News Bites: Newport Mansions Wine & Food Vintner Dinner / Social Enterprise Greenhouse Food Accelerator Applications / Cocktail Squad Now in RI

by David Dadekian

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

14th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Announces ‘Vive La France’ Vintner Dinner 

Chefs for the 14th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival "Vive La France" Vintner Dinner
Chefs for the 14th Annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival “Vive La France” Vintner Dinner

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, one of the East Coast’s most sophisticated culinary events, returns for its 14th year, September 19 – 22, 2019. The Marble House lawn will once again be the spectacular setting for the much-anticipated two-day Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22, which offers guests the chance to sample hundreds of wines from around the world and cuisine from nearly two dozen regional restaurants and caterers.

The highly-regarded Vintner Dinner at Rosecliff will return on Saturday evening, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The location, modeled after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles, will be the inspiration for the ‘Vive La France’ themed-evening, beginning with Calvisius Caviar and Champagne on the terrace along with passed canapés.

An interactive three-course dinner will follow in the ballroom.  Each course, prepared by renowned chefs Laurent Manrique of Café de la Presse, San Francisco; Robert Sisca of Bistro du Midi, Boston; 

Anthony Cole of Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham; Christopher Curtin of Éclat Chocolate, Philadelphia; Daniel Skurnick of Le Coucou, New York City; and Michelle Boland of Oak + Rowan, Boston; will be paired with a fine wine from the French regions of Alsace, Burgundy, Rhône and Bordeaux. 

Vintners will lead guests through each course and their pairings, which will include the 2005 Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Millésimé Brut, Reims; 2016 Philippe Pacalet, Meursault, Burgundy; 2016 Marcell Deiss, Rouge, Alsace; 2015 Château la Nerthe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône; 2016 Cyprès de Climens, Sauternes-Barsac, Bordeaux. Dessert and cordials will be served on the terrace.

For tickets, visit

The 2019 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival also welcomes FOOD & WINE Magazine Culinary Director at Large and “Mad Genius Tips” host Justin Chapple as the headliner of the Grand Tasting, cooking on the MONOGRAM Culinary Stage on Saturday, September 21 followed by an appearance at the MONOGRAM Pizza Oven.

Kevin Des Chenes, Celebrity Chef to such clients as Giuliana Rancic, Kathie Lee & Hoda, Isaiah Thomas, and Tim McGraw, and author of “Beyond My Chef Coat,” will take to the MONOGRAM Culinary Stage on Sunday, September 22nd.  Also participating in weekend cooking and grilling demonstrations will be local and national favorites including Terence Feury of Forty 1˚ North in Newport; Jacob Jasiniski of Cara at The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport; Will Gilson of Puritan & Co. in Cambridge; Ed Brylczyk of Dole & Bailey in Woburn; John Tesar of Knife in Dallas; and Felix Florez of Ritual in Houston, to name a few.  

Additional highlights of the weekend include a series of Seminars throughout the day on Friday, including Flight of the OysterIn Vino Veritas: Italian WineSonoma vs. NapaBubbles & Caviar, and the Eastern Mediterranean: Wines of Israel, Lebanon, and Greece, at The Breakers Stable & Carriage House; the elegant Friday night Wine & Rosecliff Gala, featuring a special selection of fine wines from around the globe, as well as food from at least 20 New England chefs amid seaside Gilded Age splendor; late night bites and cocktails by some of the Festival sponsors at Newport After Dark on Saturday night at Forty 1˚ North on the Newport waterfront; and the Sunday Jazz Brunch on the Marble House Terrace, the perfect way to begin a leisurely day at the Sunday Grand Tasting. 

The Presenting Sponsor of the 2019 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is FOOD & WINE Magazine. MONOGRAM is the Culinary Stage Sponsor. 2019 Premier Cru Sponsors are Flood Lincoln, Santa Margherita, Wines of Israel, Chateau D’esclans, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Dole & Bailey, and Knob Creek. Vintage Sponsors are Atria Senior Living, Bank Newport, Brooks Brothers, Boar’s Head, Brockmans Premium Gin, Calvisius Caviar, Coca-Cola, Dasani, Don Julio, Filippo Berio, Kobrand, Mount Gay Rum, National Trust Insurance Services, Newport Craft Truly Hard Seltzer, and United Airlines. Media sponsor is 

For more information and to purchase tickets for the 2019 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, visit or call (401) 847-1000.

Social Enterprise Greenhouse Seeks Social Entrepreneurs for Its 2020 Food Accelerator Program

Social Enterprise Greenhouse Accelerator

Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) is accepting applications for its 2020 Food Accelerator program. Motivated and coachable social entrepreneurs who have a feasible food venture and a desire to build a “do well, do good” business with high social impact are encouraged to apply. Applications are due on October 1, 2019. The Food Accelerator program begins in January 2020. The application is available at

Social Enterprise Greenhouse’s Accelerator is the organization’s signature venture development program. It features a 12-week blended learning experience that provides social entrepreneurs with the tools, networks, and resources to further validate their venture, understand their customer, and formalize growth strategies from fundraising to social impact measurement. Additional value is provided by one-on-one business coaching, a peer cohort model, and access to SEG’s coworking space at 10 Davol Square, Providence.

About the SEG Food Accelerator

The Food Accelerator program, now in its fifth year, offers an industry-tailored curriculum and advising, customized face-to-face instruction, peer learning, and access to a network of industry experts in addition to the entire SEG Advisor network to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses in Rhode Island and beyond.  

This is a growth opportunity for all food ventures that address topics such as:

  • Sustainable food, agriculture, and aquaculture practices
  • Food access
  • Food waste
  • Cultural heritage
  • Workforce development
  • International development
  • Place-making and community building

SEG’s 2020 Food Accelerator is delivered in partnership with Brown University and is funded by the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Real Jobs RI Initiative, United Natural Foods, Blount Fine Foods, and Newman’s Own Foundation. Forty-eight social ventures have graduated from the SEG Food Accelerator since its start in 2016, including successful local enterprises such as Bellicchi’s Best Biscotti, Bootblack Brand, Cloverbud Ranch, FoodSCAPE, Hocus Pocus Farm, and Savory Fare.

The purpose of SEG’s Accelerator program is to stimulate innovation in Rhode Island and to help create more successful, sustainable “do well, do good” businesses, leading to healthier and more prosperous communities for all.

Cocktail Squad® Expands Distribution of Its Premium Canned Cocktails to Rhode Island

Two New Flavors Recently Added to the Award-Winning Line

Cocktail Squad

Boulder-based Cocktail Squad® announces expanded distribution of its products to Rhode Island starting September 1, 2019. Cocktail Squad offers a line of premium, ready-to-drink canned cocktails fresh from the Rocky Mountains. Recently,  two new flavors were added — Whiskey Sour and Bourbon Smash – and with these additions, Cocktail Squad® becomes one of the few brands in the nation with a product line crossing over four real spirits.

Recently released new flavors are perfect for fall picnics, tailgating and more!  

Whiskey Sour  (Silver 2019 Pr%f Awards) – Handmade bourbon whiskey with a juicy finish from pressed lemon and orange juice and some gomme syrup lend a distinct richness to this classic cocktail. The Whiskey Sour is produced under nitro so it has a creamy mouthfeel and a luscious finish. Like the can reads, “Pucker up . . . now linger in that luxurious finish.” 

Bourbon Smash (Silver 2019 SIP Awards, Bronze 2019 USA Spirits Ratings, Gold 2019 Pr%f Awards) – The team mixes hand-crafted bourbon whiskey, Rocky Mountain blackberries, spearmint, and pressed lemons for a smash hit in this refreshing full-flavor cocktail.

Crisp, clean, and full of flavor, Cocktail Squad’s classic cocktails come in sleek, artfully branded 12-ounce cans with two servings per can and fresh, small-batch flavor. Launched in late 2018 with four flagship flavors – Gin & Tonic (Bronze 2019 USA Spirits Awards, Silver 2019 Pr%f Awards), Margarita (Silver 2019 NY International Spirits Competition (NYISC), Bronze 2019 USA Spirits Ratings, Silver 2019 Pr%f Awards),Vodka Soda (Silver 2019 Pr%f Awards), and Greyhound (Gold 2019 NYISC, Silver 2019 USA Spirits Ratings, Silver 2019 Pr%f Awards) – Cocktail Squad is the answer to your craving for craft drinks that are convenient, portable and delicious. 

All products are 10% ABV and the non-whiskey drinks are all gluten-free and have an MSRP of $4.99 per can or $20 per four-pack.

Cocktail Squad® creators Lauren and John Maggio conceived of the concept while enjoying a cocktail at a new local bar. 

“I had this lightning-bolt moment,” said Lauren Maggio, Co-Founder of Cocktail Squad®. “There are so many people like us who are busy, working hard and in the throes of parenthood who would appreciate an elevated cocktail that’s convenient and portable. Ultimately, we want to offer a full line of classic cocktails that read like the menu from your favorite bar.”

As part of the Squad, the Maggios brought together a manufacturing partner, a master sommelier, a top-tier designer, and a 3rd generation R&D expert to form the unique Squad, aptly represented by its stylish bear, fox and bird logo. Lauren, originally from New Orleans, loves to highlight what she calls a Happy Hour Revival™, which happens by simply cracking open a Cocktail Squad® can. 

Cocktail Squad® takes the canned cocktail experience beyond a barbecue. It is perfect for picnics, tailgating, hiking, skiing, boating, and host gifts. More than a low alcohol malt beverage or spritzer, Cocktail Squad’s spirit-based products are full-sized, full-strength cocktails in a can, making the craft bar experience accessible to anyone. 

The full line of Cocktail Squad® products can be found in Rhode Island at East Side Wine & Spirits and Nikki’s Liquors in Providence, Town Line Fine Wine & Spirits and Haxton’s Tollgate Liquors in Warwick, Edgewood Wine & Spirits and Oaklawn Liquors in Cranston, and Stonebridge Liquors in Tiverton. They are also available throughout Arizona, Colorado, and Massachusetts. Please go to for more information.

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