For the past 15 years, Charleston Wine + Food has served as a love letter to southern cuisine, a beacon for food lovers and professionals from across the country, and a showcase for the city at the heart of the Lowcountry region’s dining and drinking scene. Now’s the time to book your tickets for the next festival installment, coming March 4 to 8, 2020.
This year’s festival promises more than 300 chefs, including stars from throughout the South, like Frank Stitt and Cheetie Kumar, as well as well-known chefs from other parts of the country, 100 winemakers and beverage professionals, and 100 artists and experts to celebrate this milestone year.
Charleston Wine + Food’s plentiful and varied programming allows every attendee to design their own unique experience, with more than 130 workshops, dinners, classes, and parties at venues all over the Holy City.
At the heart of Charleston Wine + Food is the Culinary Village, where you’ll taste your way through the finest food and drinks Charleston has to offer. Nestled in downtown’s Marion Square, the Culinary Village runs Friday through Sunday, and your ticket includes five hours of live chef demos, tastings, and music under the tents. Whether you are a first-time attendee or a Wine + Food veteran, the Culinary Village is a must for your festival itinerary.
In the evenings, Signature Dinners provide the opportunity to indulge in a meal at more than 20 of Charleston’s top restaurants as guest chefs join local chefs for once-in-a-lifetime multi-course dining experiences. Locations this year include Butcher & Bee, Renzo, and Leon’s Oyster Shed, among others.
The Festival’s three-day lineup of beverage workshops cover wine, beer, and spirits with tastings and classes with makers and other beverage professionals. Go deep on tequila, Champagne, Napa Cabs, and explore the principles of beer and food pairings. Experience the taste of a bourbon aged at sea poured by the founder and master blender of Jefferson’s Bourbon, or discover new wine worlds with New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov.
Ready to be immersed in Charleston’s history and culture? Excursions offer guests the opportunity to be guided through an insightful education experience that incorporates the charms of Charleston with impeccable cuisine. This year, guests can forage in the coastal woodlands (with beer, of course), or tour the smokehouse at John Lewis Barbecue, followed by a multi-course dinner paired with Chilean wine.
While it might seem like the festival is all about indulging, there’s a dedicated focus on wellness and education as well, particularly when it comes to the Hands-on Classes. Join a yoga or barre class (followed by bites and sips, of course) or get the 411 on kombucha from local ‘booch experts Dalai Sofia.
Charleston Wine + Food’s festival will certainly leave attendees feeling sated in the culinary sense, but it goes even further as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that not only bolsters the economy of the local Charleston community (95 percent of the money spent producing the festival is poured back directly into the city), but makes further efforts to support education through scholarships, fellowships, and internships. It also makes financial contributions to One80 Place Training, an organization that helps combat homelessness and address the industry’s staffing shortage through crash-course culinary training programs.
Book now as events are already selling out.
5 Can’t-Miss Drink Events
There’s no shortage of beverage-related workshops and events during the festival’s five days, but if you lean more toward the “wine” side of Charleston Wine + Food, you’ll want to check out some of these hand-picked happenings.
It seems like there’s a new canned wine on the market every week, and any bar worth its rosé has a wine on tap these days. Spend an afternoon with winemakers like Russell Hearn of New York’s Lieb Cellars and JP Caldcleugh from Oregon’s Union Wine to try some of the best wines available in aluminum while snacking on small bites and enjoying views of Charleston Harbor.
You know Champagne, but do you know Pét-Nat? Winemaker Jody Brix Towe of J. Brix Wines in southern California’s Santa Maria Valley will introduce you to this ancient style of bubbly, which is becoming increasingly popular among winemakers around the world.
Join California winemakers Katie Bundschu of Sonoma’s Gundlach-Bundschu winery and Laura Brennan Bissell of Napa’s INCONNU as they discuss the effects of cool-climate terroir on their Cabernet Sauvignons.
After a day of classes and tastings, come party at Holy City Brewing as it hosts an international market. Running Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, Night Bazaar will offer international-inspired dishes from chefs around the globe, beverages for all tastes, and live music from an impressive lineup of bands and DJs.
The name says it all: Held at the Navy Base along the Cooper River, this event is your chance to sip bourbons from across the country on the lawn of a gorgeous estate that once served as the naval commander’s headquarters. To match the whiskey, chefs, including Steven Manall of Charleston’s own Palmetto Cafe, Keith Richardson of Kiawah Island’s Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House, Jamie Cribb of The Kennedy in Spartanburg, and Ryan Pera of Houston’s Agricole Hospitality group, will serve delicious bites for an ideal afternoon.
For more information on the Charleston Wine + Food, or to buy tickets, visit charlestonwineandfood.com.
This article is sponsored by the Charleston Wine + Food.