Review of 9th Annual Forks & Corks Grand Tasting of 2016, presented by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals

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By Carol Erickson

Sunday, January 31, 2016

“Taste Your Way Around the World”

It took a matter of only 2 minutes to sell out the Forks and Corks Grand Tasting Party… the biggest culinary event of the year in Sarasota.

Those of us fortunate enough to secure a ticket were in for a treat as this was a tasting affair like no other.  It was about atmosphere & entertainment.  It was about delicious food with perfectly paired fine wines. It was about walking through the sea of sights, sounds and aromas that transport you to another place far away.

This four-hour extravaganza was perfectly executed starting with the stunning backdrop of the Ringling Museum Courtyard with its breathtaking architecture, tropical grounds and stunning views of the Sarasota Bay.

Upon entering the courtyard, we were each given a keepsake wine glass and a map which allowed us to tool around the grounds with ease and start our culinary journey. Over 50 locally owned restaurants and 80 international wineries from around the globe were there to satisfy even the most discriminating connoisseur.  Sixteen beverage professionals tasted and judged over 350 wines in order to select the winning wines for our tasting pleasure.

As a first-time observer, I cannot think of one thing to say to improve my experience.  I just hope that I will be one of those fortunate ones to secure my spot for next year.  Mark your calendars now!  I hear tickets go on sale on November 7th.. You don’t want to miss this one as your palate will thank you.

For more information, visit




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



[Per website]

The Grand Tasting is the ultimate destination for the foodie and wine or beer lover! Enjoy fabulous food from over 50 of the area’s top restaurants, taste wine from over 80 international wineries and enjoy exciting micro-brews and craft beers. The backdrop for this spectacle is the stunning courtyard of the world-renowned John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Last year, the Ringling Museum’s iconic statue of David gazed upon the crowd as they enjoyed perfect weather and a variety of sweet and savory fare. Originals restaurateurs and chefs outdid themselves with fabulous dishes to guests’ delights!

The acclaimed vintages of over 70 wineries from around the world were poured, with winemakers from California, Oregon, Italy, South Africa, France, Spain, New Zealand, South America and many other locales chatting with guests and enjoying the excitement of the afternoon.

The Grand Tasting of 2016 promises to be even more tantalizing with new Originals member restaurants serving their specialties alongside well-known local favorites. We will feature our popular silent auction with special wines donated by our participating wineries. A popular feature again this year, guests will have the opportunity to purchase your favorite wines from the afternoon of sampling.  Our convenient retail tent will allow guests the chance to purchase and take home the wines they loved that day. Many of the unique wines available to taste at the Grand Tasting are not readily available for purchase locally, so we always suggest that people buy that day.

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