Online PR News – 17-December-2011 – – CHEFS AND VINTNERS NAMED

(Fort Myers, FL – December 14, 2011) -- The trustees of annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest have announced a stellar lineup of chefs and vintners for the 2012 event. On Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24 and 25, some of Southwest Florida’s finest chefs will join ten wineries and four wine distributors in the Wine & Food Fest, which features Chef Vintner dinners at private homes located throughout Lee and Collier Counties on Friday evening, and a Grand Tasting and Auction on Saturday afternoon at Miromar Lakes Beach Club. The Wine & Food Fest benefits local children's charities.

“We endorse the ideas espoused by Wine merchant and writer Andre Simon,” said Steve Machiz, M.D., Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest founding chairman, ‘Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized.’ For this reason, we seek out the best chefs and vintners, with each participant bringing a unique culinary style and perspective to our tables.”

The chef’s preparing Chef Vintner dinners on Friday night include: Jason Grasty from Roy’s; Alex Castro, Larkin’s on the River of Greenville, SC; Lysielle Cariot, Bleu Provence; Fabrizio Aielli, Sea Salt; Norman Love, Norman Love Confections; Andy Hunter, Bay House; Marbin Avilez, Bayfront Bistro; Gloria Cabral-Jordan, La Trattoria Café Napoli, and David Codney, The Ritz Carlton.

Saturday’s Grand Tasting chefs which include: Harold Balink, Cru; Marc-Jean and Trish Berruet, L’Etoile; Tanisha Samuels, Ada’s; Caroline Hostettler, Quality Cheese: Ryan Kida, Yabo; The Executive Chef at Miromar Lakes; Michael Ragusa, Shoals; Andreas Singer, The Hyatt Regency; Eric Truglas, Lush French Bakery; Greg Scarlatos, Angelina’s; Billy Mak, Blu Sushi; Christian Vivet, Blue Windows French Bistro; and, Tao Diaz, Sunshine Grille will be joined by Marbin Avilez, Jason Grasty, Norman Love and Nathaniel Reid.

The 2012 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will once again play host to a number of featured wineries, including many who have returned for an encore appearance.

"We continue to seek out the best wines available from a handful of distinctive and distinguished wineries," said Marshall Hanno, Wine Committee chairman, "Since we invite boutique wineries with extremely limited production, we’re privileged to offer wines that are highly rated by wine connoisseurs and yet rarely available to the general public.” The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is pleased to feature these very fine wineries:

Benovia Winery
Our signature vintner this year, Benovia Winery is Located on the west side of Route 12, just southwest of Healdsburg in the Sonoma Valley, Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane produce very limited quantities of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Although the winery was established a few short years ago, the wines have received outstanding reviews from just about every wine critic and publication in the country. Production of all wines is limited to around 3,000 cases a year…making them a rare treat, indeed.

Fisher Vineyards
The Fishers have supported our event for several years, donating their excellent Cabernets and Chardonnays, as well as elegant and gracious hospitality at their showplace winery high in the mountains between the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Their flagship Coach Insignia Cabernet is a favorite among both wine lovers and wine critics. They currently farm several vineyards on their mountain property, and 57 acres on the Silverado Trail adjacent to the famed Eisele Vineyard. Juelle and her husband Fred encourage their children Whitney, Cameron, and Robert in their efforts to continue the family tradition.

Tablas Creek
Once again, we’re pleased to welcome back Tablas Creek. The winery is jointly owned by Robert Haas, the founder of importer Vineyard Brands and the Perrin Family, owners of Chateau Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, and their California wines, made in the grand tradition of the Southern Rhone, offer the same sophistication, elegance, and grace.

V Madrone
Chris Tilley is one of those rare (and fortunate) people who was actually born and raised in Napa Valley. In fact, he graduated from St. Helena High School. Along with his wife Pauline, they have returned to their roots (or rootstock) and established their winery directly on Route 29 just south of Calistoga. Over the past few years they’ve expanded their excellent offerings from a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon to a Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and a Chardonnay that’s so good they can’t keep any of it for themselves.

Hall Napa Valley Winery
Merging history and innovation, Hall Napa Valley Winery is California's first winery to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification. Hall’s estate vineyards encompass more than five hundred acres of classic Bordeaux varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. Since unveiling their new winery in 2005, the Kathryn and Craig Hall have produced several award-winning wines including “Kathryn Hall" Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine ranked #2 on Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of 2011.”

Turnbull Wine Cellars
Known for 100% Estate grown single-vineyard designate Cabernets, Turnbull Wine Cellars is located in the heart of the famed Napa Valley AVA of Oakville, California. First established by Bay Area architect William Turnbull in 1979, the winery changed hands in 1993. Although ownership changed, the Turnbull family name and crest still appear on every bottle of wine produced. Today, Turnbull Cellars remains a classic example of a small hands-on Napa Valley winery.

Husic Vineyards
On a hillside overlooking the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley, the Husic Family has crafted three unique Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. Moving tons of rock, they sculpted narrow terraces that cling to the mountain’s edge. Here they planted small, extremely steep vineyards that peacefully coexist with the region’s wildlife. These rugged, rocky growing conditions, combined with careful farming methods, have yielded a limited amount of magnificent fruit. Now on their eighth release, Husic Vineyards is offering 2008 Husic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Husic Vineyards Chardonnay and 2008 Palm Terrace Cabernet.

Myriad Cellars & Quivet
Vintner Mike Smith began his winemaking career under the direction of Thomas Brown. For three harvests, Mike “interned,” working free of charge to learn his craft. Following his third harvest he was offered and accepted a full-time assistant’s position. Today, Mike continues to work with Thomas on several labels including: Schrader, Rivers-Marie, Maybach & Tamber Bey. The Myriad wines are custom crushed alongside these wines, showcasing Mike's purist approach to winemaking
Banfi Vintners
Banfi Vintners is the sole U.S. importer of the Mariani family’s internationally renowned wine estates in Italy: Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany, and Vigne Regali Cellars of Strevi, Piedmont. The company also imports the wines of several other Italian producers, along with sherries from Spain, Stone’s Ginger Wine from England, and wines from Chile and Argentina. Banfi Vintners has been ranked as North America’s leading wine importer for more than 30 years.

Northern Trust Bank is the title sponsor of the 2012 Wine & Food Fest. Along with Miromar Lakes Beach Club, Norman Love Confections, Angelina’s Ristorante, and Palm Printing and Strategic Solutions other supporters of the event include News-Press Media Group, Gulfshore Media, and Florida Weekly.

The Wine & Food Fest Grand Tasting and Auction will be held in the Beach Clubhouse at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club and its outdoor waterfront venue. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is a residential waterfront resort community with over 700 acres of contiguous aquamarine freshwater lakes, three miles of private, white sandy beach and “Signature” championship golf. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is located in Miromar Lakes, just north of Naples.

The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is a signature event of the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides funding to local charities serving local children. The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is this year’s beneficiary and secondary beneficiaries are Edison State College’s pediatric nursing program, and Florida Gulf Coast University’s music therapy program.

For more information about Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest: or information on sponsorship or ticket sales, call 239-278-3900.