In what they hope becomes an annual initiative, San Antonio's food worthies are introducing the "New World Wine and Food Festival." The event is an opportunity for several area chefs to showcase their wares, as well as guest chefs from points south and across the U.S. Some of the now-local goodies had their start in the Old Country, like the legendary vines from Hill Country wines that originally came from French stock.

Events kick off on Friday, November 1, with a lunch at Becker Vineyards in the Hill Country. Area chefs from Gladys at the Strand, Limestone Grill, and the Lodge restaurant will prepare a sumptuous feast, complemented by wines from Texas Hills, Spicewood, and Grape Creek vineyards, as well as Becker. You can keep on drinking all Friday afternoon, with a 3 p.m. tequila tasting of offerings from Jose Cuervo, paired with selected appetizers at Mi Tierra. Nearby at the Omni Hotel, test your palate for fine wines using the proper glasses for each, and then sample four leading wines by Texas vintners. At 7 p.m., the Westin Hotel on the River Walk plays host to foods by visiting chefs from Cuernavaca, Ensenada, and Florida, with more wine, this time featuring California vintners. If you have had enough to drink, drive up the bidding on the "rare and fine" wine auction that benefits KLRN. That's just day one.

Saturday and Sunday feature more events, including cooking classes with top chefs, a chocolate seminar by a leading cacao grower and chocolatier from Mexico, a champagne brunch, Texas in Tuxes with the Lone Star State's finest chefs, and wine, wine, and more wine. Money raised will support KLRN, the National Latino Children's Institute, and the San Antonio Parks Foundation. For more information, check out www.newworldwinefood.org, or call 392-7719.

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