St. Augustine is celebrating its rich Spanish heritage with the 2nd Annual St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival.
From the days of discovery, Spanish wine has been an integral part of life in St. Augustine. The festival will feature culinary experts and wine specialists from every region of Spain during a week-long series of Spanish wine-related events.
It starts at noon on Oct. 21 with a four-course Spanish luncheon at First Coast Technical College. The program trains the homeless in culinary skills and helps them transition back into society. Three of the program’s six graduates have found employment in the food preparation industry, and the other three are continuing their education in the culinary certification program at FCTC.
At 5 p.m. on Oct. 22, experience the first ever “Blessing and Batalla de Vinos” in America. This ancient Spanish tradition was neglected in the new world – until now. After a ceremonial “Blessing of the Wines” in the West Courtyard of the Cathedral Basilica, participants dressed in white will proceed from the church to the St. Augustine Municipal Marina Green. Armed with wine bota bags, squirt guns and assorted weapons of decoration, they’ll commence the “Batalla de Vinos” (Battle of Wines).
Spectators can watch from a safe, stain-free distance as the batalla rages. There’s a donation asked of participants, but no charge to watch.
Oct. 23-24, four of St. Augustine’s finest restaurants will present Spanish wines, paired with Spanish tapas. Each event is limited to the first 50 patrons. Professional Spanish wine experts will share their experiences.
Friday’s Cava Reception and Tour of Spanish dining at the River House will begin with cool, crisp Cavas and first-class Spanish cuisine. From mountains of fresh fish and oysters on ice, to paellas, and succulent carved meats, each plate and pairing is designed to bring out the best characteristics of both food and wine.
On Oct. 26, the Festival transforms St. Augustine’s Historic Visitor Information Center into a big bodega featuring more than 100 kinds of Spanish wine and etched commemorative wine glasses. There will be Spanish cheeses and tapas, and experts to answer questions.
Reservation and ticket info: www.spanishwinefestival.com.