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By Olivia Kiers / January 8, 12:00 AM
Boston Accent: Wining and Dining

Chef Daniel Bruce celebrates nearly three decades of the Boston Wine Festival


In the dead of winter, 1990, the first-ever Boston Wine Festival was held at the Boston Harbor Hotel. The organizers, including Chef Daniel Bruce, hoped that this series of food and wine pairing events would inspire residents and visitors to venture out into the New England cold in order to discover the warmth and magic of great wines paired with delicious dishes. All 11 dinners sold out, and now, 26 years and 4,000 recipes later, Chef Bruce feels as excited about his 27th festival at the hotel as he did about the first.

“There is nothing I enjoy more than the thrill of sharing this with all those who attend the dinners, seminar, brunches and receptions,” says the chef. “Experiencing wine and food in a comfortable, luxurious and yet relaxing setting with people sharing the same passion is truly one of the greatest pleasures in life.”

The Boston Wine Festival spans three winter months, from the grand opening reception on Friday, January 8, to the final seminar and dinner—this year featuring Silver Oak Cellars—on Friday, March 25. In between is a cornucopia of food and wine tasting events: brunches, dinners and seminars that span a cross-section of regions, styles and varietals. Chef Bruce crafts each dish carefully to suit the chosen wine. He always starts with the wine, tasting it and writing copious notes on aroma, flavor, weight and finish, before searching for those parallel or contrasting flavors on the plate that will “create a seamless experience…while honoring the wines served.” He describes certain pairings as “magical,” like braised fennel with a young Napa cabernet, or wild mushrooms with an older Barolo.

Chef Bruce has formed many lasting friendships among vintners due to his commitment to showcasing excellent wines, a commitment that has spurred on the founding of similar festivals in New Orleans, Berkeley, Calif. and Washington, D.C. Yet the heart of the endeavor remains here. Whether you are visiting Boston for a day or two or attending a conference and want to fit a truly special brunch into your itinerary, or are a resident wine aficionado planning on attending multiple dinners and seminars, there are plenty of opportunities for you to raise your glass to Chef Bruce at the Boston Wine Festival this winter. 

Boston Wine Festival

January 8–March 25 at Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, 888-660-WINE, bostonwinefestival.net.

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