Grand Tasting Tickets Go On Sale November 11!!
Presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, this four-day culinary celebration brings together celebrated regional chefs and world-renowned vintners.
(Sarasota, Florida) Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, a four-day culinary festival presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO), unites food, wine and beer enthusiasts with preeminent regional chefs and celebrated vintners from around the world. The festival, January 24-27, 2014, features various winemaker events at area restaurants and retail shops (January 24, 25); interactive wine seminars (January 25); The Grand Tasting in The Ringling Museum’s courtyard (January 26); and a trade event for area restaurants, retailers and hoteliers (January 27). Each participating winery will submit wines of their choice to be judged by a panel of wine professionals in advance of the festival. Winning wines will be awarded gold, silver or bronze in a number of categories. Event goers will have an opportunity to purchase all of the wines—including the award-winners—at The Grand Tasting.
The Grand Tasting, which features signature dishes from the area’s top chefs, along with a vast array of wines and beers presented by guest vintners and breweries, is Sunday, January 26, noon to 4 p.m., at The Ringling Museum.
“We selected more than 60 renowned wineries to be represented by winemakers at the event,” says Kate Atkin, executive director of SMO, adding that guests will be able to purchase favorite wines after sampling them. “Many of the unique wines available to taste at The Grand Tasting are not readily available for purchase locally, so we always suggest that people buy that day.”
The Grand Tasting tickets are $95 (plus service charges) and include free admission to the museum’s art galleries on the day of the event. VIP tickets are $250 (plus service charges) and include a $100 wine voucher for purchases made at The Grand Tasting, VIP parking, early admission to the event, a champagne reception, a guided tour of the art museum, covered seating at the event, and an invitation to the kick-off party. Tickets for The Grand Tasting go on sale Monday, November 11, 2013, at 5 p.m., and can only be purchased online at www.freshoriginals.com/forksandcorks. Ticket details for other Forks & Corks events will be available online soon.
“Since these tickets are the most sought-after in town, we recommend that people buy their tickets early,” says Atkin. “Last year, The Grand Tasting tickets sold out in less than four hours. We predict they’ll sell even faster this year.”
This year’s The Grand Tasting will feature a silent auction of fine wines to benefit All Faiths Food Bank. “Raising money for area non-profit groups is a vital element of this event,” says Atkin. “We’ve raised more than $220,000 over the past six years for our charitable partners and hope to continue to raise much needed money for these worthy organizations.”
Michael Klauber, SMO president and chair of the event, says that a main objective of Forks & Corks is to reinforce the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination. “The restaurant industry is a vital part of our community’s economic landscape and character,” he says. “In addition to our pristine beaches, wonderful climate and rich cultural amenities, The Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ more than 50 independently owned restaurants are a major part of how we promote our region to the world.”
Klauber adds that The Grand Tasting is also an important way for Originals’ restaurants to connect with new patrons and remind previous guests of the unique specialties at local eateries. “The Grand Tasting is an invaluable tool to introduce people who have a passion for food and wine to our award-winning, local independently owned restaurants,” says Klauber. “Participating restaurateurs always report seeing new guests in their restaurants immediately following the event.”
For more information about the seventh annual Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, visit www.freshoriginals.com/forksandcorks, or call 941-365-2800.
About The Sarasota-Manatee Originals
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2003, of more than 50 locally owned, independent restaurants in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Member restaurateurs are dedicated to preserving the culinary heritage of the Suncoast.