Milwaukee Athletic Club – Milwaukee, WI | Saturday, November 4 | 6:00 – 10:30 PM

Food and wine aficionados will enjoy this perfect night, as James Beard Chef nominee, Alex Seidel, prepares a multi-course gourmet dinner for over 200 guests. Each course is expertly paired and presented with wines by selected winemakers and owners, and artisan cheeses. The delectable evening also includes an exclusive auction to raise funds for the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.



The Foundation is honored to thank this year’s participants, along with US Foods, for their generous contribution to this evening’s event.


alex seidel - Fruition Farms; Mercantile dining & provisions

This Wisconsin native began his culinary career at the young age of 14, and could call himself a sous chef by the age of 20. A graduate of Oregon’s Western Culinary Institute, Seidel’s first major position in Denver was executive chef at local restaurateur Frank Bonanno’s Mizuna.

In 2007, Seidel opened the farm-to-table spot Fruition, a restaurant that has its own farm, which supplies dairy to the restaurant. He was named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine in 2010. 

In 2014, Seidel debuted his newest concept: Mercantile dining & provision in Denver, a seasonally focused restaurant and European-style market that serves everything from incredible pastries and coffee for breakfast; amazing sandwiches like the Braised Short Rib for lunch; and small plates, pastas, proteins, and family-style feasts for dinner.

Alex has been nominated as a James Beard Chef Semifinalist nine times and was a James Beard Chef nominee in 2016.



cleo pahlmeyer - Pahlmeyer Estates

Daughter of Jayson Pahlmeyer, Cleo grew up with the family business but never visualized herself actually joining the winery. Her education took her to the East Coast where she received her BA in Art History from the University of Virginia and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Connoisseurship of Fine and Decorative Art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. After landing a job at Bonhams auction house in London, she discovered that it was not only the art auctions that interested her, but the wine auctions as well. “Seeing our wine in London auctions, I realized for the first time what a respected name Pahlmeyer is in the wine world,” she admits. “It was an awakening for me and I began to consider how I could help propel the company my father had built.”

With Napa’s exceptional cuisine and world-class wines in her DNA, Cleo comes by her love of wine and the wine industry naturally. In 2008 Cleo joined the family business in sales and customer service, and with characteristic Pahlmeyer exuberance infused the winery with new energy. She moved on to manage direct to consumer sales and marketing, and later directed the company’s communications and public relations. Cleo was instrumental in the development and launch in 2014 of the Wayfarer Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay from their estate vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview appellation, planted in 2000. In 2017, Cleo was appointed President. 

“My father’s vision and passion have driven our success for more than thirty years,” said Cleo Pahlmeyer. “With the support of an incredibly talented and dedicated team, I am honored to continue Pahlmeyer’s legacy of iconic wines and be a steward to our exceptional estate vineyards.”

A mother of two, Cleo is devoted to her family.  And when she has time, she is also an avid cook.  Cleo and her husband Jamie Watson love to entertain friends and family and spread the Pahlmeyer story all over the world. “I meet people everywhere who share wonderful experiences they have had with our wines, and often hilarious stories about my dad,” she says. “It has been an incredible journey so far but what really excites me is the future of Pahlmeyer."


FRED SCHWEIGER - schweiger vineyards

Born and raised on the very last farm in in San Francisco, California, a young Fred Schweiger couldn’t wait to help care for his grandparent’s 160-acre vineyard in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains during summertime. The Spring Mountain chapter of Fred's book begins in the late 1950’s, when his parents purchased property in at that time unincorporated Napa County.

After Fred graduated from Lowell High School (where he met his future wife, Sally) he studied Forestry and Building & Construction Technology with a focus on Engineering. Years after successfully establishing Schweiger Construction, Inc. came a slow-down in the market as well as the opportunity to actualize a long-held dream: to clear and develop the family owned Spring Mountain property into vineyard.

Though Schweiger did not have a large fortune to invest in vineyard development, he persisted and proceeded to build access roads and develop a water system for the young vineyard. During the year and a half of careful and systematic clearing of the heavily forested, rolling hill parcel, Schweiger studied viticulture at the University of California, Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. Additionally, he gained invaluable knowledge from recognized local vintners including Herman Hummel, Joe Cafaro and Laurie Wood. Vines were planted in 1981 and today there are 35 acres planted to wine grapes on the Schweiger Vineyards Estate.

In addition to developing Schweiger Vineyards from clearing to planting, Fred also managed the vineyard development at the neighboring properties of Paloma and Vineyard 7 and 8.

The majority of Fred's time is now focused on vineyard and winery management, and saying hello to the guests who visit Schweiger Vineyards. It is easy to see, Fred is a very hands-on kind of guy. From the water well dug by hand, to the concrete columns, to the chandeliers in the barrel room, the Estate was detailed and built by Fred himself with the help of family. The Schweiger family is proud to be one of the long-time property owners on Spring Mountain at nearly 53 years of ownership spanning four generations to live and work on the family Estate.


Our Estate Vineyards are the heart and driving force of everything we do, and are meticulously managed by Fred Schweiger and his team.  Every vintage of Schweiger Cabernet is from the same small blocks 2000 feet above the Napa Valley, at the apex of the Spring Mountain District. As an Estate Winery, we provide a wine that is grown, produced, and bottled all on site under our own watchful eye.



It was at Auburn University that Jimmy discovered his passion for food and cooking. His path in food led him to his degree at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, RI. Working with the area’s best chefs, Jimmy used that knowledge to land himself a cooking position at Fruition Restaurant in Denver. His work ethic and bright mind propelled him through the ranks of the kitchen to sous chef within a short period of time. Those same qualities are what made him so valuable at the farm. Without any farming background, Jimmy took to animal husbandry and became the dairy’s first shepherd. As the year progressed, so did his job description. His capacity for learning helped transition the direction of our cheese making procedures and aid in the development of the dairy’s first soft ripened cheese.  He is now the lead cheese maker at Fruition Farms Dairy, making delicious cheese like the Shepard’s Halo.



PATRICK HOUGHTON - Mercantile dining & provisions

At the age of 13, Patrick developed the hospitality bug early by working in his family owned restaurant on Cape Cod, MA, where he learned every aspect of front and back of the house. Moving up and down the east coast after college, he found his way to Steamboat Springs, CO where he made a home and started his wine career. Patrick has said that "wine is what I love, there is nothing greater than the combination of food and wine, and more importantly the people you need to bring these two things together".

In May 2014, Patrick and Melissa had their 1st daughter, Freya. A month later Patrick passed the rigorous Advanced Sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommelier which was shortly followed by his acceptance of the Wine Director position at Mercantile dining & provision. He describes 2014 as "By far the best year of my life ever!!"

Schedule of Events

6:00 PM | Registration & Champagne Reception 

7:00 – 10:30 PM | Program and Dinner Service

additional information

Attire | Cocktail

Parking | Valet parking for the Celebrity Chef & Wine Dinner is available at the Milwaukee Athletic Club courtesy of the Milwaukee Lexus Dealers Association.

Lodging | Discounted room rates are available at The Pfister Hotel for the Food & Wine Experience weekend thanks to Marcus Corporation through 10/6/17! Call 414-273-8222 and mention the Lombardi Food & Wine rate. All event details are subject to change without notice.

All event details are subject to change without notice.

If you are interested in sponsoring this year’s event, please contact Michelle@capturemarketingllc.com or 262-696-5162.