EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. AT #SOBEWFF
The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a national, star-studded, five-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.
Hosted By & Benefiting
Hosted by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Florida International University (FIU), the Festival benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. Each year, more than 1,200 students and volunteers gain invaluable real-world experience with the Festival – which serves as an interactive educational platform for the future leaders of the hospitality industry. To date, the Festival has raised more than $26 million for the School.
Having just celebrated its 16th year, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus.
For five years, from 1997-2001, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, then director of special events & media relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reins of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the Festival to life by relocating it to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival® was held March 15 – 17, 2002 and attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars, Grand Tasting Village, debut of the BubbleQ®, and live Auction in its first year.
The first Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best event took place at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach during the 2005 Festival.
In 2006, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival® celebrated its fifth anniversary and became one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country.
The Festival entered into the beginning of its partnership with Food Network in 2006, during the planning stages of the 2007 Festival. The resulting Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which took place February 22 – 25, 2007, attracted 30,000 guests. The newly renamed Festival also featured the first Burger Bash® hosted by Rachael Ray.
The Festival debuted its large-scale, family-friendly program – Fun and Fit as a Family, which still takes place each year for two days during the Festival weekend at Jungle Island. Attendance at the Festival surpassed 50,000 this year.
The Festival welcomed King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain to Miami for a special tribute to the wines and food of Spain.
In 2011, the Festival celebrated 10 years and released the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America’s Hottest Chefs (Clarkson Potter, November 2010), written by Lee Brian Schrager with Julie Mautner, featuring a foreword by Anthony Bourdain.
The Festival welcomed more than 60,000 attendees.
The Festival celebrated the opening of the newly constructed Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory at FIU, a state-of-the-art teaching facility built as a result of funds raised by SOBEWFF®.
The Festival celebrated its 15th anniversary with an expansion of its physical footprint into Broward County with the launch of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series.
For its 16th year, SOBEWFF® partnered with hospitality impresario David Grutman to bring a premier music experience to its signature Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village event for the first time. The inaugural David Grutman Experience featured a performance of high energy beats from INGROSSO.
Looking Forward to 2018
The Festival now attracts more than 65,000 guests annually to its 85+ events throughout the five-day weekend, which take place at various locations throughout South Florida. Looking forward, the 17th annual Festival will take place February 21-25, 2018 and will once again feature internationally renowned talent and leaders of the hospitality industry at uniquely crafted events showcasing world-class wine, spirits, food, and fun.