They Said It: Winemakers and Chefs Keep Coming Back for TWE

The Triangle Wine Experience is a weekend filled with amazing winemakers and chefs – all coming together to raise money for the Frankie Lemmon School in Raleigh. Every year during the first weekend of February they converge to the Triangle to take part in the annual wine dinners and local wine tastings as well as the grand gala – where money flows like water to support the school and its children. We at Triangle Around Town decided to reach out to some of the star-studded regulars and asked them what continues to bring them back year after year.

Steve Reynolds pours his wine during a tasting at Taylor’s Wine Shop in Raleigh

Steve Reynolds pours his wine during a tasting at Taylor’s Wine Shop in Raleigh

I happened to run into Eliza at Sullivan’s Steakhouse one night, many moons ago, and I was hooked. To donate (which we all do) but feel like you are part of ‘something’ and make a difference in people’s (families) lives is why we all come once and stay forever.
— Steve Reynolds, Reynolds Family Vineyard

Pam Starr of Crocker & Starr Wines at a wine dinner in downtown Raleigh.

Pam Starr of Crocker & Starr Wines at a wine dinner in downtown Raleigh.

I was asked by Didier Loustao to sit with Eliza and Brian at another wine auction (in his place as he could not attend) and discuss wines and lots (I collect wine as well and cut my teeth on old Bordeaux and Burgundies). After the auction was over, Eliza and Brian kidnapped me to light the town on fire and we did just that as I barely made it back to my hotel room to grab my bags and catch my flight. Instant friendship through passion for wine, life, and love of the Frankie Lemmon babies.
— Pam Starr, Crocker & Starr

Guy and Judy Davis of Davis Family Vineyards during the 2018 Triangle Wine Experience Gala.

Guy and Judy Davis of Davis Family Vineyards during the 2018 Triangle Wine Experience Gala.

About a dozen years ago, I was introduced/encouraged about the TWE event by 4 different people within a 2-week period – it sparked my interest to look into the event, which led to coming to Raleigh that next February, which in turn has led to hoping we will always be involved! Imagining how it must feel for those parents to watch those smiles sprout and blossom on the faces of their kids! Add to that the friendships we have built with the ‘Village’ that surrounds the school, makes it an extra special privilege.
— Guy Davis, Davis Family Vineyards

Sam Lando at Taylor’s Wine Shop in 2018.

I got involved with the Frankie Lemmon School and the Triangle Wine experience through the direction and insistence of Eliza Olander Kraft. Her love for and passion for the school and their needs drew me to it back in 2008. From that first visit, I understood and knew that I needed to contribute what I could to give and support their efforts. And will certainly do so as long as we can!
— Sam Lando, Lando Wines

agriculture-farm-farming-39511.jpg
Two words ... Eliza and Lenora. I believe that when you surround yourself with good people, great things happen. The meeting of these two amazing human beings and witnessing first hand, their incredible support of the Frankie Lemmon School is what did it for me. I’m grateful to be in a generous industry that supports so many worthwhile causes. That a bottle of wine can raise much needed funds and awareness for a lasting impact on children’s lives is simply humbling. I’m in!
— Tony Lombardi, Lombardi Wines

Eliza Kraft Olander, left, and Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants at the TWE grand gala.

Eliza Kraft Olander, left, and Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants at the TWE grand gala.

I first got involved through doing one of the Thursday night wine dinners at a restaurant I used to cook at, Enoteca Vin. Then one year, Eliza approached me about being part of an auction item for a private dinner at her home. It made me realize how much of an impact the culinary community could make in terms of fundraising for important causes like Frankie Lemmon, and really opened my eyes to the opportunity I had to give back on a greater scale.
— Ashley Christensen, AC Restaurants

I first was asked by Ashley Christensen to participate in the Triangle Wine Experience Gala a few years ago and learned about the wonderful work the foundation does. Every fundraiser I have been lucky enough to participate in has been a rewarding and wonderful experience. I have met some amazing people because it draws the most big hearted and generous people I have ever met!
— Cheetie Kumar, Garland