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Wine Wanderlust Guide: February 2018

Plan your travels with wine in mind: Brighten up winter by indulging at wine and food festivals in South Beach and Charleston. Plus, downtown Miami gets a new Italian marketplace and top chefs team up for charity before the Super Bowl
The Mercato shopping area is one of the many attractions at Miami’s new La Centrale Italian food hall.
Photo by: La Centrale
The Mercato shopping area is one of the many attractions at Miami’s new La Centrale Italian food hall.

Samantha Falewée
Posted: January 26, 2018

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La Centrale Opening in Florida

La Centrale
The Bottega del Vino wine shop will offer more than 300 Italian wines.

Miami is enjoying a surge of attention for its robust dining scene, and now the city is getting its own Italian food hall, La Centrale, located in downtown's Brickell City Centre.

Opening in the next few weeks, the space will count 14 eateries among its tenants, including a bollicine and crudo bar where visitors can dine in or buy fresh fish and seafood to go. Wine lovers should head to La Centrale’s top floor, dedicated to wine. More than 300 Italian wines will be sold in the retail shop, Bottega del Vino, nestled between the Enoteca wine bar (expect crostini, antipasti and other snacks to pair with wines from the 30-selection list) and La Riserva, home to highly prized super Tuscans. Perfect for enjoying Miami's sunny weather, an outdoor balcony space will neighbor a demonstration kitchen called La Cucina. La Centrale copartner Jacopo Giustiniani, of the Fattoria Sardi Giustiniani winery in Tuscany, has helped guide the wine selection. Check out La Centrale.

Journeys in Wine and Food

Ready for the next adventure? Look for these wine travel experiences this February.


A precursor to the upcoming Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minn., the charitable Culinary Kickoff returns on Feb. 1 for its fourth iteration. This luxe event, held at chef Gavin Kaysen's Spoon and Stable restaurant, will be emcee'd by ESPN analyst Sage Steele, and Kaysen will be joined by chefs Michael Mina, Charlie Palmer, Scott Romano, Adam Sobel and Diane Yang for a four-course dinner. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m. with spirits from Revel Avila, and the wines come soon after. Expect pours from Charles Woodson's TwentyFour, JaM Cellars, John Anthony, Silver Oak, Twomey, Tuck Beckstoffer, The Withers and Vineyard 7 & 8. Tickets run $1,250 per person; a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Culinary Institute of America's Culinary Kickoff Scholarship Fund.


The Main Street Station in Richmond, Va., has stood as a local landmark since 1901.

The annual Virginia Wine Expo, now in its 11th year, is undergoing a major reset and expansion for 2018. From Feb. 18 to March 4, Richmond, Va., returns as the host with most events taking place in a new venue: the Main Street Station, a 1901 train station turned local landmark. The walk-around Grand Tasting on Saturday features more than 200 Virginia wineries, many of which are selling additional bottles that guests can take home. The highlighted “guest” wineries this year are from Oregon, Australia and New Zealand. Another new aspect in the tasting is the inclusion of spirits produced in Virginia. Two new events, “Bounty of Virginia” and “Rooted in Richmond,” celebrate Richmond’s chefs, while seminars like “Virginia's Great Artisanal Edwards Ham & Cider Tasting” round out the Expo’s programming with fun alternatives. One of the seminar speakers is Jay Youmans, who oversees the Governor's Cup wine competition that highlights some of the state’s best wines each year.

Several ticket package options are available, and Expo representatives note that attendance numbers have been capped to avoid long lines. Ticket proceeds benefit the Richmond Performing Arts Alliance.

South Carolina

Charleston Wine + Food
South Carolina’s “Holy City” welcomes food and wine lovers each spring at the Charleston Wine + Food festival.

The Charleston Wine + Food festival (Feb. 28–March 4) is one of the darlings of East Coast foodie events due to its creative and inclusive programming. This year, Los Angeles restaurateur Nancy Silverton will meet Charleston fashionista Stacy Smallwood onstage to swap thoughts on the parallels between the art of a wardrobe and the composition of a plate (“Some Like It Haute,” March 2). In a two-part panel discussion that same afternoon, chefs like Angie Mar of New York’s Beatrice Inn and heritage southern food proponent Sean Brock discuss how restaurateurs can enrich local communities in ways beyond traditional philanthropic giving. On March 1, festivalgoers can enjoy blending their own wine (“Wine Blending: Flavor with a Backstory”) with Napa Valley’s Wine Foundry or meet Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver at a guided tasting with food pairings. Tickets are already going fast.


The South Beach Wine & Food Festival takes place right on the beach each year.

If Charleston has the charm, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival has the splendor. The annual bash returns to Miami Feb. 21–25. The packed roster of chefs includes many familiar heavy hitters: José Andrés, Michelle Bernstein, Daniel Boulud, Giada De Laurentiis, Francis Mallmann, Joan Nathan, Enrique Olvera, Daniela Soto-Innes, Jacques Torres, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jonathan Waxman … need we go on? Wine is the focus of quite a few seminars, ranging from Australian Shiraz to rare Italian grape varieties to commendable California Pinot Noirs. Wine Spectator is sponsoring 11 wine seminars in total, where wines from producers like Pio Cesare, Penfolds, Maison Louis Latour and Daou Estate will be featured. Be sure to check out Wine Spectator's Best of the Best event at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, where 60 chefs offer bites to try along with more than 100 wines rated 90 points or higher. Event tickets start as low as $24.

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