New style in Old Town: Carpe Vino celebrates a decade of dining

By: Carol Guild, Content Manager
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Club Cru
Gary and Drew Moffat have acquired the Victorian building behind Carpe Vino at 165 Court Street.
Part of the building is being retrofitted for a private event center exclusive to Carpe Vino wine club members, which will boast several amenities, including a state-of-the-art audio and sound system, and a fusion table that can be converted to a conference table, dining table or a pool table.
Catering and wine from Carpe Vino will also be available.
The Moffats are in the process of crowd-funding the project.
For sponsorship information, to reserve Club Cru for a future event, or for more information, go to

The effervescent glow of evenings in Old Town Auburn are reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum.”
The painter’s brushstrokes could continue inside Carpe Vino – add the taste of fine wines, world-class cuisine and the sounds of content clientele.
Carpe Vino opened about 14 years ago as a wine bar. Think taste, buy, go. But the ambiance, panache, and of course the vino, reigned persuasive. People stayed. And they got hungry.
First using a hotplate to serve little noshes, Carpe Vino has evolved and expanded into a sophisticated establishment now celebrating 10 years of fine dining. With its upscale style and design, Carpe Vino has evolved a new esthetic for Old Town.
The Moffats launched the restaurant in 2006 with Pastry Chef Courtney McDonald and Executive Chef Eric Alexander. The couple also owns Four Tines Farms in Auburn, and brings some of the fresh vegetables, eggs and meat from the farm. There is also a vegetable garden behind Carpe Vino that boasts edible flowers, or, “pretties” as the chefs call them.
Carpe Vino’s menu includes creative offerings. For the upcoming decade celebration, the chefs are preparing dishes such as lamb meatballs, pork cheeks and, for dessert, a chocolate-cabernet torte.
“We cook with the seasons,” said Alexander. “And we get inspiration from all over the world: France, Italy, Thailand, Korea, the Middle East …  .”
The food has changed quite a bit, always staying relevant and modern, Alexander said.
He cites “terroir.” “It’s ‘of the Earth,’ a sense of place,” he said. “You can taste the wine terroir from its region, and every great restaurant has its own terroir. I like to think we have a sense of place, terroir, in this community.”
Along with the chefs, owners Gary Moffat and son, Drew Moffat, employ about 30 people and have cultivated a clientele from throughout the region and beyond.
“I think most people would agree that they have a clientele who search out fine dining and top quality wines,” said Auburn resident Jack Arns.
They have also enhanced the culinary and visual landscape of Old Town Auburn.
“It’s iconic,” Arns said. “And with the historic building, the owners have kept the flavor of Old Auburn.”
“We tried to keep (the building) authentic to the nature of its origins,” Gary Moffat said. “It’s magical, I think,”
Gary and Drew Moffat speak well of other businesses in Auburn, some of which are still anchors of Old Town.
“I think at the time we opened, the best dining destination for the caliber of food we provide was Bootleggers,” Drew Moffat said. “Other businesses were coming in to Old Town, too. It was a revitalization. I wouldn’t say we were the catalyst, but we were ground floor participants. We had a great location and a great idea.”
Carpe Vino has found its formula for success with Drew Moffat overseeing the daily operation, for the most part, and Gary Moffat handling marketing.
“Having Drew run the place was the best decision I ever made,” Gary Moffat said. “He throttled up and I throttled out.”
“It was the willpower of my father,” Drew Moffat said. “And we have some of the best clientele, staff and an amazing chef.”
Sierra Moon Goldsmiths is located on Sacramento Street near Carpe Vino. Owners Linda Pierce and John Lynch have celebrated staff Christmas parties in the “wine mine” at Carpe Vino. “The lighting in the cave and the superb wait staff make it an experience we love to have each year,” they wrote. “We have a lot of great dining experiences in Old Town, but they are the jewel of the crown.”
For more about Carpe Vino call 530-823-0320 or go to
Reach Features Editor Carol Guild at