This weekend was a big one for Orlando’s wine scene, with the inaugural Orlando Wine Festival on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes. The Orlando Magic organized the event and invited me to attend the al fresco grand tasting.

It featured mostly Napa wines, and while those big reds were a little challenging to drink outside on a warm day, it was worth it to taste some of the classic wines on hand – Dunn and Heitz were among the biggest names. I also enjoyed making a few new discoveries, including one of Argentina’s first GSM Rhone-style blends from Corazon del Sol, a project of Napa’s Revana Family Vineyard. All the winery representatives were lovely and informative too.

My only regret is that the festival’s high price tag (the cheapest package was $2500 per couple) kept many members of Orlando’s robust and active community of wine lovers away. Of course, the Magic sees the event primarily as a fundraiser for its Youth Foundation, but it would be nice if the team could find a way to make it more accessible to Orlando oenophiles who regularly support local wine establishments.

There are plenty of wine events coming up this week with significantly lower barriers to entry, though. Read on for the highlights.


Tuesday, Swirlery hosts a study of Franciacorta Italian sparkling wine with the winemaker, and K Restaurant holds a Spanish wine dinner.

Wednesday, the Franciacorta tour moves to Digress, and Regency Wine & Liquor hosts winemaker Rich Parducci of Mendocino, CA’s McNab Ridge Winery.

Thursday, Matt Cline of Three Wine Company in California’s Russian River Valley headlines a free tasting at Tim’s Lake Mary.

Friday, Luisa’s Cellar hosts a free tasting of German and Austrian wines.

Saturday, Luisa’s holds a Spanish wine tasting … conducted partly in Spanish! And Terralina Crafted Italian in Disney Springs holds a multi-course “Wine & Cheese Experience.”

Details are on the Calendar Page, as well as listings for the next several weeks.

Cheers Orlando!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.