BEYOND THE BOTTLE

Events that go beyond the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival’s Public Tasting

Lines of white canopied tents positioned perfectly side by side, crowds moving from whites to red and from domestic to international, waiters racing to the finish line in a culinary-inspired obstacle course, bartenders facing off in one-on-one competition and the familiar routine of twirl, smell, sip, swish then, my favorite, spit (I mean, at what other time is spitting in public considered completely normal if not mandatory?).  These are the images most recognizable of the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival’s Public Tasting, the largest tented public outdoor wine tasting event on the East Coast.  However, the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival goes so much deeper than the Public Tasting.  As the last event on the Festival’s schedule, the Public Tasting (Saturday, March 15, 2014) is really the last drop to quite a full bottle.

Image 1 -Sommelier Rick Rubel

Sommelier Rick Rubel

The cork to this year’s Festival will be popped on Monday, March 10th with an evening at the movies.  At this year’s Wine & Cinema Festival Kickoff Event at Custom Audio Video’s showroom in Bluffton (Sheridan Park), attendees will receive a private screening of SOMM the Documentary.  Viewers will be taken behind the scenes and into the world of four men attempting to pass the excruciatingly detailed and demanding Master Sommelier Exam.  While watching those with their stomach in knots trying to become a part of the elusive Court of Master Sommeliers, viewers will be treated to hors d’oeuvres catered by Redfish (one of my favorite Island restaurants) and, needless to say, a selection of award winning wines.

Wine Dinner Trattoria Divina

Wine Dinner Trattoria Divina

Festivities continue throughout the week (March 11th – 15th) with a variety of wine dinners pairing the Island’s great chefs with great wines.  From Italian to Tapas-style dining, from steaks to seafood, there is something on the schedule to just about anyone’s liking.

Looking to expand your mind in addition to your waistline?  Look no further than this year’s Wine Knowledge Sessions including seminars on Napa vs. Sonoma and History of Zinfandel in California.  Four sessions in total are being offered (all are $45/person) as part of this year’s event and will be held Thursday, March 13th and Friday, March 14th at the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island.

The more intimate Grand Tasting

The more intimate Grand Tasting

And the last big hoorah before the conclusion at the Public Tasting on Saturday, March 15thThe Grand Tasting at the Sea Pines Country Club on Friday, March 14th.  Here, ticket holders (of which there are a limited number available), can learn about and taste premium wines in a more intimate setting. Wine will be flowing, hors d’oeuvres will be passed and critics will be on-hand (Eric Asimov, New York Time’s Chief Wine Critic, will be in featured guest).

So, as March 10th approaches, polish up your glass, dust off your corkscrew and get ready for not-to-miss, never-to-forget experience at the 2014 Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival!  I’ll be there with bells (or in this case, my wine yoke) on!