March 2009

Bring on Spring!

Author: Krissy Cantelupe

March is upon us, Think Spring! And also make your plans to enjoy the Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival. The annual celebration starts on Wednesday, March 11 and ends with the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 15. Events include tastings, dinners, tapas and cocktail parties, and a Saturday event hailed as the Largest Outdoor Public Tasting on the East Coast.

The Grand Tasting Event on Friday, March 13, will be held at the Sea Pines Country Club, 30 Governors Road, Sea Pines Plantation, from 5:30-7:30. It is a spectacular array of reserves, single vineyard selections, and rare back vintages from some of the most prestigious winemakers from all over the world. Featured wines include Don Melchor Cabernet 2003 Chile, Sartori Amarone “Corte Bra” Italy, Hartford Court Land’s Edge Pinot Noir 2005 Sonoma Coast, Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2005 Sonoma County, and Rombauer Diamond Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Napa. The event is usually a sell-out, so you’ll want to get your tickets early. $150 per person (+$5 gate pass). For more information or to make your reservation, call (800) 424-3387 or visit online at

On Saturday, March 14, the public tasting will be held at The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. The event begins with a Farmers Market from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. as well as a Junior League Pie Baking Contest from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The Wine and Food Tasting, from noon to 4 p.m., features hundreds of wine, many of which received medals from festival judging that took place in February. Look for the Best in Show White, Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc 2008, the Best in Show Red, Alexander Valley Vineyards, “Cyrus” 2005, the Best in Show Bubbly, Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc N/V, Robert Kacher Selection, The Best Value White, Savanha Special Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008, and the Best Value Red, Rodney Strong Sonoma Country Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. The silent wine auction will be held from noon-3 p.m., with a live wine auction from 3:00-3:30 p.m.

Other entertainment includes a Tailgate Gourmet Challenge, the Waiter’s Race (always a favorite) at 1:30 p.m., and a Best Bartender’s Drink Making Contest at 2:30 p.m. in case you want to check out the newest drinks in cocktail land. There will be plenty of food to choose from to pair with your wine as well and plenty of music and dancing. The cost is $40, which includes your tasting glass, but tickets do sell out quickly. So please call (800) 424-3387 or visit to order advance tickets.

Many other events occur this week which are part of the festival. Several restaurants are hosting Great Chefs of the South on Thursday, March 12, including Aqua Grille, RedFish, Old Fort Pub, and the Sea Pines Country Club. These restaurants will feature menus created by their executive chefs in conjunction with guest chefs from restaurants throughout the East Coast. Other locations hosting cocktail and tapas parties include WiseGuys, the XO Lounge, the Studio, WineTimes 4, San Miguel’s and the LowCountry School of Wine. For full details and menus, please visit

We hope to see everyone out there this whole week. And if wine and food doesn’t appeal to you, there is always the Shamrock Run on Saturday at 9 a.m. The 14th Annual Running of the Green will take runners down Pope Avenue and North Forest Beach. Prizes will be awarded and everyone will receive green party beads. This event is produced by Bear Foot Sports. For more information, call (843) 757-8520 or visit online at

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