Florida Winefest & Auction: April 12 to 15

Bid on bottles with sea, sun, and sand as your backdrop

Now in its 22nd year, the Florida Winefest & Auction is a wine (and food) festival and wine auction combined, set against the enviable beach landscape of Sarasota, Fla. Like a festival, the calendar is full of wine-soaked events, from dinners to lunches to tasting tips, and attendees have the added bonus of purchasing bottles directly from dozens of international wineries all in one room.

The event kicks off with 15 different Winemakers Dinners (three of which are already sold out), held in and around Sarasota at various private properties and restaurants like Mattison’s Forty-One, the Viking Culinary Center, and Darwin’s on 4th. At these events, winemakers will come together with chefs to create unique, multicourse dinners with wine pairings. Then, there is a Beach Feast held at the Longboat Key Club & Resort, which affords the chance to meet the winemakers face to face,

taste their wines, and enjoy the sunset with sand in your toes. These events and others ultimately lead up to the auction and grand tasting, at which point attendees will finally be able to get to bidding. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/JPott)

The auction itself will include lots like a 1990 Dom Perignon, a Lafite Rothschild from 1998, and a Drouhin Montrachet Laguiche from 2005, to whet your appetite. But there’s one other event this year that made us even more eager to get to Sarasota — the Titanic Dinner. They are hosting a recreated version of the last first-class dinner on theTitanic, with chef Christopher Covelli cooking seven courses to mimic what the passengers actually ate. They’re asking guests to dress in period costumes or in all white, and the dinner costs $250. They promise it’s the dinner you’ll be talking about for the next 100 years.

The Florida Winefest & Auction will also benefit six charities this year, though the list of charities they’ve helped since their first year is much longer. Some of this year’s charities include the Community Coalition on Homelessness, Mothers Helping Mothers, and the Emergency Family Shelter Program.