Magic Hosts First Orlando Wine Festival; Lots of Events Coming Up This Week

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.

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New Events & Two New Places to Wine – The Imperial Winter Park & Eola General

It’s a great time to be a wine lover in the City Beautiful!

The number of wine-focused and wine-aware establishments just keeps growing (details on two brand new ones are below), as does the number of wine events popping up on the calendar. Because of this embarrassment of riches, you may notice a slight change in the level of detail on these regular posts. From now on, I’ll highlight a maximum of two events per day – but I’ll always let you know when there are more, and you can always find the full listing on the Wine Events page.

Without further ado, let’s get right to the highlights of …

ORLANDO’S WEEK IN WINE

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Step Outside the Champagne Box: Six Unexpected Bottles of Bubbles for NYE!

Looking for something a little different to ring in the new year? Check out this post from 2016 for some Champagne alternatives that will put a sparkle in your celebration!

Orlando Wine Blog

Not much beats Champagne on New Year’s Eve, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box (and easier-on-the wallet) alternatives for the big night, you’re in luck! Champagne doesn’t have a lock on quality sparkling wine anymore. All six of these bottles should delight your palate, satisfy your enological curiosity, and enhance your celebratory mood as you welcome 2017. And only one of them is even from France!

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Bubbles, Nebbiolo, Cheese & Chocolate Highlight Orlando’s Christmas Week Wine Events

Christmas is almost upon us, and our local wine merchants are taking a short events breather surrounding the day itself. But they’ll be there for your last minute pre-holiday sipping and again to help you celebrate after your guests have left!

Read on for your Christmas week highlights:

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Eclectic Wine Events Coming Up

Central Florida is in for a fun streak of wine events next week – a little serious and a little whimsical, a little Old World and a little New, a little something for everyone.

Sunday, sample big California wines from the Wagner family at Tim’s Windermere.

Tuesday, try unique wines from Southern Italy at Bella Tuscany.

Wednesday, Digress Wine hosts its first “Cellar Series” tasting focusing on the many faces of chenin blanc.

Thursday, join the folks at Tim’s in Lake Mary-Sanford for wine and Halloween candy pairings.

Details and reservation info for all these happenings are on the Events Page, along with a couple of unique dinners and tastings farther out on the calendar.

Cheers to a wine-drenched fall, Orlando!