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Ranch Rotary to pour eighth annual wine fest

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 4, 2009
  • East County
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch will serve up bottles of fun at its Annual Suncoast Food & Wine Festival this weekend.

The festival will be from 1-4 p.m., Nov. 7, at the Sarasota Polo Club, 8201 Polo Club Lane, Lakewood Ranch. Tickets cost $60 and include entrance to the festival, live music by The Venturas and Jennifer Leigh and her New Digs, a signature wine glass, access to tastings for more than 300 international and national wines and the finest foods and desserts from some of the area’s top dining spots.

This year, Gulf Coast Eagle Distributing also will be offering samples of Belgian beers such as Stella, Artois and Leffe.

“It adds another dimension to the festival,” festival publicity chair Laurie Hagberg said. “Not everyone is a wine drinker.”

Wine and food samplings will be spread throughout three tents, and more than 30 local restaurants, including Michael’s On East, the Broken Egg, MacAllisters and Tommy Bahamas, will be offering samples of their best cuisine.

“It’s almost like a tapas party,” Hagberg said. “(All the restaurants) are going to feature something special from their restaurant that they are known for, including desserts.”

Attendees also will have a chance to sit in on cooking demonstrations by some of the area’s top chefs, as well has have a chance to purchase commemorative T-shirts and posters and the wines they are sampling. A silent auction will offer items such as trips, golf outings, special packages and more. Bidders must be present to win.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to purchase early Christmas gifts, and it’s tax deductible at the same time,” Hagberg said of the auction.

A door prize drawing for a wine refrigerator will be held at 3:45 p.m., Hagberg said.

All proceeds from the event will benefit various charities. Last year’s event netted about $90,000, which was dispersed to 17 organizations, including Manatee Glens and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, through a grant process, Hagberg said.

“This year, we hope to top that,” she said. “The more we make, the more we can give. All the net proceeds go to charity. In this economic climate, it’s more important than it’s ever been that the festival is as successful as possible.”

The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch has raised more than $600,000 to date for charity through this signature fundraising event.

Visit the festival’s Web site,, to order tickets or obtain a list of local businesses where they can be purchased.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Annual Suncoast Food & Wine Fest
WHEN: 1-4 p.m., Nov. 7
WHERE: Sarasota Polo Club, 8201 Polo Club Lane, Lakewood Ranch
TICKETS: $60 per person
HOST: The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch


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