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2024 Forks & Corks - Here’s What You Can Expect!

Forks & Corks 2024

First, as you may already know Forks & Corks has moved to January, so let’s just start by saying we should expect cooler weather.  We are excited about the 17th annual Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival!  Whether you want all the details or have never been to a Forks & Corks event and this will be your first time experiencing it, we will share some of what you can expect.  

 

History Of Forks & Corks

The Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival has a rich history beginning in 2008. Conceived by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, a collective of independently owned and operated restaurants, the event was designed as a showcase to celebrate the culinary talents of locally-owned restaurants in the area. 

From its inception, Forks & Corks aimed to unite the vibrant local restaurant scene with an esteemed cast of visiting winery owners and winemakers from around the world. The Festival quickly gained popularity for offering a unique experience, allowing attendees to savor exquisite food pairings and sample wines from the finest vineyards. 

Over the years, Forks & Corks has evolved into one of the Southwest’s premier food and wine festivals, becoming a significant social celebration annually. The Festival has grown to encompass 24 events over five days, welcoming over 4,000 guests to a variety of epicurean events, including wine dinners, retail tastings, master classes led by industry experts, and the Grand Tasting event, where wine lovers and foodies meet in a spectacular outdoor venue. 

Forks & Corks has become a highlight on the Sarasota culinary calendar and serves as the primary annual fundraiser for Sarasota-Manatee Originals. The funds raised play a crucial role in promoting dining at the local, independently-owned restaurants, contributing to the vitality of the Gulf Coast’s culinary scene. With a commitment to always “Eat Like A Local”, Forks & Corks continues to showcase the best of the Gulf Coast area (Anna Maria Island to Venice) food and wine culture, creating memorable experiences for attendees and supporting the local community.

Many people think that Forks & Corks is just The Grand Tasting, but this famous festival is FIVE days of epicurean adventure. So even if you missed out on a coveted Grand Tasting ticket, there are more ways to celebrate fabulous food and wine with us!   

Forks & Corks Event Schedule

MONDAY, JAN 22 - SUNDAY JAN 28

Forks & Corks Online Food and Wine Auction

This year’s virtual auction again promises a high-end collection of lots featuring rare wines, travel, and unique dining experiences, generously donated by friends of Sarasota-Manatee Originals.

On Thursday, January 18, 2024, Sarasota-Manatee Originals will share the link to preview Auction Items. The Auction opens for real-time bidding on Monday, January 22 at 8:00 am and will close on Sunday, January 28 at 3:00 pm.  

THURSDAY, JAN 25 - SATURDAY, JAN 27

Forks & Corks Wine Dinners

Enjoy wine and food pairing dinners presented by our Member Restaurants in collaboration with visiting Winemakers. A series of delectable winemaker dinners will take place at participating Originals restaurants across Sarasota, Manatee, and Venice. While plans are still being finalized, last year’s (17) Forks & Corks Winemaker Dinners featured multi-course dinners with top wineries such as Chateau Lagrange from Bordeaux, France, Iron Horse Vineyards from Sonoma, California, Paul Cluver Wines from Elgin, South Africa, and others. 

Our winemaker dinners present a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with world-renowned winemakers. Guests will be able to rub elbows with wine celebrities and become intimately educated by those most instrumental in making the wine. For reservations, guests will contact participating restaurants directly. Information on the Winemaker Dinners should be release in early January.

 

FRIDAY, JAN 26 & SATURDAY, JAN 27

Forks & Corks Retail Tastings

Sip, shop, and mingle with visiting Winemakers and Winery Principals at some of our favorite local wine stores. We’ll pepper the community with several “pop-up” retail tasting tents hosted by some of the area’s leading local wine merchants. These events range from large gatherings to more intimate get-togethers.  

SATURDAY, JAN 27

10:30 am - 2:30 pm

Forks & Corks University 

Those who “enroll” in Forks & Corks University enjoy tasting and learning about diverse wines in a casual, interactive environment. Led by industry experts, these engaging wine seminars offer an educational experience with guided tastings, providing a rare opportunity to learn from those instrumental in crafting wines. Four themed Master Classes, each led by a panel of winemakers and owners will be offered at $69 each. Sessions take place at Michael’s on East Ballroom, and tickets (on sale now!) are required to attend.  

SUNDAY, JAN 28

VIP - 11:00 am - Sold Out - Waitlist Available

General Admission - 12:00 pm - Waitlist Available

The Grand Tasting

Sip, stroll, taste, repeat at the pinnacle of “Grazing Events.”. Guests at The Grand Tasting enjoy signature specialties from 40+ local restaurants, a collection of 300+ unique wines, live entertainment, photobooths, a beer garden, and a wine shop all offered with the outdoor opulence of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard. New this year is the immersive Global Market, presented by Edible Sarasota magazine which will highlight the cultural diversity of our area's restaurant scene. Available to all Grand Tasting guests, this year’s theme is Fiesta! and our local Mexican and Mexi-Cali restaurants will be spicing up the festival flavor with authentic dishes, drinks, and demos. Viva la vida loca! 

MONDAY, JAN 29

11:00 am - 2:00 pm

The Trade Tasting (Invitation Only)

An exclusive opportunity for professionals from the Hospitality Industry to sample wines from 60+ distinguished visiting wineries.

Overall we expect the 2024 Forks & Corks to be a FUN time for all!  It is an opportunity to connect with others in our community, make new friends, and catch up with some old friends.  When you participate in the Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival, you are contributing essential marketing funds, empowering us to promote local, independently-owned restaurants.  The members of Sarasota-Manatee Originals invite you to Eat Like A Local and thank you for supporting this vibrant culinary community.