It’s A Family Thing


Every so often, an opportunity presents itself to work with or be inspired by a person or a group that share your commitment and passion for their livelihood. That is the fortunate position we at Seven Glaciers find ourselves in this February 26th—the evening of Seven Glacier’s second winter wine dinner featuring the Wagner family of wine especially the Caymus vineyards. This is a night not to be missed. The very special dinner will feature wines from all of the Wagner’s labels: Mer Soleil, Belle Glos, and of course, Caymus!

As professional chefs, it is easy to get frustrated and often burned out by those who don’t take their work to heart.  Perhaps it’s because so much of what we do is repetitive, mundane, routine. Often adhering to strict rules steeped in tradition. We repeat the same processes and techniques daily, sometimes several times a day.  Any chance to refine a technique, to make something different – new – better is looked upon with admiration and appreciation by peers.  Knowing when to deviate from tradition, when to add your own creative juice is what separates a great chef from the crowd.

Chuck Wagner arm wrestles father, Charlie Wagner Senior

It may not be knowledge per se, but you can’t successfully break from the process without understanding it and why it exists. For example, on the Caymus vineyards website, there is a video of Chuck Wagner talking about his father and the inspiration for Conundrum. Apparently, Charlie Wagner Sr. was a fan of blending his own wine… at the table. Think of your favorite food that your grandmother made. A pinch of this, a smidge of that… and voila! Magic in a single bite! Or in this case… sip.

I knew Chef Jason Porter and I were on the right track when we drafted a rough menu before tasting the wines as sort of a template of what we’d like to present for this special occasion. While researching tasting notes, two different winemakers mentioned ‘spicy Asian food’ and ‘cornflake crusted fried fish’. Those are two items that chefs don’t always get a chance to play with when it comes to a dinner such as this. However, as I perused our notes I came across words like ‘chicken-fried oysters’, ‘five spice chicken salad’ and ‘elements of shellfish cocktail’.  Similar flavor profiles, similar cooking techniques… maybe great minds really do think alike!

Guest Speaker, Charlie Wagner (the second), 5th generation winemaker for Mer Soleil

Although the final menu is still in the works, we are excited to have this opportunity to work with a family of wines that hold dear this spirit of tradition and creativity through discovery. We invite you to join us and find out how much better these wines taste when paired with food and presented with service that is committed to the best possible expression of quality.

Coming up in March… Seven Glacier chefs meets Duckhorn Winery. Stay tuned…

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