Tickets are now on sale for the 29th annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival, presented by Taste of the South. The festival will be held from March 10 to 15, 2014, with signature events including the Grand Tasting and Public Tasting.
The festival started almost 30 years ago, as part of an island-wide push to promote the food and beverage industry, and bring more visitors to Hilton Head Island. What started out as a three-hour-long tasting event has since then grown to become a weeklong festival celebrating local food and wine. The festival’s signature event, the original Public Tasting, is the largest outdoor tented public wine tasting on the East Coast.
"This festival is starting to attract major wine and food personalities along with attendees from all over the United States. We are very excited about our celebrities, Eric Asimov and Christy Jordan, joining us and our planned Wine Knowledge sessions that will enhance our attendees visit to the island," stated Tamara Bream, chairman of the festival board.
Eric Asimov is the chief wine critic for The New York Times, and will appear at the Grand Tasting, where autographed copies of his book How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto will be available for purchase. Southern cook Christy Jordan will be joining the Public Tasting, also giving out signed copies of her book Come Home to Supper.
In preparation for the festivities, certified wine educators and advance sommeliers from across the country will spend three days in January judging more than 850 different wines, from which the best will be selected and awarded with gold and silver medals. The winning wines will then be featured throughout the festival events.
Though food and wine are the main themes of the event, there is also a charity side to the festivities. Produced by the nonprofit corporation Hilton Head Wine & Food, Inc., the festival aims to supports students seeking to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism. Proceeds from the wine auctions at the Grand and Public Tastings will be donated to the John & Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship Fund for college students going for degrees in the hospitality and tourism.