2024 Heitz Cellar Blending Seminar & Picnic Lunch

Heitz Cellar Blending Seminar & Picnic Lunch


  • April 13, 2024
  • April 13, 2024
  • 11:00 AM
  • 02:00 PM


  • Epicurean Theatre, S. Howard Ave, Tampa, FL, 33606
  • United States


  • $250 per person

Heitz Cellar Blending Seminar & Picnic Lunch

$250 per person
Attire: Dressy Casual (partially outdoors)
*Complimentary valet parking at the Epicurean Hotel

Kick off our 27th annual Bern’s Winefest at the Epicurean Hotel with our signature wine blending seminar in the theater, followed by a wine country picnic on the terrace. Featuring wines from Heitz Cellar with special guest speaker and Winemaker, Brittany Sherwood, this festival marks the beginning of everything fabulous about this week. Our expert panel of Bern’s Steak House sommeliers will guide you through blending next year’s special bottling release, while you learn about the nuances of the art of winemaking. After the seminar, join us on the terrace for a delicious wine country picnic prepared by Chef Jonathan Atanacio and his team of culinary artisans from Élevage SOHO Kitchen & Bar.

Each ticket includes a complimentary bottle of this special-blend collaboration bottle of Lot-C91 Cabernet to enjoy with friends and family.  Bottles will be released on a future date and available for pick up at Bern’s Fine Wines & Spirits.  

*Please note that due to the format of this event; allergies and dietary substitutions cannot be accommodated. Menu items are subject to availability and may change without notice.

All guests must be 21+ and tickets are non-transferrable.

The Laxer Family Foundation is a charitable foundation that provides the opportunity to raise money through events that foster a more inclusive and cooperative youth culture while cultivating the advancement of the next generation of culinary leaders through scholarships. Since 1997, Bern’s Winefest has been the main fundraising event for the Bern Laxer Memorial Scholarship. Through the James Beard Foundation selection process, funds are awarded to individuals from the state of Florida in one of three disciplines: Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, or Viticulture. A portion of the proceeds raised through this event will go  directly to the Bern Laxer Memorial Scholarship Fund. For more information about our organization, please visit our website; laxerfamilyfoundation.org.


Family Style Picnic Lunch

Bruce's Fried Chicken - sriracha honey
Country Style Potato Salad - tasso, dill
Brussels Sprout Salad - dried cherry, compressed green apple, toasted pecan vinaigrette
Charred Caulini - toasted garlic, manchego

Bern's Steak House
Rare Beef Tartine - horseradish, bandaged cheddar, confit tomato
Asparagus & Artichoke Salad - fines herbes, aged goat cheese
Marinated Shrimp - citrus, almond, sweet pepper, caper
Mushroom Galette - fennel, bern's cheese blend, rosemary

Artisanal Cheeses
Green Chile Cornbread - lady edison ham, maple butter
Roasted Beets - smoked blue cheese, spring onion, hazelnut, banyuls vinegar

Tropical Parfait - coconut sorbet, pineapple, passion fruit

~Wine selections available during the picnic~

Blending Seminar


Growing up in Long Beach, California, Brittany Sherwood was fascinated with biology and living organisms—an interest that ultimately led to her enrollment in the pre-med program at UC Davis. While taking "Introduction to Winemaking" to fulfill a course requirement, she discovered that the class opened up a whole new world of what living organisms could be. "I saw how winemaking is an amazing blend of science and art. Plus I realized there is this whole other side to life, with food, wine and travel."

Brittany quickly shifted her major to Viticulture and Enology. She took advantage of a work-study program in Europe, using her time there to gather invaluable experience in the wine regions of France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. When she came back to the States, she interned in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Brittany joined Heitz Cellar to work the 2012 vintage. "I felt profoundly lucky to be able to be part of this Napa Valley legacy," she says. Following the harvest, Brittany traveled to Australia's Barossa region to expand her knowledge and when she returned in June 2013, Heitz welcomed her as an official member of the team.

As Heitz Cellar's Winemaker, Brittany works closely with vineyard management, from poring over shoot thinning schedules in summer to choosing smaller picks between blocks at harvest: "There is a lot of collaboration, so that at the end of the day, we are making the best decisions possible." She oversees and manages the production and laboratory team to ensure quality every step of the way, from crush and fermentation to the wines' extensive aging and determining when they are ready for bottling. "All my travel allowed me to work with many different winemakers and to see how they managed quality control and analysis in different kinds of facilities," she notes. "I was able to bring that breadth of knowledge back to Heitz with me."

Brittany's approach to winemaking is one of minimal intervention that highlights each vineyard's unique qualities, as well as vintage expression. "I want to craft wines that are respectful of both the site and the vintage and that showcase these qualities in a fresh, age- worthy, classic style," she explains.

Under the Lawrence family's leadership, Brittany is excited to carry the winery's traditions forward. "At Heitz Cellar, I have gained a profound appreciation of a classic style of winemaking and deep respect for this winery's history," she explains, while also welcoming the opportunity this moment presents. "The transition between winemakers should be seamless but can also allow for a fresh perspective and a personal touch."

Brittany lives in Napa with her husband Tom. Their perfect day away from work involves hiking or any kind of outdoor activity, and they enjoy traveling the world together.

Brittany Sherwood