Featured Participants

Bloomsbury Bistro and Arista Winery


Arista Winery

Arista Winery was founded in 2002 by Al and Janis McWilliams (seated center). From the beginning, the McWilliams have firmly believed that the finest examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are produced in small lots. This belief has always led to an emphasis on quality over quantity and a determination to discover and develop unique vineyard sites that reflect the distinct characteristics of the Russian River Valley.  In 2012, the McWilliams’ sons Mark McWilliams (standing left) and Ben (standing right) took over the family business and now run the day-to-day operations. 

The 36-acre estate is located in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley on famed Westside Road just outside the idyllic wine country town of Healdsburg, California.  They are ideally suited to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay because of the unique and complex soils that blanket our estate and our close proximity to the cooling fog and maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean.

Mark McWilliams, along with his brother Ben, oversees day-to-day operations at Arista.  He manages sales, marketing, and grower relations.  Mark and his wife Jennifer are also busy raising their four children in Healdsburg.



Bloomsbury Bistro

http://blog.thegourmez.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bloomsbury12.jpgLocated in the heart of Raleigh at Five Points, Bloomsbury Bistro has served nationally renowned cuisine in a comfortable neighborhood setting for well over a decade. Critics and food writers agree that the Bistro has a firm grasp on the entire dining experience. With a seasonal menu that changes every six weeks, chef John Toler stretches the bounds of traditional French cooking by incorporating vibrant ethnic flavors into the Bistro’s globally inspired menus.

http://www.bloomsburybistro.com/bistro.restaurant.raleigh/images/about.us.jpgChef John Toler, a West Virginia native, completed his formal training in classical French cuisine as first in his class at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland. Before settling in North Carolina, he worked with several well-known chefs in the Washington DC area. John’s relocation to Raleigh coincided with Rick Robinson's decision to open Mondo Bistro in Chapel Hill where John served as sous chef from the restaurant's inception until early 1995 when he left to open Bloomsbury Bistro. Chef John Toler’s entrees are French in style, but they meander into Southern, Asian, and other cuisines that liven up the recipes and produce multitudes of quotation marks on the menu descriptions, because nothing is done quite in a traditional manner. Both John and the Bistro have become recognized locally and nationally for his innovative menus and the Bistro’s sophisticated, yet comfortable dining atmosphere. Publications such as USA Today, Bon Appétit and Southern Living have cast a flattering spotlight on Chef Toler's cooking style.


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