Spanish Wine Festival benefits local charities

 

The Grand Tasting at the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival will be Sept. 13 at Treasury on the Plaza. Contributed image

The Grand Tasting at the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival will be Sept. 13 at Treasury on the Plaza. Contributed image

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – The third annual St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival, scheduled for Sept. 9-13, in downtown St. Augustine is more than just a weeklong wine tasting. It’s an event that has long-term benefits by helping fund four St. Johns County charities.

This year’s festival features five events in four days and benefits Fresh Starts in the Culinary Arts, Catholic Charities-St. Augustine Regional Office, THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club of St. Augustine and EPIC Behavioral Healthcare.

“The first year we raised $15,000 for charity,” said Charlie Seraphin, president of the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival Board of Directors. “Last year we raised $50,000. This year’s goal is $100,000.”

Kick-Off Luncheon

This year’s festival begins at noon Sept. 9, 2014, at noon where wine festival goers can see firsthand the positive impact their participation has on the community. During the Kick-Off Luncheon at First Coast Technical College, members of the Fresh Starts in the Culinary Arts program serve a four-course, authentic Spanish lunch to guests.

Fresh Starts in the Culinary Arts is a four-week program that provides transitional homeless residents of St. Francis House with relevant training and certifications that make them immediately employable in the food service industry after completing the program. Since its inception in 2012, the program has graduated 14 students who have transitioned from homelessness to acquiring jobs in the culinary industry. The cost per ticket to attend the Kick-Off Luncheon is $25.

“The Fresh Starts in the Culinary Arts program began as an idea from the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival organizers,” said Sandy Raburn-Fortner, president of First Coast Technical College.

“The idea came from those involved in the planning of the wine festival and grew from that initial idea to include additional funding sources and volunteers. We are grateful to the organizers of the St. Augustine SpanishWine Festival for their continued support of the Fresh Starts program, enabling homeless people in St. Johns County to get a fresh start in life.”

Vino Veritas

On Sept. 11 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Treasury on the Plaza, wine festival goers have the opportunity to learn about Spanish wine pairings and preparation of authentic Spanish cuisine by Spanish winemakers and chefs at Vino Veritas.

The event will feature outstanding whites and reds along with Spanish tapas prepared by top restaurants in St. Augustine, including Raintree, Cap’s on the Water, The Reef Restaurant, Collage, Michael’s Tasting Room, Culinary Outfitters and Gypsy Cab Company.

Vino Veritas benefits THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club of St. Augustine and EPIC Behavioral Healthcare. THE PLAYERS Championship Boys & Girls Club inspires and enables all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

EPIC Behavioral Healthcare assists individuals and families impacted by drugs and alcohol, mental health disorders and related problem behaviors through a comprehensive system of education, prevention, intervention and counseling.

The cost per ticket to attend Vino Veritas is $50 in advance online and $75 at the event.

 Cava Reception & Dinner

The Cava Reception & Dinner at The Treasury on the Plaza will be from 6-10:30 p.m. Sept. 12. The event offers an elegant evening of authentic Spanish food, music, dance and wine. The evening begins with cavas and Spanish-inspired hors d’ oeuvres and transitions into a sit-down dinner where each course is paired with a sensational Spanish wine.

The evening benefits Catholic Charities-St. Augustine Regional Office, which provides services to anyone in need, including homeless prevention, counseling, adoption services, food assistance and community outreach.

The cost to attend the Cava Reception & Dinner is $125 per ticket. Table of 10 sponsorships begin at $1,500.

Grand Tasting 

Sept. 13 is the last day of the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival and includes the Grand Tasting and Batalla de Vino.

The Grand Tasting is held at the Promenade (the area between the parking garage and Visitor Information Center) from 2-5 p.m. The Grand Tasting includes a commemorative-etched glass and provides the opportunity to sample more than 125 different Spanish wines, the largest collection of Spanish wines on display in America.

The cost to attend the Grand Tasting is $35 in advance online or $45 at the event.

Batalla de Vino 

The Batalla de Vino is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Sept. 13 at Francis Field. Batalla de Vino, literally translated as wine battle, is an event where squirting wine on strangers is the name of the game. The event consists of a team competition and an individual battle.

The cost to participate in the team event is $250. The cost to participate in the individual event is $10 online or $20 at the event. Both events benefit Fresh Starts in the Culinary Arts.

“Each event is unique and together represent the best of Spanish culture, wine, food, music, dance and fun,” said Seraphin.

“The best part is the opportunity to benefit four local charities in the St. Augustine community. Having fun and supporting four outstanding local charities translates to St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival.”

For additional information about each event and to register online, go to www.SpanishWineFestival. For more information, call 904.209.4227.

The Batalla (wine fight) will take place Sept. 13 at Francis Field as part of the St. Augustine Wine Festival. This photo shows the Batalla in 2013. Contributed image

The Batalla (wine fight) will take place Sept. 13 at Francis Field as part of the St. Augustine Wine Festival. This photo shows the Batalla in 2013. Contributed image

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