Vineyarders will get a taste of the golden state this weekend at the first annual Martha’s Vineyard California Wine Affair, a two-day event that begins tonight at Atria.

“This is a wine-centered community gathering,” said Kaitlin Lynch, public relations coordinator for the event.

The Wine Affair kicks off at 4 p.m. with a silent auction to benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, which is free and open to the public. The auction includes items such as a sunset Vineyard and Elizabeth Islands sail, a signed Boston Bruins jersey, and of course, lots and lots of wine. The silent auction teaser list includes 25 wineries that will have bottles, tours and tastings up for bid.

Later in the night, Atria will host a special six-course dinner in which Islanders can learn a little about wine pairings with food. The featured wine will be cabernet.

Event founder John Clift, a manager at Great Harbor Gourmet Spirits in downtown Edgartown, said that the event was designed around the king of the grapes, the cabernet, because it is not only the most prestigious and expensive, but also ages for the longest amount of time.

Each dinner course will be prepared by a different Island chef, in an opportunity to showcase the unique culinary talent available on the Vineyard.

The Wine Affair will wrap up Saturday afternoon with a gala wine tasting event, open to the public at 5:30. Tickets are $125 in advance and $150 at the door. Upwards of 60 wineries will be at the tasting, in an effort to expose Island restaurants and wine-lovers to new labels. “California is where, in the states, a lot of the great wine comes from, so doing a merging of the coasts just seemed to make sense” said Ms. Lynch. “It gives the community a chance to try some of the wines they might not otherwise have gotten the opportunity to taste here.”


For more information, or to purchase tickets, call Atria Restaurant at 508-627-5850.