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March 13, 2023

Your guide to Charlotte Wine + Food Week 2023

The annual event looks to add to the $6 million already raised for children’s charities

by TM Petaccia

Charlotte Wine + Food Week brings in guests from around the world to taste and talk wine in Charlotte. Photo by Josh Bannen Photography

Since 1989, the Charlotte Wine + Food non-profit organization has raised the profile of fine wine in the Queen City with the ultimate purpose to ensure area children receive a full and proper education regardless of economic situation. To date, more than $6 million dollars have been raised for their mission. From April 18-23, CW+F will look to take that total to new heights.

Charlotte Wine + Food Week brings in some of the world’s top vintners and sommeliers, pairing them with local chefs, for a series of public events and private dinners. This year, there are 15 individual restaurant dinners, plus CW+F’s Collector’s Gala and Auction on Friday, April 21 and CW+F’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, April 22. There are also a number of private, invitation-only events hosted by CW+F board members or sponsors to supplement the public fundraising as well as an online auction which will span the entirety of the six-day fundraiser.

The event has been named one of the top five wine events in the United States by Forbes Travel Guide (2014) and was recently named a “must-attend wine event” by the Sommeliers Choice Awards.

Lauren Deese, Executive Director of Charlotte Wine + Food. Photo courtesy

“It’s been pretty exciting that we’ve been around this long,” says Lauren Deese, Executive Director of Charlotte Wine + Food. “We’re hopeful for a really impactful year.”

Initially the public and private events each occurred on separate days, but a few years ago CW+F began to mingle the events together and distribute all of them over the course of the week.  “This works out better because people’s schedules are all different,” Deese says. “This way, they have more variety and will allow some people to come to multiple events.”

The Collector’s Gala and Auction, Charlotte Wine + Food’s signature event, will open with a tasting of a minimum of 15 high-end wines accompanied with passed appetizers. “These are the kinds of wines people with wine cellars are searching for,” Deese says. This will be followed by a seated, family-style dinner. Dishes will be supplied by Bader Catering, Jon G’s BBQ, L’Ostrica, and Cookies on the Side, with more expected to be named. Each table will seat ten, but only eight will be paying guests. The other two seats will be reserved for two representatives of a specific winery who will pour and discuss their wines.

Patrons can also bring in wines from their personal collections to share. “A guest can say ‘I’m inviting you to be at my table and I’m going to open some really cool stuff for you,’ ” says Deese. “It’s a lot of fun.” The evening will culminate with a live auction. Cost is $500 per person or $4,000 for a table of eight. 50 percent of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

The Grand Tasting is a “street fair for fine wine” at the Wells Fargo atrium, where attendees will have access to more than 100 wines from 25 different wineries, plus beer tastings from Divine Barrel Brewing as well as the 2023 James Beard-nominated Salud Cerveceria. Small bites will be provided by Angeline’s, Botiwalla Indian Street Food, Fat Cat Burgers & Bakeshop, Lincoln Street Kitchen and Cocktails, RSVP, Seasoned Provisions, SWIRL, and Table & Twine.. Live Jazz and a silent auction are also part of the festivities. Tickets are $150 per person ($175 for early access); $25 of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

“This is a little bit more of a party atmosphere than we’ve had in past years,” Deese says. “I’m excited about it.”

On the calendar

Public wine dinners. Designed as more intimate dinners, these will focus on a single winery or vintner. As of this writing, four events are already sold out. The host restaurants are Angeline’s, Biblio, Bonterra Dining & Wine Room, The City Club, Counter- (sold out), Customshop, Dilworth Tasting Room – SouthPark, The Fig Tree (sold out), Fin & Fino (sake dinner), Limani, Napa on Providence, and Porcupine Provisions Underground (two events – both sold out). With the exception of the already sold out Counter- dinner ($750), the cost per ticket for these events is either $195 or $250 per person ($50 tax-deductible). Full details on the CW+F website.

Sunday, April 23, will add two new themed events on the garden terrace at Uptown’s Carillon Tower, both offering dishes prepared by chef Edwin Cruz of Arbol Eatery. An al fresco Bubble Brunch will feature Domaine Chandon sparkling wines. Later that day, Buenas Noches: A Celebration of Spanish Food & Wine featuring wines from Spain’s Bodega Numanthia. Cost is $250 per person ($50 tax-deductible).

For the third straight year, Truist is Charlotte Wine + Food Week’s primary sponsor. This year’s charity beneficiaries are A Child’s Place, Augustine Literacy Project – Charlotte, GenOne, and The Learning Collaborative.

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