If you’re a wine lover, every other year in Charlotte, it’s time to let it all wash over you. The Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend happens April 27-30, one of those great events that manages to pack in something for everyone from the experienced, big-budget connoisseur to the beginner on a tighter budget who wants to explore.

Note the order of the name: Wine & Food, not Food & Wine. There are plenty of special wine dinners are restaurants all over town, but the emphasis is definitely on wine. (And beer, too – breweries are a part of some events as well.) This year’s highlights:

April 27 and 28 Dinners

First, there’s Wednesday night’s in-home dinners at the homes of supporters with chefs and winemakers. That’s followed Thursday night by what they’re calling Charlotte’s Largest Dinner Party, when restaurants pair with winemakers to offer special menus. Tickets range from $150-$195 and are still available for Aria/Gaja Winery, Customshop/Round Pond Estate, Dressler’s/Barnett, Fahrenheit/Todd Anderson, Pumphouse/Burly Wine, Napa on Providence/Darioush, Upstream/Elk Cove, Zebra/Andy Erickson, Corkbuzz/Monticello, and Kindred/Valkyrie. (Sold out: Lumiere/Clos Selene, Bonterra/Arietta, Ruth’s Chris/Doubleback, Fig Tree/Hourglass.)

Grand Tasting Tent

There are two this year, 2-4 p.m. Friday, April 29 and 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 30, both are Romare Bearden Park. Over the years, this has been one of the weekend’s most popular events, when all the winemakers (and breweries, too) are on hand to pour samples of their wines and talk to you about them. If you’re just starting to explore what you like, this is like a crash course in great wine. Tickets this year are $100, with a special $75 price for people younger than 35.

Great All-American Tasting

2-4 p.m. Friday at Ruth’s Chris Uptown, this is a seminar-style tasting featuring all American wines. Tickets are $195.

Grand gala

The glamour time, 6-10 p.m. at Romare Bearden Park, with a champagne reception, multicourse dinner, auction, followed by fireworks at Knights Stadium. Tickets are $250.

1,000-Point Tasting

Always a big event for the serious wine lover, this is a seminar that features 10 wines that have been rated 100 points. It’s $375 (and if you know your wines, it would cost you a lot more to gather all those bottles yourself).

Spire Collection Tasting

2-4 p.m. Saturday at Ruth’s Chris Uptown. For $195, you get a tutored tasting of the limited-production Lokoya and Cardinale wines.

All those events raise money for the Council for Children’s Rights, Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, Second Harvest, Charlotte Concerts and SafeAlliance.

Take your pick, grab a ticket here and grab a glass. It won’t happen again until 2018.

Photo: Dustin Peck/Charlotte Observer

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