November 2013

Savannah Food & Wine Festival:A World-Class Culinary Event

Author: Special to CH2

The Savannah Food & Wine Festival is poised to set the bar high this November with its culinary celebration of one-of-a-kind wine dinners, tastings, cooking demonstrations, classes and more. A stellar line-up of chefs, cookbook authors, events and premium wine and spirit brands from around the world will be showcased in Savannah, Georgia throughout the week of November 11-17.

“This is all so very exciting because this is something new,” said Michael T. Owens, president of the Tourism Leadership Council and president and co-founder of the Savannah Food and Wine Festival. “So many in Savannah have talked about this for years, and the good news is it’s finally happening on a scale bigger than any of us dreamed.”

A few of the James Beard Foundation award-winning chefs include Hugh Acheson, Chris Hastings, Steven Satterfield and Elizabeth Terry. Other notable celebrity guests include: Extreme Chef winner of the Food Network, Anthony Lamas; award-winning chefs Kent Rathbun from Dallas, TX and Shaun Doty from Atlanta, Ga.; Master Sommeliers Robert Jones and Michael McNeill; James Beard Foundation award-winning authors, The Lee Brothers from Charleston, S.C. and Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart; along with a host of many others making special appearances throughout the seven-day festival. The main event, the Taste of Savannah will feature something for every member of the family, including a “culinary kids” area. A Culinary Court, Artisan Market, Celebrity Chef Kitchen, Cookbook Author Signing Tent, Silent Auction, Waiter’s Race and Bartender’s Challenge will all be a part of the main, Taste of Savannah event on Saturday, November 16.

The festivities begin on November 11, with a Farm to Table Wine Dinner. Festival attendees will enjoy week-long extravagant wine dinners and tastings, sample rare wines from around the world and enjoy cooking demonstrations from local and award winning celebrity chefs. It is certain to be an epicurean celebration of all four senses: taste, smell, sight and sound.

“The event I’m most looking forward to is the Michael Mondavi Family Estate Dinner,” Owen said. “Two of my favorite chefs in the world will be cooking for us, and the wine we will be enjoying is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I know that Rob is reaching into his personal collection along with his dad. It will be an event not to be missed.

“I haven’t decided which connoisseurs dinner I’ll be attending,” Owen continued. “All of the menus are great, and it will be such a treat to interact directly with the winemakers and vineyards. These are among Savannah’s favorite chefs, and it will be very difficult to choose just one. I think I can safely say that I will HAVE to go to two!”

Specific information on the connoisseur wine dinners and tickets can be found at or by calling (912) 232-1223.

Mondavi Family to Host “The Ultimate Wine Dinner”
Wines aged to perfection for over 40 years are being pulled from the private cellars of the Mondavi Family private collection for the most anticipated event of the Savannah Food & Wine Festival, “The Ultimate Festival Wine Dinner, hosted by Rob Mondavi, Jr.” Special celebrity guests and celebrated chefs, Chris Hastings and Kent Rathbun will be preparing a spectacular four-course meal, along with host chef of The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, Sir Roger Michel.

“I am thrilled to be joining the inaugural Savannah Food & Wine Festival and feature wines from my family’s estate and personal cellar alongside my great friends and chefs Chris Hastings and Kent Rathbun,” said Rob Mondavi. “Pairing four decades of our wines with Chris and Kent’s food is an honor, and the rare gems we plan to pour will be a treat to share with everyone who joins us. It is sure to be a highlight of an already exciting weekend.”

“The Saturday, November 16 Michael Mondavi Family Estate Dinner is certainly the most exciting wine dinner for the entire festival,” said Jan Gourley, festival director. “The caliber of the wines Rob has chosen from the family’s private collection for the evening is stellar. The Mondavi family has been making wines in Napa Valley California for four generations, and we are so honored and happy to have the opportunity to celebrate Rob and his family along with these very rare wines.

Grand Reserve Tasting to benefit The 200 Club of The Coastal Empire
A local nonprofit organization, The 200 Club of The Coastal Empire will be receiving a portion of the proceeds raised during a high profile event at the Savannah Food & Wine Festival, The Grand Reserve Tasting. Wine bottles averaging more than $50 will be opened for those who desire the ultimate in wine tasting. A silent auction will be held at the event with gourmet appetizers served.

Community has been the focal point of the Savannah Food & Wine Festival since the week-long event was first announced. Giving back and supporting nonprofits has also been a high priority for festival organizers.

“The 200 Club of the Coastal Empire goals and objectives are honorable and clearly in line with Savannah’s needs,” said Michael T. Owens. “The organization provides immediate financial assistance for surviving spouses and children of local law enforcement officers and firefighters who lose their lives in the line-of-duty while protecting their communities. We are very proud to be associated with the amazing work the 200 Club provides to our community.”

Other nonprofits that will benefit from the week-long food and wine festival include, United Way of the Coastal Empire, Bethesda Academy, the West Broad Street YMCA and Mom’s Lemonade Stand.

Special V.I.P. guests at the Grand Reserve Tasting will include world-renowned wine makers, chefs and authors: Lydia and Rob Mondavi, Jr., Chef Chris Hastings, The Lee Brothers, Chef Anthony Lamas, Chef Shaun Doty, Master Sommeliers, Robert Jones and Michael McNeill, Joy Sterling, Iron Horse Vineyards and more. According to Hugh Golden, chairman of the Grand Reserve Tasting Committee, the event is the must-attend event for wine enthusiasts.

“If you appreciate good wine, the festival has a multitude of events you can attend; if you appreciate great wine, you won’t find a better ticket available in the southeast region to taste extraordinary wine than the Grand Reserve,” Owens said.

Tickets to the Grand Reserve Tasting are available but limited. Silent auction items will include one-of-a-kind wine lots, luxury travel, merchandise and services. Additionally, all patrons will receive a collectible piece of fine stemware for the tasting as a souvenir.

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