About

EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. at #SOBEWFF

More than 65,000 passionate fans and hospitality industry leaders descended upon South Florida in February for the 16th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®), raising more than $2 million for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).  Attendees enjoyed more than 90 events taking place throughout two counties with the continued growth of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series, featuring more than 400 chefs, winemakers, spirits producers, and culinary personalities who joined them to EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. during the five-day Festival.  Hosted by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the Festival has raised more than $26 million to date for the School.

Having just celebrated its 16th year, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. For five years, from 1997-2001, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, then director of special events & media relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reins of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the Festival to life by relocating it to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival® was held March 15 – 17, 2002 and attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars, a Grand Tasting Village and live Auction in its first year.

In 2006, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival® celebrated its fifth anniversary and became one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country. During the planning of the 2007 Festival Food Network entered into a partnership to become its title sponsor. The resulting Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE combined the international appeal of top-quality libations from around the world, the national appeal of Food Network and its celebrity chefs and hosts, and the appeal of Latin and Caribbean-inspired regional cuisine.

In 2011, the Festival celebrated 10 years and released the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America’s Hottest Chefs (Clarkson Potter), written by Lee Brian Schrager with Julie Mautner, featuring a foreword by Anthony Bourdain.

The Festival and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits celebrated the opening of the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and Mel Dick Wine Tower at FIU, the state-of-the-art educational facility built as a result of the funds raised from the Festival over the years, during the 2014 Festival.

SAVE THE DATE: The 17th annual Festival will take place February 21-25, 2018 and will once again feature internationally-renowned talent and leaders of the hospitality industry at uniquely crafted events showcasing world-class wine, spirits, food, and fun.