1,500 tickets for last year's international food and wine festival sold out in three minutes.
A mere three minutes was all it took for all 1,500 tickets to be sold to avid fans. No this wasn't for the hottest new show on Broadway, or a Taylor Swift or One Direction concert. This was the Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival. And tonight starting at 7 p.m. foodies and wine enthusiast have another shot at tickets to the main event: The Grand Tasting.
Entering its ninth year, Forks & Corks combines bottles of wine from the finest vineyards from around the world paired with local delicacies prepared by Sarasota chefs. Running Jan. 29 through Feb. 1, the festival includes winemaker events, classes and seminars. But the heart of the festival is the grand tasting from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 31.
Hosted outside in the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art statue courtyard, over 70 wineries hailing from countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, Italy and France as well as from the wine regions of California and Oregon will be handing out samples of their best and most robust vintages.
"The amount of work and planning going into this one day is crazy," says Kate Atkin, director of Sarasota-Manatee Originals, which organizes the event. "I hear time and time again from participating winemakers that this is the best wine event in Florida. They don't realize we have this jewel of the Ringling Museum as well as all of our delicious locally-owned restaurants."
Atkin advises interested parties to have the web page for ticket sales open just before sales start at 7 p.m. When the virtual box office opens, patrons should refresh their browser and purchase their tickets immediately. Ticket sales are limited to four general admission tickets ($125) per person and VIP tickets ($300) to two per person.
Interested wine and food fans better have fast web fingers because the competition for tickets is stiff. Atkin says that 10,000 people were on the site at the beginning of last year's ticket sales.