Poole’s diner

With Hirsch Vineyards and Cruse Wine Co. 

Featuring Chef Sarah Jayne Grueneberg (Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago)

Sponsored by Todd & Elizabeth McGowan, Adam & Martha Derbyshire, Mike & Oz Nichols, Andy Penry & Karen Moriarty 


Hirsch Vineyards

Perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross, Hirsch Vineyards is the birth ground of great pinot noir on the extreme Sonoma Coast. David Hirsch founded the vineyard in 1980 to grow fruit and make site-specific wine. From the start all efforts have been on the growing of fruit that makes wines profoundly characteristic of the site vintage after vintage.

The wines from Hirsch Vineyards give the passionate drinker an experience of the clash of opposites meeting in Nature and Life: the edge of the continent washed by the sea; the eviternal grinding of the North American and Pacific plates along the San Andreas Fault; the wet winters and dry summers caused by the ocean and desert climates; the dripping rainforest and parched pastures; the contact and intermingling of cultures: Native American, Mexican, Russian, European; the change in rural economy from logging and ranching to winegrowing.

In the wines of Hirsch Vineyards you find a natural balance and consistency in the harmonious resolution of these opposites. This complex, unique site produces fruit and wines of unusual acidity and balance with a vintage specific concentration of pinot noir or chardonnay fruit. These are wines to be enjoyed now or laid down for future consumption.

 Jasmine Hirsch has been a great friend to the Triangle Wine Experience and the Frankie Lemmon School.  Born-bred in balmy California, she went to school in Philly.  She has many years of wine business experience. She came home to Hirsch Vineyards to shine her light & spirit on sales, customer relations, plus learn the land, the vines, and the wines. In 2013, she was named to Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 40 Under 40 tastemaker.  She took over the winery as General Manager in 2015 .                                                                                   






Cruse Wine Co. is a small winery in Petaluma thoughtfully crafting table wines from unique vineyards in California.  Owner/winemaker Michael Cruse was named winemaker of the year in 2016 by the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle. 

 Against a landscape that often feels dominated by either top-shelf Cabernet or acidic European emulations, the Cruse wines aim to reimagine what “table wine” can be: fruity, quaffable, affordable. And more than anything, they’re intensely loyal to their California origins. 

 If Ultramarine (another of Michael Cruse’s brands) is the wine of the moment, Cruse Wine Co. is a vision for California wine’s future. 

California didn’t need another cult wine, after all. One virtue of Cruse Wine Co., whose wines range from $25 to $38, is that blue-collar spirit — it’s house wine, table wine, corner store wine. 

 But its achievement is equally the wine style. In an era that favors angular, savory, European-inspired wines of restraint, Cruse Wine Co. is all about fruit. 

 From Heintz Vineyard Syrah, to Mendocino County Tannat, to Sierra Foothills Chardonnay, to a number of ancestral-method sparklings, called pétillant naturels (a.k.a. pet-nats), the Cruse Wine Co. wines all bear a signature profile. Though structured, the wines feel open and inviting, even when young. They often convey a chewy, chalky texture. More than anything, they’re exuberantly fruity. 

 To Cruse, that’s how you express California: sunshine and ripeness. He’s got a narrative, “classic California, but with a wart.” 



We are so excited to announce that Chef Sarah Jayne Grueneberg (Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago) will be joining us for the Triangle Wine & Food Experience 2020! Sarah will be cooking alongside Ashley Christensen at Poole’s Diner for the TWFE dinner on January 30 and will also be serving her culinary bites at the TWFE Gala on February 1, 2020.

After graduating from culinary school in 2001, she started her first career-changing job with a position at the iconic Brennan’s of Houston and by 2003 was named the restaurant’s youngest female sous chef. Grueneberg has traveled throughout Italy, Asia, Europe and the U.S., which has inspired her culinary approach of “following the food” and truly understanding “the dish” by knowing the people and culture that created it.

In 2017, Grueneberg received the James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Great Lakes.” Grueneberg has been a competitor and finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas” and Food Network’s “Iron Chef Gauntlet.” She has also been named a “Rising Star Chef” by Chicago Social magazine in 2009 and 2016 and Eater Chicago’s “Chef of the Year” in the 2011 Eater Awards. In April 2018, Grueneberg premiered the new WTTW – PBS Chicago show “Dishalicious,” where she serves as host and invites three guest chefs, and friends, to create dinner party dishes in front of a live studio audience.

Grueneberg is currently Chef/Partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago’s West Loop, which she opened in November 2015 with business partner and long-time friend Meg Sahs. The restaurant has received acclaimed reviews from various outlets, including three out of four stars by The Chicago Tribune. In 2016, Monteverde received accolades including: one of Food & Wine’s “America’s Best Restaurants,” a top 50 finalist in Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants” list, Eater’s “21 Best New Restaurants in America,” GQ’s “12 Best New Restaurants,” Eater Chicago’s “Restaurant of the Year” in the 2016 Eater Awards, the “Worth the Wait” award in Chicago Tribune Dining Awards and named one of Chicago Magazine’s “15 Best New Restaurants.” In 2017, Monteverde was named one “America’s 38 Essential Restaurants” by Eater and then awarded “Restaurant of the Year” in the 2018 Jean Banchet Awards.



Poole’s Diner

“Life is short, eat dessert first.” John Poole may have taken Winston Churchill’s words to heart when he opened Poole’s Pie Shop in 1945. For six years the cozy spot was a veritable holy grail of pies – all sweet – but soon their patrons wanted more. In the early 1950’s, “chicken slick,” sandwiches, and a daily “hot plate” made their way onto the Poole’s menu, and the line to be served wrapped around the corner. The pie shop moved out, as Poole’s Pies became Poole’s Luncheonette, and a downtown hot-spot was born.

In its latest incarnation Poole’s Diner has returned to its diner roots under the ownership of Chef Ashley Christensen.  Marrying a clean aesthetic with retro-chic charm, Christensen restored and highlighted the “bones” of the original restaurant, including the double horseshoe bar and red leather banquettes, pairing it with modern elements like Lucite chairs, and oversized blackboard menus that change daily based on season and availability. 
Since making Raleigh her home, Chef Ashley Christensen has sought to foster community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of the city’s downtown neighborhood. Ashley began cooking during college, throwing dinner parties for her friends and family.  These intimate gatherings helped her recognize her passion for cooking and sharing food, and ultimately led to her first professional cooking job at the age of 21. Upon taking the position, she knew she had found her life’s work. After working in some of the Triangle’s top kitchens, Ashley opened Poole’s Diner in 2007, which takes its name and décor from the building’s original tenant–one of downtown Raleigh’s first restaurants.   The philosophy of the kitchen and bar at Poole’s Diner is simple to digest … creative, simple offerings carefully executed.  Our menus are inspired by the season and its many offerings. As the season changes, at some points on a daily basis, so do our chalkboard menus. We work with local growers and artisan producers whenever possible, to showcase their craft, while practicing our own. We are proud to be a part of a community that recognized the importance and value of supporting the small family farm. 
When she’s not in the kitchen, Ashley focuses her time on a number of local and regional charities. She has served as a board member of the Frankie Lemmon Foundation and a co-chair of its annual fundraising event,Triangle Wine Experience. She has also served on the board of Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. She is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and founded the biannual eventStir the Pot, in which she hosts visiting chefs in Raleigh to raise funds for the SFA’s documentary initiatives.  
Ashley’s work has gained national attention from such publications as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. She has appeared on Food Network’s popular series Iron Chef America and MSNBC’s Your Business.
In 2014, Ashley was awarded the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast,” and in 2019 she was awarded the James Beard Award in the “Outstanding Chef” category. Ashley was named Chef of the Year by Eater.com in 2017. She is the author of the cookbook, Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner, which was published by Ten Speed Press in fall 2016 and named one of the top cookbooks of the fall by the New York Times.