The cognoscenti have probably booked up these excellent value special dinners that start tomorrow, but maybe, just maybe, there are still some seats available. They get booked early because those in the know understand that these wine dinners give chefs a chance to branch out from the regular menu, to try out new dishes, to confer with wine reps and sommeliers to concoct dishes that best complement interesting wines. The wines are almost always very affordable – good values that may be not so well known. There is always something new to learn at these evenings, about food or about wine or about the other convivial diners. If you haven’t been trying a wine dinner, you really should.

  • John Varanese will host his 7th Annual Grgich Hills Wine Dinner at his namesake restaurant, Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave. on Tuesday, Jan 12, at 6:30 p.m. His menu includes grilled octopus carpaccio, phyllo-stuffed ham and cheese with olive tapenade, duck meatballs and pasta in Asian BBQ sauce, porcini-dusted prime strip steak and fried blueberry cheesecake. The cost, with wine pairings, is $75.  Sean Barrett of Grgich Hills Estate will be on hand to discuss his wines. Call (502) 899-9904 or email
  • Wednesday, Jan. 13 at  p.m. Seviche, Bardstown Rd. will offer a special dinner featuring Argentine wines. Dishes will include pickled jalapeño and pimento cheese toasts, duck nachos with lime aioli, prime beef short ribs over Manchego grits, churrascos de Argentina and a blue cheese flan with roasted pear and dulce de leche. Rich Buchanan, Brand Education Manager for Moet-Hennessy USA, will be on hand to answer questions about the featured pairings. Cost is $75 for dinner and wine.  Call (502) 473-8560 or email
  • And finally, Brasserie Provence, 150 N. Hurstbourne Pkwy., will host a 5-Course Bordeaux Wine Dinner on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. Bruce Robson, Wine Educator and Director of Fine Wines for Southern Wine & Spirits, will talk about his selections from 5 different Bordeaux regions, which use different blending of Bordeaux grapes. Chef de Cuisine Edoardo Bacci’s menu pairs the wines with specialties from Bordeaux such as Potage Garbure, a hearty soup of pork, beans, leeks and root vegetables; dried mushroom-dusted salmon with caraway-fennel marmalade; grilled lamb chops; and apple-Camembert crepe. The meal and wine pairings will be $65. Call (502) 883-3153 or go to