First Look: Suncoast Motor Sports “Kickoff” Party for the Grand Tasting Forks & Corks Culinary Extravaganza

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Suncoast Motor Sports “Kickoff” Party for the Grand Tasting Forks & Corks Culinary Extravaganza

By:  Carol Erickson

The purpose of a “kickoff” party is the equivalent of a Grand Opening. It was a way to set the stage for the biggest party of the year… The Grand Tasting Forks & Corks at the Ringling Museum of Art on Sunday, January 31st.  It successfully lays the foundation for information, excitement and enthusiasm.

This is exactly what was accomplished last night at the Suncoast Motor Sports Kickoff Party hosted by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, a nonprofit organization founded in 2003.  This organization with more than 50 locally owned restaurants throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties collaborated to celebrate and promote the creative cuisine of the region.

For those fortunate enough to secure a coveted VIP ticket for the Grand Tasting on Sunday, they were greeted upon arrival with a sampling from visiting winery owners and winemakers at the Suncoast Motor Sports facility. Winemakers from as far away as Italy, South Africa, France and Spain participated and added to the excitement of the evening.  Michael’s on East, a Sarasota favorite, provided some tasty appetizers that complemented and paired well with the vino and tantalized our appetite for the GRAND TASTING.

Tickets for the “Forks and Corks” Grand Tasting on Sunday sold out in a matter of minutes. For so many that missed out there are other parties and dinners that are going on around town.  For more information, please  But for those who will only settle for the Grand Party of the Senses…be sure you have high speed internet connection for next year and keep those tickets in a safe place.  See you next year!



Forks & Corks Kicks Off This Weekend
Winemaker Dinners & Retail Tasting Opportunities
Sarasota, Florida ~ Forks & Corks kicks off this Friday with Winemaker Dinners and Retail Tastings. While the Grand Tasting tickets have long been sold out there are still other options to participate in this weekend’s festival. These include the following:
• Winemaker Events – January 29th & 30th
Various Originals restaurants have partnered with visiting winemakers to make special events that ranges from upscale dinners to casual tastings. Options are available in Bradenton, Sarasota & Venice. Check Forks & Corks website for a complete listing of Winemaker Dinners:
• Retail Tastings – January 29th & 30th
Various retail locations throughout Sarasota will offer tasting opportunities. Locations for these events are being held at The Butcher’s Block, Morton’s Market and Michaels’s Wine Cellar. Contact each location for details.
Visit our website at for more information or follow us on Facebook as we post event information throughout the weekend.
About the Sarasota-Manatee Originals
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals is a group of locally owned restaurants who share a passion for dining excellence and commitment to our community. With more than 50 restaurants the group has become the go-to resource for an “Eat Like a Local” experience. For more information, call 941-365-2800 or visit

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