Posted on | September 21, 2012
Written by | Cara McIlwaine
For the fifth consecutive year, culinary icons and TV chefs are coming to the Big Apple for the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine.
“This has become one of the fall’s most anticipated events and has grown in size and scope over the past few years thanks in large part to so many of our valued partners, customers and suppliers,” says Brett Dunne, vice president & general manager-wine, for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, the festival’s exclusive provider of wines and spirits.
More than 120 culinary, wine and cocktail-themed events will take place across the city from October 11—14, with diverse offerings that appeal to both consumers and the trade. Last year, events had cumulative attendance of over 60,000 people across the four days.
Southern Wine & Spirits of New York’s director of special events, Rosalinda Secondini, and her team, including multimedia specialist Chris McCormack and events coordinator Viviana Barcia, have been instrumental behind the scenes, preparing for this year’s festival. Secondini says, “This year is gearing up to be our best yet. There’s a new cocktail-focused event—Astor Hours Cocktails at The Public Theater with Andrew Carmellini and friends—which will feature great cocktails and music in a late night cocktail crawl.” And to close out this year’s festival, “we have Trucks & Train presented by The New York Times and Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company, and hosted by Andrew Zimmern. This event takes over for the very successful Carts in the Parc event we held previously.”
One of the weekend’s biggest draws is always the Grand Tasting, held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which offers consumers and the trade a chance to see great culinary demos from favorite chef personalities; sample foods; and taste wines and spirits from Southern Wine & Spirits’ extensive portfolio.
Southern Wine & Spirits of New York is inviting its customers exclusively to visit the Grand Tasting on Friday, October 12th for the Southern Wine & Spirits Trade Tasting presented by Beverage Media (Trade Day). “Trade Day is really our opportunity to show off all of the great wine and spirits portfolios that we represent, from Southern Wine & Spirits, Lauber Imports and Liberty Wine Selections,” says Dunne. The Grand Tasting events will be held at Pier 57 for the second year in a row. In 2011, attendees at Trade Day had a chance to check out two new offerings, the Italian Fine Wine Tasting Room and the Boutique Spirits Tasting Room. This year, there will also be a newly added French Fine Wine Tasting Room. “We are utilizing the space at Pier 57 to offer a unique tasting experience unlike any other,” adds Secondini.
These additional rooms are only available to the trade on Friday, which makes them extra special. “New York is the top import market in the nation, and we have such a diverse portfolio, that bringing back the Italian and Boutique Spirits Rooms just made sense. It’s great that we can also add the French Fine Wine Room this year as well,” says Dunne.
The French Fine Wine Room will showcase producers from France’s top wine regions. “Representatives will be pouring Champagnes, fine Burgundies, wines of the Loire Valley, Provence, the Languedoc-Roussillon and the Rhône Valley. There will be some well-known brands as well as some special gems. It will be a nice mix showing off the best French regional wines,” says Secondini.
The Boutique Spirits Room is really the brainchild of Allen Katz, director of mixology and spirits education at Southern Wine & Spirits of New York. “Last year, it was fantastic to showcase brands from smaller-scale distilleries, under-the-radar products that are top quality. I’m so glad to bring it back this year and nurture the growing interest in craft, small-batch spirits,” notes Katz.
Trade Day remains the key event for members of the trade to attend, but there are other recommended events that are appropriate as well. Secondini suggests, “The seminar series presented by Food & Wine is another opportunity to learn about the Liberty Selections, Lauber Imports and Southern Wine & Spirits portfolios.” The series highlights include Hot Cocktails from the Kitchen at the Lambs Club, Gerard Bertrand Legend Vintages featuring wines going back to 1929, a retrospective Duckhorn Wine Tasting Seminar, a Charles Krug seminar led by Marc Mondavi and a seminar featuring Joseph Drouhin wines. “Some of our seminars offer an amazing opportunity to taste through old vintages and learn in-depth personal stories of the brands,” Secondini says.
“There are also a lot more spirits-focused events this year, like the Whiskey Rebellion event on October 13th, which is a fun experience with experts on understanding key differences in bourbons, ryes and other whiskies,” says Katz. He will be leading several spirits events including Whiskey Rebellion as well as Gin Revolution! Sunday, October 14th at 4pm at the Vault at Pfaff ’s.
All For A Good Cause
The New York City Wine & Food Festival offers a whole lot of fun, but it’s worthy to note that all of the proceeds from the weekend’s revelry go to food-related charities, benefiting Share Our Strength, the national organization dedicated to combating childhood hunger, and Food Bank for New York City, which helps feed the hungry across all five boroughs. “We at Southern understand how important is to be active in giving back to the communities in which we do business. It’s great that the money we raise from the festival goes right back into our local community to fight hunger here,” Dunne says. “We hope to raise over $1 million this year.”