Txakolifest is celebrating its tenth Anniversary this year. The festival started as a way to celebrate the vibrant culture and approach to life found in the Basque wine country in Spain.

The festival runs from 12-4 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, at the Rickhouse. A cider cocktail tasting class featuring Txakoli will also be offered at Alley 26 the Saturday before Txakolifest, with experts Rob Mariani and Shannon Healy and staff from Durham Distillery.

There are normally two sessions of Txakolifest, a fundraiser early-on, with general admission into the evening hours, but this year things are a little different.  You can purchase a $100 VIP ticket which includes an hour early entry with a t-shirt and tasting glass or a $75 ticket to the event which includes a tasting glass and unlimited food and wine samples. You can purchase tickets here.

This year’s festival promises to be a culinary and wine showstopper, with major players in the regional food scene on hand. Vivian Howard is sending her Boiler Room crew from Kinston. Andrea Reusing and Lantern are taking part. Matt Kelly is bringing a sneak preview of his new restaurant, St. James. Scott Howell from Nana’s will be there, which always means amazing food.

“In past years we have kept the restaurants to Durham,” said Mattie Beason, of Mattie B’s Public House in South Durham. “But we felt this year being the tenth anniversary, we should open it up to some of our amazing restaurants throughout the Triangle.”

More than the food, Txakolifest is all about the slightly sparkling white wine served in a porron, which enhances its natural pétillance (effervescence). The festival’s wine will be provided by Haw River Wine Man and Wine Authorities and Demaison Selections is selecting cider for the Txotx.

Mattie Beason is also owner of Black Twig Cider House, and has the only indoor cider Txotx in the country. Fittingly, both beverages are featured. Cider will take the main-stage in November during Txotxfest, also hosted by Beason. After ten years of celebrating  Txakolifest, this year plans to be one for the books. Not only because of the excellent food and drink, but also in terms of positive social action.

Txakolifest has partnered with Robert Brown LLC, a law firm specializing in immigration law, to zone in on immigration issues.

“We wanted to focus on the fundraiser,” said Beason. “With our current administration, we have a lot of folks in our community scared about their future. The biggest thing I want to do is to help get them answers. Folks like El Centro are doing things like this every day, and I want the ability to highlight those people but also highlight the importance of education and answers in helping our immigrant population.”

A legislative action summit has been formed by two of the nation’s largest hospitality groups to address Congress on May 17 and 18. According to the NC Restaurant and Lodging association, restaurants and lodging establishments provide jobs for 13 percent of the state’s workforce and generate more than $23.5 billion in sales annually.  North Carolina’s total restaurant and foodservice workforce consists of 458,400 jobs, and that number is expected to grow to 527,000 by 2027. As a whole, the nation’s food industry is expecting a 14 percent increase over the next decade; however the number of U.S. born workers will only grow by 10 percent. As the need for a willing and able workforce grows, U.S. Immigration issues are not going to go away, and will require intelligent resolutions for all involved.