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Beaux Arts Wine Festival

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Boise wine connoisseurs, mark your calendars and prepare your palettes. The 18th annual Beaux Arts Wine Festival kicks off this Sunday, April 17, and ends April 23. As the largest wine festival in the area with over 2,000 expected to attend, another great turnout is anticipated and all proceeds benefit the Boise Art Museum. The Beaux Arts Société is a volunteer organization which raises funds to financially support Boise Art Museum's exhibitions, general operating and administrative expenses, as well as their numerous educational experiences.

Art benefactors and wine appreciators alike (if there is a difference) can relax and have fun at this weekend's festival and donate to a worthwhile cause simultaneously. Residents take their pick of local dining establishments participating in the vinter dinners scheduled each night, consisting of gourmet meals complemented by select premium wines. Mosaic Gallery Bar, Richard's of Hyde Park, the Cottonwood Grille, Andrae's, Berryhill & Co. and the Melting Pot are the slated restaurants for this gastronomic extravaganza featuring selections such as Canoe Ridge, Diageo Chateau and Estates, Maison Joseph Drouhin, Argyle Winery, and wines from the Wagners of Caymus Vineyards.

The Boise Centre on the Grove hosts the wine tasting and silent auction Friday ($35 per person, $40 at door), with over 250 wines to sample to the musical accompaniment of pianist Josh Archibald-Seiffer. The gala on Saturday ($100 per person) features dinner, dancing, and a live auction in addition to the premium wine tasting and silent auction of Friday's events. Music by the Rockin' Hippies play at this black tie optional affair.

Before the gala, The Cellars at Eagle City Market will teach the public how to pair food and wine under the direction of executive chef, Mike Mohica. There's always more to learn when it comes to food and wine, and The Cellars events throughout the festival are designed to educate and delight all levels of wine enthusiasts. So squint your eyes and pretend you're visiting the vineyards of Tuscany, Australia or even Idaho, and revel in the chance of experiencing a great variety of wine through several diverse venues.

SCHEDULE OF VINTNER DINNERS:

Sunday, April 17: Mosaic Gallery Bar-Joe Dewey, owner; Dave Borja and Andrew Mayer, chefs; Eric Donenfield, sous chef. Features Canoe Ridge Vineyard of Washington. $100, 6:30 p.m.; call 345-8330, ext. 33 for reservations. 500 W Main St, Boise, 338-5006.

Monday, April 18: Richard's of Hyde Park-Jennifer and Erik McLaughlin, owners; Randy King, executive chef. Features wines from the Wagners of Caymus Vineyards of California. $100, 6:30 p.m.; call 345-8330, ext. 33 for reservations. 1520 N. 13th St., 331-9855.

Tuesday, April 19: Cottonwood Grille-Peter Blatz, owner/chef; Hiliary Blatz, owner/director of operations. Features Argyle Winery of Oregon. $100, 6:30 p.m.; call 345-8330, ext. 33 for reservations. 913 W. River St., 333-9800, www.cottonwoodgrille.com.

Wednesday, April 20: The Melting Pot-Helen and Howard Wasserstein, owners. Features Diageo Chateau and Estates of California, France and Italy. $100, 6:30 p.m.; call 345-8330, ext. 33 for reservations. 200 N. 6th St., 383-0900.

Wednesday, April 20: Berryhill & Co. Café and Wine Bar-John Berryhill, owner; Charles Schroeder, executive chef. Features Australian Wines. $100, 6:30 p.m.; call 345-8330, ext. 33 for reservations. 2170 Broadway Ave., 387-3553, www.berryhillandco.com.