Dates Announced for 2nd Annual Orlando Wine Festival & Auction

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Martins MiliotesOrlando Magic CEO Alex Martins, left, announces dates for 2nd annual Orlando Wine Festival & Auction at Wine Bar George Thursday as owner George Miliotes looks on.

The second annual Orlando Wine Festival & Auction will be March 13 and 14, 2020, again with the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes as home base.

Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, which sponsors the event to benefit its Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, made the announcement at a kickoff reception Thursday at Wine Bar George in Disney Springs. Also in attendance were Charlie Freeman, president of the Magic’s business operations, players Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, and community members who attended and supported the inaugural event last March.

Martins announced that the first Orlando Wine Festival & Auction raised over $900,000 for local at-risk kids. The funds were raised through sales of attendance packages, priced at $2,500, $6,500 and $9,250 for two people with varying levels of participation, plus through bids on auction items that included trips to wine country (both domestic and European); luxury stays in Paris and London; an “Ultimate Super Bowl LIV Experience”; and a round of golf with Charles Barkley at Baha Mar Casino in Nassau.

Orlando wine Festival logoAs with last year, the weekend will begin with a series of vintner dinners held in private homes throughout Central Florida with celebrity chefs doing the cooking. (Here’s a look at a dinner I attended at the home of Robert and Tricia Earl with Masaharu Morimoto as the chef.)

The headliner chef for the 2020 festival will be Michael Symon, Food & Wine magazine’s 1998 Best New Chef designee and currently a television personality. Other chefs returning to cook include Jamie McFadden, Cuisiniers; James & Julie Petrakis, Ravenous Pig; Art Smith, Homecomin’; Melissa Kelly, Primo; and Kathleen Blake, formerly of Rusty Spoon. Other chefs and wineries will be announced soon, Martins said.

Saturday will feature the wine festival tasting on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton followed in the evening by the live auction.

Martins offered an enticement to attendees of Thursday’s reception: Anyone purchasing a Grand Cru Package ($9,250) or Premier Cru Package ($6,500) would receive a Coravin Wine Preservation Opener.

Following Thursday’s announcement, attendees were treated to a tasting of wines hosted by master sommelier George Miliotes, the George in Wine Bar George.

More information can be found at wineauctionorlando.com.