Each year, as March’s spring winds start to breeze through the region, local music fans feel a buzz in the air. It’s the energy of Wolf Trap’s summer concerts approaching. Devotees of the beloved venue get their first taste of the season at the annual Wine at Wolf Trap fundraiser, a tradition that sells out to 175 guests each year.
At the event, a five-course dinner created by chef and restaurateur Cathal Armstrong (a James Beard Award nominee best known for Kaliwa, Hummingbird and other local restaurants) is served alongside wines hand-selected by Jarad Slipp, a master sommelier and the former estate director at RdV Vineyards. There’s also a silent auction, music, dancing, Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, all in the name of supporting Wolf Trap.
Here, we spoke with Armstrong ahead of the event to get the inside scoop.
What types of wine and cuisine can guests expect at Wine at Wolf Trap this year?
There’s an Irish theme this year. There is a history of Irish people being involved in wine production. We’re looking at Irish ancestors and Irish immigrants making wine around the world that will work with the food we’re doing.
You’re Irish and from Dublin, so will you be making any homemade recipes for the dinner?
I’m making Irish speckled sausage for one of the dishes and Irish bacon. We’re going to do a very rustic partridge sausage. I’m doing cornbeef cabbage, a modern interpretation. We never had that growing up; that dish is more of an Irish-American thing. So, I won’t be making any of my mom’s recipes necessarily, but it’s definitely a good opportunity to show off some Irish food.
Why is Wine at Wolf Trap important to you?
Wolf Trap is a nonprofit organization and it depends on events like this as fundraisers to support the arts. Coming out to support live theater and live music … we have to make sure we preserve it. Get excited about the arts! // March 7; 6:30 p.m.; The Barns at Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Road, Vienna; $500