The Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, sponsored by the Orlando Magic and benefitting its Youth Foundation, had its second event last weekend, but it wasn’t exactly second annual.
The first OWFA was in 2019, and the second was planned for March of 2020 and was to have included Michael Symon as the headlining chef and a concert by Boyz II Men. But it was cancelled – along with many other things, including the remaining NBA season – just days before it would have happened.
As Alex Martins, chief executive officer of the Orlando Magic, says in the video below, the decision to go ahead this year was made only 45 days before the event took place at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando.
The event began Friday evening with a vintner’s dinner at a home in Lake Nona. On Saturday afternoon, representatives from a host of wineries poured samples on the hotel’s Da Vinci Lawn while chefs tended food stations. Local restaurants and chefs included James Petrakis, Ravenous Pig; Jamie McFadden, Cuisiniers Catering; Chef Art’s Homecomin’; Seasons 52; Yard House; and visiting chef Bryce Shuman of Sweetbriar, a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York.
Shuman served some pretty substantial barbecue ribs, which seemed a bit much for the 4 to 6 p.m. event, considering that most attendees would be moving inside to a multicourse dinner at 7:30. Chef Art’s representatives served some deliciously creamy shrimp and grits and Petrakis had griddled octopus with fingerling potatoes.
Between the outside tasting event and the sit-down dinner, a live auction took place to raise money for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, which is committed to helping children in Central Florida, especially those most at risk, realize their full potential by supporting nonprofit organizations offering youth-based programs in the areas of education, housing/homelessness, the arts, and health programs focused on preventing childhood obesity.
Four hundred people bought ticket packages starting at $2500 for two to attend the tasting, auction and Saturday dinner plus Sunday’s Magic game against Oklahoma Thunder.
The Magic won.