Tallahassee, Florida (Press Release) —
The Second Annual North Florida Wine and Food Festival, a five-day series of events featuring fine wines and tantalizing foods, will take place this week, Sept. 8-12, in Tallahassee. This year’s festival expands on last year’s sellout inaugural launch. Proceeds will support the Florida State University Dedman School of Hospitality’s program in wine education.
“We are so proud of the Dedman School of Hospitality’s dedication to providing an individualized education while expanding through regional and national programs and partnerships,” said Caryn L. Beck-Dudley, dean of Florida State’s College of Business. “This type of event is unique in that it provides invaluable experience for our students, but also is an upscale series of events for our local community and visitors.”
Mark Bonn, the Robert H. Dedman Professor of Service Management in the Dedman School and organizer of the festival, said the events focus on educating students while providing an exclusive event for participants.
“The North Florida Wine and Food Festival provides the region the opportunity to have fun tasting new wines and foods, gaining wine education and experiencing the outstanding service commitment of our students while supporting future leaders in the food and beverage industry,” Bonn said. “Wines from around the world are offered to appeal to everyone’s palate.”
The main event of the festival features more than 300 wines and food from over 30 restaurants from across the region, providing a taste of everything North Florida has to offer. In fact, several restaurants that are donating food are owned or operated by FSU hospitality graduates.
“As one of the many local graduates of the hospitality school at FSU, I enjoy giving back through participating in these events to support the highly rated program,” said Jay Burleson, owner of Tallahassee’s Café Cabernet and a 1998 alumnus.
Tickets to individual events can be purchased in advance at the website below or can be paid by cash or check at the door.
Events are as follows:
* The festival begins Wednesday, Sept. 8, with an “Evening of Bubbles” from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the University Center Club. The night of glamour and entertainment will feature champagne and sparkling wines; a martini station; seafood and pasta; fruits and cheeses; desserts; and a fashion show, ideal for ladies looking for a midweek “girls night out,” or for couples ready to enjoy a memorable night out together. Admission to this event is $50 per person.
* “The Winemaker’s Dinner” will take place the following evening (Thursday, Sept. 9), from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Osceola Sports Grill, University Center Club, and will feature a winery representative from a top California vineyard. Expect an intimate fine-dining experience pairing superior wines selected by the featured guest with a multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Jim Koenigsberg of the Dedman School of Hospitality and served by students of the school. Tables are available for $900 each for eight guests; individual seats are $125 each.
* On Friday, Sept. 10, event-goers can trade in goblets for golf clubs beginning at 9 a.m. as the North Florida Wine and Food Festival Golf Tournament tees off at SouthWood Golf Club, voted one of the “Top 25 Public Golf Courses in Florida” by Golf Digest. This shotgun-format tournament includes breakfast, lunch, beverages, giveaways, prizes and trophies. Tickets are $500 for four-person teams; individual tickets are available for $125.
* The “Grand Tasting” finale, on Sunday, Sept. 12, will happen from 5 to 8 p.m. at the University Center Club Grand Ballroom. It will feature more than 300 fine wines accompanied by deliciously prepared foods donated by 30 of the most popular restaurants in the region. Two educational wine programs will be offered. The first wine education program (5-6 p.m.) will be taught by Kirk Baker, regional manager for Frederick Wildman & Sons, one of the world’s largest importers of fine French and Italian wines. His presentation addresses “Understanding French Wine” and includes an understanding of regions, a comprehension of French wine labels and ideal food pairings. Check the festival website for details on wines that Baker will feature, along with information about the second wine education program (6:15-7:15 p.m.). A silent auction, with items ranging from exciting weekend getaways and challenging golf rounds to catered dinner parties and delectable wines, concludes the evening’s event and the North Florida Wine & Food Festival. VIP tickets, allowing early admission at 4 p.m., are $125. General admission tickets are $50.