Wine Tasting with a Sense of Humor

By: Jodi Mailander Farrell


Tampa’s big annual wine tasting festival takes on a Monty Python theme this year, with participants urged to dress as their favorite character or come in a Monty Python-inspired costume.

Now in its 13th year, the annual WineFest is Tampa Theatre’s biggest fundraising event of the year, benefitting the historic movie palace’s artistic and educational programs as well as its ongoing preservation and restoration.

The event kicks off Sept. 12 with a two-tiered Wine Tasting featuring many of Tampa’s most famous and flavorsome independent restaurants. Guests will have the opportunity to sample dozens of boutique wines and bid on premium silent auction items, while local eateries like Bern’s Steak House, Catrinas Cocina Y Galeria, and Anise Global Gastrobar serve up their favorite fare – all with John Cleese and Terry Gilliam’s classic 1975 farce providing the perfect backdrop on the big screen.

The Premium Tasting is 7-8 p.m. and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. Tickets are $85 in advance and include admission to the Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting is from 8-10 p.m., and tickets are $50 in advance.

On Sept. 13, the Theatre’s historic stage will be expanded to seat 200 for the exclusive Wine Pairing at 6:30 p.m., sponsored by Bank of America. The five-course menu, created and catered by Mise En Place chef Marty Blitz, will feature small plates paired with wines specific to each dish. Seating is limited, and tickets are $250 per person.

WineFest tops off the weekend with a Wine Brunch at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 14. Food stations catered by local independent restaurants will pair breakfast offerings with mimosas, bellinis and a selection of light wines. Tickets are $40 per person.

Tickets will be available starting June 2 at the Tampa Theatre box office, 711 N. Franklin St., or at

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