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ICE, ICE, BABY

Truckee winery hosts carving competition.

WRITTEN BY MELISSA SIIG
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRUCKEE RIVER WINERY

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Wine and ice don’t usually go hand in hand, but in the case of Truckee River Winery’s fourth-annual ice-carving competition, Wine ’n’ Ice, there’s no better pairing. The event — part of North Lake Tahoe’s 34-year-old winter carnival SnowFest! — takes place March 9 and benefits the High Fives Foundation, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping mountain athletes who have suffered life-altering injuries.

At Wine ’n’ Ice, $10 gets you a souvenir wine glass, Mardi Gras beads, and the pleasure of watching up to 10 contestants carve 100-pound blocks of ice into imaginative sculptures. All the while you can sip Truckee River Winery’s award-winning Chalk Hill Malbec, its Garys’ Vineyard Best Man Pinot Noir, or any of its other eight varietals. Beer lovers can enjoy brew from Truckee’s FiftyFifty Brewing Co. Last year’s competition saw blocks of ice transformed into an owl, fish, skier, rabbit, bear, and more. At night, sculptures are colorfully lit to create the illusion of neon figurines.

In addition to wine and beer, guests may enjoy cheeses, sausages, and charcuterie platters, as well as paninis, breads, and dips. While chefs and artists carve masterpieces, attendees can play lawn games — such as winter bocce (the winery is known for its summer bocce league), snow croquet, and ladder ball — and listen to DJ Chango spin tunes.

The event runs from 1 to 7 p.m., with judging at 5:30 p.m. and awards at 6 p.m. The top three contestants win an assortment of prizes, including gift certificates for Truckee River Winery and local restaurants, as well as lift tickets for area ski resorts. The winner receives a trophy and wins back the $60 registration fee.

Truckee River Winery was founded 25 years ago in the garage of Truckee local Russ Jones. The winery, now housed in a two-story red barn on the Truckee River, sources grapes from vineyards in the foothills and coastal areas of California, including Santa Lucia. The grapes are then naturally fermented coolly and barrel aged slowly in Truckee’s high elevation and cold temperatures.

Katy Jones, Truckee River Winery general manager (and Russ’ daughter), says it’s important to support High Fives.

“My dad and I grew up here in Tahoe, we are both skiers, and we have friends who sustained injuries, and we have seen them not be able to pay their bills,” she says. “I think High Fives is a great organization that helps people take care of themselves.”

For details about the ice-carving event, visit http://www.truckeeriverwinery.com

Melissa Siig is a freelance writer and editor in Tahoe City, Calif. She enjoys sipping wine and being warm, so she is hoping for a giant bonfire sculpture at Wine ’n’ Ice this year.

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