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The 6th Annual Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival

January 25-28, 2013. Tickets go on sale November 12, 2012. Presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, this four-day culinary celebration brings together celebrated regional chefs, world-renowned vintners and industry insiders Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, a four-day culinary festival presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO), unites food, wine and beer enthusiasts with preeminent regional chefs and celebrated vintners from around the world. The festival, January 25-28, 2013, features various winemaker events at area restaurants and shops (January 25, 26); interactive food and wine and seminars (January 26); The Grand Tasting in The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard (January 27); and a trade event for area restaurants, retailers and hoteliers (January 28). New this year, each participating winery will submit vintages of their choice to be judged by a panel of wine experts. Winning wines will be awarded gold, silver or bronze in a number of categories. Event-goers will have an opportunity to purchases all of the wines—including the award-winning ones—at The Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting, which features signature dishes from the area’s top chefs, along with a vast array of wines and beers presented by guest vintners and breweries, is Sunday, January 27, noon to 4 p.m., at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “We expect to have more than 60 renowned wineries and winemakers from around the world represented at the event,” says Kate Atkin, executive director of SMO, adding that guests will be able to purchase favorite wines after sampling them at the event. Tickets include free admission to the museum’s art galleries on the day of the event. Tickets, which can only be purchased online at, go on sale November 12, 2012. Ticket prices will be announced in the fall of 2012.This year’s Grand Tasting will again feature a silent auction of fine wines to benefit the American Red Cross. “Raising money for the American Red Cross is a vital element of this event,” says Atkin. “We’ve raised more than $130,000 in the past four years for our charitable partners and hope to continue to raise much needed money for the worthy organizations." Michael Klauber, SMO president and chair of the event, says that a main objective of Forks & Corks is to reinforce the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination. “The restaurant industry is a vital part of our community’s economic landscape and character,” he says. “In addition to our pristine beaches, wonderful climate and rich cultural amenities, The Sarasota-Manatee Originals' 53 independently owned restaurants are a major part of how we promote our region to the world." Klauber adds that The Grand Tasting is also an important way for Originals restaurants to connect with new patrons and remind previous guests of the unique specialties at local eateries. “Participating restaurants almost always report increased revenues immediately following the event,” says Klauber. “The Grand Tasting is an invaluable tool to introduce menus and services to hundreds of people who may never have stepped through their doors.” 
 

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