Miami Beach Wine and Food Festival
Now, Laurie and I are not exactly Miami Beach types…much less part of the ‘in-crowd’, ‘wanabes’ or true epicurean types that you would expect to find at an upscale Wine and Food Festival. However, when Dawn Marie came up with tickets to this South Beach event that coincided with our February Florida trip, we of course jumped at the opportunity to see what one of these happenings was all about!
This is the main walkway to the venue on the beach… It’s just after Noon and the crowds were just starting to gather. The weather was warm but beautiful.
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is an annual event. Expected guests included Emeril Lagasse, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray, Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Chiarello, the Neely’s, Charlie Trotter, and Anthony Bourdain. Note that these appearances were primarily for special events…which required special tickets. (For example, tickets for ‘The Q’, an event with Lagasse and Fieri, were $300.00 each) We did see a couple of the celebrity chefs…but it was at the restaurant in Miami where we had dinner the night before our visit to the Festival.
This is the entrance for ticket holders for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. We had trouble connecting with Dawn Marie’s contact that was providing our tickets, so by the time that we were able to get in line, it stretched for at least 3 city blocks. (Just go back to the previous photo, take the walkway back to the street, turn right and keep going until you’re another 100 yards out of the photo!)
Once we entered the venue, we were issued a wrist band valid for the afternoon and, more importantly, our own wine glass!
I threw this photo in just because this home is right across from the Festival, it’s a beautiful home and it was the home of famed fashion designer, Gianni Versace. He was gunned down by a serial spree-killer in 1997, right in front of this house.
This is a view of the South Beach itself on the day of the festival. The Festival was staged in a number of large to very large tents set up on the sand just about as far back from the water as this photo shows.
In 2011, the Festival sold 57,000 tickets from around the world for the 4-day event. Complete weekend passes to the Festival were priced at $1,280.00. Tickets for the 2012 event initially went on sale in October 2011…and scalpers were still getting premium dollars for hard to get tickets from eager out-of-town visitors. The 2012 iteration of the Festival was the 11th in Miami Beach. The primary sponsor is the Food Network but other sponsors included Moet Hennessy, Miami Magazine, Amstel Light, the Fontainebleau, Wine Spectator, Living Social, the Bank of America and American Express.
This is another nifty building on South Beach that caught our eye… It’s the Beach Patrol’s Headquarters. We’re pretty sure that before each day of the Festival was over, there would be more than a couple of arrests for public intoxication, lewd and lascivious behavior and disorderly conduct!
This is The Grand Tasting Village at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. It was a circus and a bit of a zoo as well. Tickets to this event were priced at $225.00. So much for the recession! This place was wall-to-wall! There must have been 100 or so different wineries represented in this tent! All we had to do was walk up to any of the ‘booths’ and tell the winery’s representative which wine or wines you wished to try…and they would pour some in your wineglass! There were a number of liquors available as well...
Laurie and I sampled more wine in a couple of hours than we have in the past several years as we toured wineries across America! The only thing that saved us from really getting ‘stupid’ was that several of the booths or stations in the tent were also serving snacks and some very nice appetizers. Sorry for the lack of photos from the Festival, but it’s hard to take pictures when you have a wine glass in your hand!
I didn’t want to disappoint those who view Miami Beach as a center for hedonistic pleasures, sin and bikini clad women… I don’t even know what wine these young ladies were representing but I’m guessing that it wasn’t some old and honored winery! Their booth did draw a lot of attention…mostly from the 20/30 something crowd of young and somewhat inebriated males. Note: This was the only booth in the tent that was staffed in this manner…
Attending the Miami Beach Wine and Food Festival wasn’t on our bucket list…but it was an interesting experience. While I would never shell out the money needed to fully experience an event like this, we’re glad that Dawn Marie provided the opportunity for us to mix with the food and wine crowd…and to drink quite a bit of very good wine!
For more information about the 2012 South Beach Food and Wine Festival, just go to http://2012.sobefest.com/. I’m sure that you’ll be able to link up with information for the 2013 event…
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by to share part of our Florida 2012 trip with us!Take Care, Big Daddy Dave