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Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival

Melanie Scott - Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival began 28 years ago as part of an island wide promotion to bring visitors and stimulate the island’s food and beverage industry in the early spring shoulder season. At that time, Hilton Head Island was mostly known as a summer beach and golf destination. A group of fun-loving wine enthusiasts along with some great island culinary talents started the tradition of the annual Wine & Food Festival serving as the herald of spring. It was a coming out party of sorts, for residents and visitors alike who wanted to shake off winter. And with the help of many hands, the festival grew. From its origin as a one-day, three-hour tasting, the festival has now blossomed into a full week of events:  wine dinners, author receptions, movie screenings, wine knowledge sessions, a grand tasting and the public tasting. Our signature event, the original Public Tasting, is the largest outdoor tented public wine tasting on the East Coast!

One of the unique characteristics of the Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival is the festival’s cornerstone:  the International Wine Competition. In late January, Certified Wine Educators and Advance Sommeliers spend 3 days judging over 850 different wines. Gold and silver medals are awarded and those wines are featured throughout the festival events along with other vintner’s choices. Wines are judged in various categories and at all price levels.

The Festival is an event produced by the non-profit corporation Hilton Head Wine & Food, Inc. The proceeds from the festival’s wine auction at the Grand and Public Tastings support the John & Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship Fund for college students pursuing degrees in the hospitality & tourism field. Scholarships are currently offered at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry.

The Judges are all accredited either through the Society of Wine Educators or by the Court of Master Sommeliers. This event is not open to the general public. The award-winning wine recipients will be announced publicly on Monday, February 4th and will be listed in a program at the March 9th, Wine & Food Festival and Silent Wine Auction.

The John and Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship funds have been donated to students at USCB and TCL majoring in Hospitality Management. Students must have junior status, minimum GPA of 3.0 and be a resident of Beaufort or Jasper Counties of SC. Since 2009-2013, approximately $26,000 has been donated to scholarship recipients. The money received from the Grand Tasting and Public Tasting Silent Auctions support the scholarship fund.

The success of the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival is dependent on numerous volunteers who share a love of wine, food, fun, and our island home. We’d love to have your help!

Volunteer orientation meetings will take place in February. All volunteers are required to attend one orientation meeting.

The Great Chefs of the Island Wine dinners will take place March 10-15, 2014.                         


Grand Tasting - Sea Pines County Club

30 Governors Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Public Tasting - Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

No refunds/exchanges. All  sales final--rain or shine. 2 years or older.

Tickets prices range from $35- $110

Provides access to the 2014 Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival's Car Club Jamboree, Saturday, November 8 and Concours  d'Elegance

Sunday, November 9, 2014.

International Wine Competition

January 24-26

Great Chefs of the Island Wine Dinners

March 10-15

A series of dinners at some of the Island’s most outstanding restaurants where great wines and local chefs are partnered for a wide variety of scrumptious menu pairings.

Wine Knowledge Sessions

March 14

For those looking to learn more about tasting, pairing and choosing the right wines for any occasion. These sessions will provide wine lovers a fun and affordable opportunity to taste and learn about new wines.

Grand Tasting

March 14

Sea Pines Country Club

5:30 – 7:30pm

Offers an opportunity to learn about, taste and purchase premium wines in an intimate setting. Hors d’oeuvres served in reception style. Tickets are limited; includes premium keepsake tasting glass. Silent Wine Auction featuring many of the festival’s award winner wines to benefit The John and Valerie Curry Education Scholarship Fund. The Grand Tasting will feature Eric Asimov, New York Time’s Chief Wine Critic, where his new autographed book will be available for purchase with ticket.

Public Tasting Bon Appetit!

March 15

Historic Honey Horn Plantation

Noon – 4pm

The festival’s showcase event at beautiful Honey Horn Plantation. Come enjoy the largest tented public outdoor wine tasting event on the East Coast! Event features 400+ wines, with wine representatives from domestic and international vineyards on hand to share their expertise. In addition, attendees will enjoy gourmet treats from premier Island restaurants and watch our Chefs in action at the Outdoor Gourmet Pavilion. Check out the best of the Island’s hospitality industry at the Bartender’s Challenge and Waiter’s Race. Bid on a variety of award winning wines at the Silent Auction. The festival continues to support careers in the hospitality field through the Silent Auction which supports the John and Valerie Curry Educational Scholarship Fund for college students. Christy Jordan of fame will be in attendance and a copy of her autographed book will be available for purchase.

Admission includes souvenir tasting glass.  Adults 21 and  over.  Rain or shine.