Hill Country vintners are certainly busy this month. Hot on the heels of last week's Wine & Food Festival, the Texas Hill Country Winegrowers Guild is hosting the Texas Hill Country Wildflower & Wine Trail at each of the 10 participating wineries on Sat. & Sun., April 12- 13, 12-5pm. Fall Creek Vineyards near Tow on the northeast shores of Lake Buchanan will offer picnic foods to augment the wine tastings and vineyard tours. At Becker Vineyards between Stonewall and Fredericksburg off Hwy290 West, visitors can taste their award-winning wines while enjoying live music and the works of four Hill Country artists. Bell Mountain Vineyards, Fredericksburg Winery, Grape Creek Vineyard, Sister Creek Vineyard, Spicewood Vineyard, Cana Cellars, Slaughter Leftwich, and Hill Country Cellars will be pouring samples and conducting tours along with other entertainments. The wildflowers should be lovely. For a Central Texas Wine Country brochure, contact Fall Creek Vineyards' local office at 476-4477.

Before the tour of the countryside, stop at one of the Breed & Co. locations on Saturday afternoon, April 12 and grab a bite to eat while shopping for Calphalon cookware. It's all for a very good cause. The 10 local chefs who will be participating in the upcoming Share Our Strength (SOS) "Taste of the Nation" hunger fundraising dinner will be whipping up tasty treats in both Breed stores, 11am-4pm on Saturday. Breed & Co. will donate 5% of all sales that day to Share our Strength and Calphalon has agreed to donate $5 of the price of every "Taste of the Nation" pan sold this year. Taste of the Nation events are the largest nationwide benefits to fight and prevent hunger. Austin's annual Taste of the Nation cocktail party, dinner, and Chairity Auction will be held at the Shoreline Grill on Sunday, April 27 at 6:30pm. For ticket information, call 477-5584. There are also other local alternatives for fighting hunger. Interested parties can purchase square feet of the new Capital Area Food Bank Distribution Center for only $54 per foot. To make this worthwhile investment in Austin's future, contact 448-2111. There are also two more days to "Check-Out Hunger" when shopping at local HEB stores. The stores will display $1 and $2 coupons at cash registers and shoppers who want to donate can pull as many coupons as they want to be scanned into the register. Donations will appear on receipts as "food bank donation" and the proceeds will be presented to the Food Bank after April 12. Last year, this promotion raised $25,000 in Central Texas and they are shooting for $30,000 in 1997.

Speaking of fundraisers, the folks at Clean Water Action held their first successful Taste of Austin Spaghetti Sauce Contest at their fundraising event for the Clean Water Fund at the Austin Nature & Science Center on March 20. The contest attracted both amateur and professional entrants in four categories and many well-known local restaurants were represented. Winners were chosen in a blind taste test by a panel of judges and then the entries were served to the grateful crowd. Organizers hope to make this event another Austin food and beverage tradition and plan to encourage more professional and amateur participation. Congratulations to all the winners: Meat Sauce, Pro Division: Vinny's Italian Restaurant (1003 Barton Springs); Vegetarian Sauce, Pro Division: Stelline Pastaria (2501 W. Parmer); Meat Sauce, Amateur Division: Gary Haber; Vegetarian Sauce, Amateur Division: Aimee Baigle.

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