bass in salt to authentic Italian brick oven pizzas. Corrado is passionate about doing his best to ensure his guests are happy, well-fed, and having fun!
Larry, a Doctor of Chiropractic and Carol, a Chemical Engineer, lived and worked in the Atlanta suburbs but hadn’t met until they sat next to each other on a flight to California in 1999.
Larry retired in 2005 and 8 years later found himself yearning for more. “I wanted a new adventure, a new passion, something exciting and different,” he says. They found a similar business in Blue Ridge, Georgia and instantly fell in love with the product and concept.
They had a passion for the oils and vinegars but no location to call home base. Looking all over the Southeast, nowhere felt right until they heard about a small town in central Georgia. “Greensboro was just a speck on the map for us,” says Larry.
Larry and his wife Carol purchased a home in Reynolds in April, 2014 and the retail space in Lake Oconee Village two months later. They entered into a licensing agreement with a third-generation, family owned business in California called Veronica Foods (a 90 year old company) that imports award winning varieties of premium extra-virgin olive oils and naturally flavored and infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
One of Jim Jeffords’ favorite books is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and many aspects of the Moultrie, GA, native’s life story have embodied the wanderlust of a hitchhiker. After a few years of travel and self-discovery, Jeffords enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) and discovered his passion for food (and skiing, of course!).
Jeffords honed his culinary skills during an internship at Catch in Boston and after graduating from NECI in 2007, he moved to Washington, DC, to work for one of the most reputable chefs, Eric Zeibold of CityZen. Over the next five years, Jim continued to refine his techniques at CityZen. In 2011, Jeffords became Executive Chef of the Evening Star Café in Del Ray, VA where he brought new life to the establishment by revamping the menu with a focus on southern-inspired, locally-sourced products, many of which were grown on the restaurant’s rooftop garden.
In 2014, Jeffords became Executive Chef of Right Proper Brewing Company in DC, but when his wife accepted a job in Georgia a few weeks later, the couple returned to their southern roots and relocated their family to Atlanta. Jeffords worked as a freelance chef for a few months until he purchased the Country Buffet, a local mainstay on the downtown square in his wife’s hometown of Sandersville. Jim has kept the classic comfort food offerings of the Buffet, but offers more refined, creative options through his catering business.
When not at the restaurant or catering a special event, Jeffords enjoys relaxing with his wife and three children, spending time outdoors, and remodeling their old house – his favorite spot in the galaxy.
The Last Resort Grill serves southwestern-inspired cuisine in Athens, Georgia. Known for an exciting array of foods that complement Athens distinctive character, Last Resort chefs celebrate their southern roots by preparing menus with unique twists, inspired by local ingredients. The flavors of their unique fare extends from farmers, growers, and bakers that call Athens home. Using traditional methods such as open fire, grilling, brining, pickling and preserving, The Last Resort has had a long-standing commitment to serving the finest food to the local community.
The original Last Resort opened as a music club in 1966. The club hosted passionate performers such as the Reverend Pearly Brown, Towns Van Zandt, Doc Watson, Jimmy Buffet and Steve Martin. Today, this passion is reflected in the Last Resort menu, which draws directly from the room’s eclectic history. The Last Resort prides itself on its commitment to serving the local community and supporting the growth and preservation of Athens.
Prior to joining the team at Reynolds Lake Oconee, Chef Moore led culinary operations at the prestigious Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Turnberry Isle in Miami, Florida, and the flagship Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, Florida, where he maintained Mobile Five Star and AAA Five Diamond status for four seasons. In 2003, Chef Moore was recognized by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Master Chef – the highest level of certification available.
Moore has made a name for himself on an international stage. For nearly a decade, Chef Moore was selected to represent the United States in international competitions including the highly regarded World Culinary Olympics in Germany. Overall, he has received 13 international awards and more than 30 medals domestically.
Since joining the Reynolds team in 2015, Chef Moore has opened the award winning Tavern at The National Village.
After many years of cooking and catering delicious BBQ for family, friends, and some experience in the restaurant industry, Eric decided to take his show on the road and in 2004, The Rolling Grill BBQ was born.
Eric currently travels across the country cooking Award Winning Championship BBQ in various competitions. His vast knowledge of BBQ and grilling has allowed him the opportunity to compete on hit television shows such as BBQ Pitmasters Seasons 4 and 5 and BBQ Pit-wars Season 2. In mid-February 2018, he appeard on Food Networks’s Chopped. Eric has is also the author of How to Start a Home-Based Food Truck Business.
Eric has also been one of 30 pit masters from around the country serving as a Barbecue Brand Ambassador for Kraft’s ‘Garland Jack Secret Six BBQ Sauce and has worked with companies including Western Premium BBQ Products, Stubbs BBQ Sauce, Tyson’s Chicken, Coca Cola and more!
Eric is a Certified Kansas City Barbecue Society Judge and shares his years of cooking knowledge by offering BBQ 101 & Advance Pitmaster cooking classes nationwide.
In 2009, Angie Tillman of Phickles began selling pickled veggies off her front porch in Athens, Georgia. Demand for her veggies grew quickly with both locals and stores from Athens and Atlanta to the Florida panhandle. In 2010, Tillman moved pickle production into a licensed kitchen and onto the shelves of specialty food stores and boutiques all over the Southeast United States.
Through Tillman’s love of cooking and sharing recipes online with fans of her pickles, she has added several favorite family recipes to the Phickles Brand including cheese spreads, barbeque sauces, salsa and pepper jellies – each with its own, unique and PHUN name, for example Hot Mess, Southern Charm and Moppin’ & Shindig Sauce! Angie’s motto for both life and food is: If it ain’t fun… don’t do it!
With the help of a throwback recipe, peppers from his garden, and a passion for grilling, Eric Wisham began getting creative with his pepper jelly batches during the summer of 2012. After a busy summer spent at his local farmers market in downtown Tifton, Georgia, in October 2013, Eric began his peppery journey to create and make Wisham Jellies for store shelves. Wisham Jellies Pepper Jellies are handmade with whole peppers and fruits, and keeps their ingredient list short and sweet!
Wisham Jellies can be used as a last minute glaze for meats and vegetables on the grill, to create a peppery vinaigrette for salads, or as a spicy kick to your favorite cocktail. You’ll find heat + sweet in every jar!
Wisham’s signature flavors are Cranberry (2015 Flavor of GA Winner), Wild Mayhaw (2016 Flavor of GA Winner), Fire!, Mango, Peachy Peach, Pineapple and Strawlapeño, Blazing Blueberry, and Orange Ginger.
Participating Wineries & Distilleries
Enjoy our delectable wines and spirits from global, national, and regional wineries and distilleries. Our 2019 line-up includes over 200 varieties for your tasting pleasure!
Entertainment Served Fresh!
“When I write, I try to envision my live show and how the songs will translate to my fans. Personally, I’m in a really good place right now, and I am sure my new material reflects that. I am so excited to get these tunes out to everyone soon.”
Eric Dodd, MV2 Entertainment singer-songwriter, CMT Discovery Artist, and Greensboro, Georgia native took his time moving to Nashville. He wanted to learn the road first by playing shows wherever there were people willing to listen. He wanted to know how it felt to travel and sleep in a van with a band and give it all to the grind… to the music. For his first four years full-time in the music business, Dodd played over 500 shows by making his rounds on the SEC college circuit and around Georgia all while honing his songwriting skills. Between 2011 and 2014, he released four albums independently to his loyal, grassroots following, and the word kept spreading and still is. “It’s like a muscle, you have to keep working it. Whether it’s writing songs or playing shows, it’s all about getting to the people and keeping in touch with them.”
Growing up a talented golfer, Dodd earned a golf scholarship to Georgia College and State University. Although golf was his first love, he was more was in love with music.
In 2015, Dodd began working with one of his best buddies and high school bandmate, Jesse Triplett (Collective Soul’s lead guitarist) who produced Dodd’s 2016 release, ‘FUN / FIRE/ RAIN.’ Later that year, Eric was picked as a CMT Discovery Artist. Dodd’s video for the party anthem, “Outskirts” reached the #1 spot on CMT’s 12-Pack Countdown twice. The singer-songwriter’s positive vibe and feel good lyrics combined with the soothing tone of his voice and impassioned guitar skills is continuing to win over crowds wherever he plays. “I always aim for my shows to be engaging. Music is an escape from reality, and I want to give people that and take them on a trip during the hour I get with them,” he explains.
Dodd has shared the stage with Jake Owen, Old Dominion, Sam Hunt, Zac Brown Band, and most recently Sister Hazel, Corey Smith and Cole Swindell. “Opening up for Sister Hazel’s sold out show at the Georgia Theatre in Athens (Georgia) has to be one of my favorite moments onstage. I earned my music business degree from UGA so it was one of those full circle moments,” says Dodd. Stay tuned for updates on Eric Dodd’s new release hitting Spotify and iTunes early 2018.close
Enjoy national and local talent as you feast your way through tasty food and hundreds of wines! Updates on 2019 Festival musicians and live entertainment coming soon!
Tim Cadiere & Washboard Road bring an electric vibe to any stage. Their rhythmic set list is often a combination of pop, country, rock and blues. There’s not much you can throw at Cadiere that he can’t play, sing or perform. Tim Cadiere’s soulful original songs have cajun-country overtones with a dash of creole spunk brought over from his native Louisiana. You’ll find Tim and his band Washboard Road playing their music at several venues around the Lake Oconee, Augusta and South Carolina areas.
In 2009, Tim Cadiere’s radio hit, “Thinking Outside The Box” gathered attention and opened many doors for him and the band. In the following months, they went on a radio tour through the United States. Tim was voted 2012 best musician for Lake Oconee Living Magazine People’s Choice Awards and Tim Cadiere and Washboard Road have released a new single, “Proud.” The song paints a picture of the pride that comes from a small, rural town like Lake Oconee and its surrounding areas. “Proud” is a patriotic ballad and holds a special place in the lives of many Lake Oconee residents, and the last verses are dedicated to Army Spc. Erica Alecksen of Eatonton, GA who gave her life for our country.
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