February 28 - March 4, 2018

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Continuing Education

Charleston Wine + Food strives to bring people together each year through storytelling and food. Continuing Education is a project that does just that. What started with a native strain of watermelon, The Bradford Watermelon, quickly created the opportunity for local chefs to meet local farmers. It is a project that allows those who attend to better understand where their produce is coming from while learning about produce native to South Carolina.   The first event took place on The Bradford family farm, where chefs and guests were taken through the fields to learn more about the Bradford Watermelon. After a quick demonstration they got to taste the produce and take home some of the sweet molasses made from the rhine of the watermelon. The second event of the project brought on a new group of chefs along with returners to go back to the Bradford family farm to learn more about the Carolina African Runner Peanut. This peanut was first used in soup by Africans in North America. This is the first year that this strand of peanut has been available to the public since the late 1920’s or early 1930’s.   This event allowed those who attended to see the smaller details, to better understand the time and effort it takes to revitalize a crop. Continuing Education gives local chefs and farmers a chance to meet, share stories and be creative.    SaveSave
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Food Rescue

Every year, Charleston Wine + Food strives to be better than we were before. Working with One80 Place has helped CHSWFF improve our impact on our community and our environment.   On average, One80 Place serves 175,000 meals from its community kitchen to shelter guests and local community members with a budget of $0. To make this happen, food is collected from local food drives and their food rescue truck that collects $330,000 worth of food from local grocery stores, restaurants, businesses, individuals.Last year, the food rescue truck was able to collect 3,128 lbs of food from the CHSWFF Culinary Village.   If you’re interested in donating food or would like to find more ways to help head over to One80 Place’s website!
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For She's a Jolly Good Fellow

The partnership between Charleston Wine + Food and College of Charleston is designed to give the student fellows a hands-on experience as an “agency of record” before beginning their careers as communication professionals. Since the class is split up into four cohorts, public relations, media relations, social media + creative, we are able to see firsthand how those teams work in tandem to achieve a cohesive campaign not unlike a real agency. As a member of the public relations team who had little PR experience before beginning this class, I now feel more comfortable in that sphere + more ready to dive into that world when I graduate. I’ve developed a great relationship with my team + the other cohorts and I feel that we’ve all worked very hard to turn out some meaningful + engaging products for the festival. From a personal standpoint, this fellowship has been one of the most beneficial opportunities of my college career. Food has been my passion ever since I was little; I voraciously consumed Food Network after school, and as I got older, I began to find recipes, bake for my family, and read pieces by food writers. Once I got to college, I began a student food publication on campus + began attending as many food events as I could, with one of them being Charleston Wine + Food. It was CHSWFF that made me really fall in love with food events, programming, and PR, so when the opportunity to be a student fellow came up, I jumped at it. It has truly been a delicious experience so far + I look forward to this next semester with the festival building meaningful programming and recounting the stories of our Lowcountry food systems for all to hear.
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CHSWFF Going Green

In the past decade, we’ve witnessed a stunning transition as corporate social responsibility evolved from a nice-to-have silo to a fundamental strategic priority for businesses large and small. “ - Forbes, 2017. At Charleston Wine + Food (CHSWFF), we believe that this trend stemmed from good people hoping to leave a positive, lasting impact on future generations. Some companies use their influence to support specific foundations, or advocate volunteer time to help those in need. Others enable positive change through food, combating poverty on a local/regional level. For other groups, climate change and sustainability have become an increasingly important initiative.   Companies and people alike are taking steps to reduce the amount of waste they produce and change the impact they have on the planet. In an attempt to join the global movement of going green, CHSWFF is taking a step back and looking at how we can provide a more eco friendly experience.   Event Director, Ali Bechtel, recently took time to talk to me about how CHSWFF is working to be more eco friendly during the  2018 festival, and it seems like we have found several ways to make our festival more environmentally friendly. We’ve developed a great relationship with VerTerra, a company that specializes in sustainable dinnerware, to supply compostable serving dishes and utensils. In the Culinary Village we also have “weigh stations,” or strategically positioned areas for all guests to throw out trash, recycling and compost in separate bins. Throughout the festival local, regional, national and international chefs are encouraged to use reusable or compostable materials and have compost bins at their workstations as well.   “Ultimately, CHSWFF hopes to inspire those at the festival and other festivals to have a great time, enjoying fantastic drinks, phenomenal food and all the while, become more eco friendly,” says Bechtel. “We’ve been inspired by progressive and sustainably-minded cities like Vancouver and Denver, and plan to work with the city + county of Charleston to create a sustainable festival guide for similar events of our scope to plan responsibly. This guide will likely include a list of local resources, insight into intuitive directional signage and how to communicate your efforts at scale.   For those who have tickets to our Culinary Village, this year we ask that while you enjoy all that the Village has to offer, and look out for our stations and the signs so you can toss your waste appropriately. If you have any questions our team members at the Village are more than willing to help!   Through working with the city, county and all those who make our festival possible (chefs, staff, attendees, etc), CHSWFF is looking to pave a more sustainable path for future festivals and leave our mark by not only connecting others, and sharing stories between sips of wine and bites of heart-filled cuisine, but through inspiring those around us to continue making a difference whenever we can.  
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Making an Impact

Charleston Wine + Food began with a mission in mind: give back to the Charleston area by shining a spotlight on the city’s culinary + hospitality community.   Thirteen years later, the Charleston Wine + Food festival continues to be a driver of success for the Holy City’s world-renowned food industry.   However, the buck doesn’t stop there.   The 2017 Charleston Wine + Food festival made quite an impression, pumping $9.6 million into Charleston’s local economy over five days.   Guests from around the world pour into the Lowcountry to take part in the festival, but the impact reaches outside of the tent walls of Marion Square’s Culinary Village.   Local hotels, restaurants and more open their doors to festival attendees, offering a unique experience for guests that brings them back year after year. Each hotel stay and dinner reservation contributes to the economic impact felt in the Charleston area.   Leon’s Oyster Shop and Little Jack’s Tavern owner Brooks Reitz echoed the importance of the festival to local restaurants when chatting about his latest venture, Melfi’s.   The restaurateur joked, “We have to have this restaurant opened by February! The festival has given a lot of support to what we’re trying to do here in Charleston. The work you guys do plays a role in the success of our restaurants.”   For Charleston area restaurants, the festival brings in an army of national media outlets who are critical to their success. Many owners rely on positive reviews and news stories to bring customers through their doors.   “It’s no coincidence we’ve planned our restaurant openings around festival time,” Reitz said. “The festival gets people excited about going to restaurants. They’re excited to try good food and check out what Charleston has to offer.”   As the 2018 Charleston Wine + Food festival begins to take shape, our biggest hope is to see the economic impact continue to grow.   With each year bringing new and exciting events to the festival’s lineup, more and more guests come to Charleston to experience our city’s vibrant culinary scene.   The festival kicks off springtime in the Lowcountry as people come out of their winter hibernation, ready to get out and explore new restaurants and old favorites.   The resulting impact extends outside of the five days of the festival, with Charleston Wine + Food leaving its mark 365 days a year.
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Lunch is Served

This year Charleston Wine + Food is starting the holiday season off with a 12 Days of Giving blog series highlighting our ties in the local community. To start off this series we first would like to highlight a recent team outing to One80 Place.   A few weeks ago six members of the Charleston Wine + Food team spent an afternoon with our friends at One80 Place to serve lunch to the guests of the shelter.   The One80 Place kitchen serves three meals a day totally approximately 170,000 meals to its clients and anyone who is hungry.   That day in the kitchen our team helped to serve 120 meals thanks to pizza donated from Whole Foods, along with fresh salad, warm bread + more. It was a truly enjoyable experience for the team to engage with the One80 Place staff and a great way to give back to our community and support the mission of One80 Place.   Interested in learning more about volunteering at One80 Place? Learn more here.
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From Playwright to Dinner Plates

Owning some of Charleston’s most popular restaurants wasn’t always in the game plan for restaurateur Brooks Reitz. Growing up, Reitz wanted to be a playwright. However, after having lunch with a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright he realized the stage wasn’t where he wanted to call home for the rest of his life.Reitz went back to the drawing board to figure out his next steps.   The Kentucky native had always had a passion for food and decided to move to Louisville to work in a new hotel opening in Kentucky’s largest city.There, Reitz worked his way up the ladder, eventually landing the role of general manager in the hotel’s restaurant. “Here I was at 23, running a restaurant,” Reitz said. “I had no idea what I was doing.”   Fast forward 6-8 years and Reitz is now one of the most recognizable names in the Charleston’s culinary scene.   Reitz has since grown his business into a small empire with a trio of restaurants- Leon’s Oyster Shop, Little Jack’s Tavern and Melfi’s (opening just in time for the 2018 Charleston Wine + Food festival)- delivering delicious menus that keep customers coming back time-and-time again.   Despite his success in the restaurant business, Reitz’s background in writing continues to play an integral role in the creation of his restaurants.   The design of Reitz’s restaurants are just as important as the food being served, with the restaurateur paying close attention to details in order to create a eating space that tells a story.   Take for example Little Jack’s Tavern: a casual chophouse on Upper King Street serving up steaks, salads and sandwiches.   “To create the concept for Little Jack’s, we came up with the story of a boxer called Jack,” Reitz recalled. “After leaving the boxing world, because he was so small for that arena, he moved to Charleston where he opened up a little, tin-roofed bar. That bar then eventually became a restaurant that was passed down through generations in Jack's family. We imagined what the restaurant might look like today after being passed through many hands, and that is what we executed in the design of Little Jack's.   The story of Little Jack runs through the restaurant’s decor with boxing memorabilia dotting the walls, creating a fun and laid back atmosphere that diners can enjoy while delving into one of Little Jack’s famous cheeseburgers.   The care Reitz puts into crafting each of his restaurants is a reflection of the dedication the restaurateur has towards his businesses and his customers. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to be the best restaurant,” Reitz said. “I just want to be people’s favorite restaurant.”   As we sit down to a plate of Leon’s chargrilled oysters paired with the restaurant’s Siam salad, we think he might just be onto something.
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Find the Truck

Limehouse Produce, a proud annual supporter of Charleston Wine + Food, has wrapped a delivery truck again with a special festival design to celebrate and promote the 2017 festival. The wrapped truck features images from Charleston Wine + Food's 2017 ad campaign. This year's truck showcases a female eating a watermelon sourced by Limehouse Produce, and can be seen driving around town making deliveries. Steps to get involved are: 1.    People that “Find the Truck” can snap a photograph 2.    Post the photo to Facebook and tag: Limehouse Produce and Charleston Wine + Food 3.    OR tag on Instagram: @limehouselocal and @chswineandfood 4.    Include the hashtag #CHSWFFLimehouseTruck One lucky person who submits an image will be selected randomly to win four tickets to Sinister Siesta presented by The National Pork Board on Sunday, March 5 located at The Royal American. The deadline to submit photos is Monday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. for consideration. Anyone can submit photos and there is also no limit to the amount that one posts to the sites. Limehouse Produce does ask that all photos are done parked and not while driving a vehicle.
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The Culinary Village: What To Expect

The Culinary Village is the epicenter of Charleston Wine + Food.  Three days of nonstop cooking demonstrations, tastings, special guests, and local artists are sure to be among the highlights of your culinary experience. Here you’ll make those festival memories you won’t soon forget.   All-day access to the Village is available with just one ticket, and if you’re from Charleston, you can purchase a ticket to Sunday’s village for just $75!  Talk about local love. Returning favorites are sure to please: the Artisan Market, Rosé Garden + Grilling presented by Chateau d'Esclans, Biergarten presented by Bay Street Biergarten, and The Hub are all the buzz for festival veterans.   But wait, there’s more! Be sure to check out what’s BRAND NEW in the Culinary Village this year: Top Chef Quickfire Challenge:  Top Chef fans will be treated to the ultimate performance and epic chef throwdown on Friday at 1pm!  With Bravo Top Chef’s own Gail Simmons moderating the Quick Fire Challenge, you’ll want to grab a seat in the front row. The Corkyard: Our new all wine, all the time, Corkyard will be open for those vino devotees eager to taste creations by over 20 wineries from around the world. Wine not spend all day here?  You’ll be able to chat with fellow wine lovers and drink your way to red, white, and rosé heaven.  Oh! And don't forget to check out the Wine Retail Shop presented by Bottles to take home some of your new favorites along with wine-o accessories for sommeliers + newbies alike! Snack Shacks: Four new spots for a tasty twist on some of our Lowcountry favorites.  “Duck, Duck Goose” will feature exclusively duck and foie gras dishes. “Grit Happens” will highlight our beloved Southern chefs firing up what they know best.  Strictly sliders are on the menu at “Nice Buns”, and lastly “Beer-Battered + Fried” will appear in the Biergarten for everyone’s inner greasy glutton. The interactive environment between chef and attendee make for an intimate Village experience. Teepee Talks: Heritage Radio Network’s new, expanded Teepee Talks are returning for an extra large second helping in the Village this year.  We’ve added a second teepee for more chatter and even more fun that everyone can take part in. Grab a drink, put on your conversation cap, and join the party! Can’t wait til March? Salivate on this for now: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_OwSc8cNE0[/embed]  
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Festival 101

As we get closer to the festival (40 days to be exact!), there are a few things you should keep in mind as you begin thinking about your Lowcountry travel plans. Here are a few things any festival-goer needs to know: Grab your tickets...Your tickets to the festival are easily printable, but can also be accessed on your mobile phone!  Use the latter method for a paperless, guilt-free, and organized event experience - because we know you’ll be having too much fun to worry about anything else. Navigate safely...Whether you’re a visiting attendee or a lucky local, remember that parking can often be tricky downtown.  Take advantage of our partner Über and their fantastic app, they'll be your designated driver.  Our city isn’t too big to navigate if you plan on driving on your own or even if you’re strictly walking, just remember to keep a map of the city on hand in case you get lost! Dress in layers...Charleston’s bipolar weather time and time again proves to be just as unpredictable as it is beautiful.  Whipping wind or intense rays can ruin your day if you’re not prepared, so plan on packing an umbrella, your sunnies, and a cute hat just in case.  If you’re attending an excursion or an event outside for several hours you might also want to include a travel-size sunscreen to protect your skin.  All events are held rain or shine. Necessary gadgets...A few fun items can and will make all the difference for your festival experience.  Check out these wine wipes to get rid of any messy stains and keep you smiling bright; they’re perfect for wine lovers everywhere.  To ensure you can snap photos all day without running out of battery, pick up a phone case that protects and charges your cell at the same time!  Last but not least, comfortable footwear is an essential for those long Charleston days and even more exciting nights, so keep your precious toes in mind! Ask us...Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  The CHSWFF staff and our volunteers will be around the Culinary Village and at select events in order to ensure you have an incredible weekend!  Don’t know where to meet up before your excursion?  Have a ticketing question?  Just wanna chat about an upcoming event? We’re here to help! You can always call (843) 727-9998 or email ticketing@cwf.obviouslee.com for all inquiries! Pace yourself...Attending too many events in one day can be exhausting for jetsetters and chillaxers alike.  We want you to enjoy the festival in all its glory - so sure, have that fifth glass of wine (or 6th, 7th...we won’t judge), just make sure to schedule some R&R in that busy agenda of yours! We truly hope you enjoy every moment of your festival experience in the best city in the world, and don’t forget to stop and look around once in a while.  You won’t wanna miss this.
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We totally get it. The 2018 festival has a lot going on. Let us guide you through the ticketing process, answer any questions, and help point you in the right direction.

Here's how to reach us:

843 727 9998
info@charlestonwineandfood.com
635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403

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