The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented by Capital One is back for its 22nd installment on Thursday, February 23, lasting until Sunday, February 26.
The four-day festival has become a key event in the culinary world in South Florida and beyond over the past two decades, and over the past two decades, the festival has raised millions for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University and gives its students real-life culinary and event experience throughout the weekend.
Here’s everything you need to know about what to bring, what to wear, and all the events available for every appetite and budget.
Events span more than three counties, from as far south as Kendall all the way up to Hallandale Beach. But staying true to its name, many big events still happen in South Beach and its general vicinity.
While being on time is something most people have never heard of in South Florida, note that the events begin and end precisely when they say they will. If an event is over at 10 p.m., don't think that at 10:01 p.m., you’ll be able to grab that one last drink. Speaking of drinks, taking them out the door after an event is severely frowned upon and could even get someone in trouble.
Getting There, the Elements, and What to Bring
First and foremost, just like last year, everyone attending the festival must complete the SymCheck app before arriving, attesting that they’ve either had a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours or are fully vaccinated. You’ll be asked to show a SymCheck QR Code at each event. If you’re going to events on multiple days, be aware that the code is valid for only 24 hours and will need to be redone each day.
Ladies, do everyone a favor and leave the high heels at home for any event on the beach. (Most marquee events are held there.) Inevitably, your shoes will be ruined because you'll spend the whole night sinking into the sand — not a good look. Sandals are your best option.
With temperatures expected to be in the mid-to upper-80s for most of the week, dress accordingly because it can get hot inside those tents. And don’t forget: The events are rain or shine. In other words, no event will be canceled due to weather, and no refunds will be given.
Now, this is important: Do not leave home without an ID to show you are of age because someone will ask you for it at some point. And don’t forget to bring your ticket! No ticket, no entry. Period. And finally — and maybe most important — bring a stockpile of wet wipes and antacids to the festival because you will eat a lot. Thank us later.
And since there will be copious amounts of booze at just every event, your best bet is to either find a designated driver or use a rideshare app like Lyft, Uber, or Alto. Available parking at events is limited at best.
Grand Tasting Village 101
This is the event that started it all. The two-day, wine-filled Grand Tasting Village runs Saturday, February 25, and Sunday, February 26. Each day it features dozens of restaurants handing out food while various wine and spirits suppliers pour unlimited samplings. If that isn’t enough to make someone’s head spin, there are also a variety of culinary demos featuring everyone from Michael Symon to Ming Tsai, along with plenty of interactive activities and book signings. Crowds will be smaller than in previous years, but you still might encounter some lines. But don’t worry, they move quickly, and there will be enough food and drink.
For those attending the Sunday Grand Tasting, it’ll be closing out with The David Grutman Experience with DJ Khaled and Cedric Gervais. Led by nightlife and hospitality David Grutman, it will turn the courtyard into a mini music festival with special performances by DJ Khaled and Cedric Gervias.
The festival adds some new blood into the rotation each year. Those looking to shop and dine should snag seats at the Bal Harbour Shops ACCESS: Fashion Show & Luncheon hosted by Geoffrey and Margaret Zakarian, while a piece of Nashville’s “hot chicken” empire will make its way to Miami with a Lunch hosted by Hattie B’s taking place at SGWS Wynwood. Close out the weekend at the North Beach Bandshell with the Drag Brunch hosted by David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris featuring Miami’s very own Athena Dion and the queens from the R House Wynwood’s weekend drag brunches. Following the brunch, is the Tea Dance and Drag Show hosted by Kalen Allen with a special performance by Thelma Houston, the Grammy-winning Motown legend who’s slated to perform a set of chart-topping hits alongside the one and only Symone, season 13 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Each evening showcases at least one large-scale tasting event. Kicking off the weekend on Thursday, February 23 is Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Emeril Lagasse, with a special performance by Midland featuring some of the best burger joints in the country. Friday, February 24, will be the night the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri, will host the sold-out Coke Zero Sugar presents Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives LIVE highlighting more than 25 restaurants featured on the show. Tacos & Tequila presented by Tequila Cazadores hosted by Danny Trejo will celebrate various iterations of Mexico’s most popular dish on Saturday, February 25, while closing out the event is the Bacardi Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern on Sunday, February 26.