If the fourth annual Club Iwakuni Winter Wine Tasting Festival already is attaining status as a signature event in the Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station community, the reason may be as much the food as the wine.

This year’s menu, for instance, will include crab cakes, basil pesto cappellini, shrimp provençale, sashimi and Swiss white chocolate. The annual event has “become such a success because of the delicious culinary experiences,” Iwakuni spokeswoman Master Sgt. Lesli Coakley said Thursday. “Most of the comments received from previous festivals have been about the food. It is a unique blend of traditional American cuisine and Japanese culture.”

But there will be wine — a range of vintages from around the world. Wine company representatives will be on hand to answer questions and offer suggestions, including the correct pairings of wines with a variety of regional foods. The wines also will be for sale by the bottle.

Iwakuni commander Col. Michael A. Dyer and MCCS Director Dale Smith plan to start the March 5 festival with a traditional sake barrel breaking, in a setting full of fresh-cut bamboo and flowers. The club staff, dressed in kimono, are to provide samples of sake to attendees; the traditional Japanese atmosphere also should be bolstered by Shozan Okamoto koto players and a bamboo flutist.

After arrival, attendees are to receive a wine glass imprinted with a logo, to be used to sample wines in the ballroom. The wine-tasting event is open to all base personnel and guests 21 and older.

Tickets are $25 in advance, available at the Club Iwakuni cash cages through Feb. 28; and $30 at the door. Business casual attire is requested; officials say the base taxi service will be available throughout the evening.

Call DSN 253-3382 or 253-5416 for more information.

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