Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2019 Charleston Wine + Food Festival Culinary Village Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2019 Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2019 Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2019 Graft Wine Bar Charleston Graft Wine Bar Charleston

WHAT IS CHARLESTON WINE + FOOD FESTIVAL?

Before I dive into all things Charleston Wine + Food Festival, I wanted to take a moment and give y’all a little insight into the organization and the purpose behind the annual event. At the core, CHSWFF is about the people. Sharing people’s stories through food, community, diversity and good stewardship. In their own words, “Charleston Wine + Food is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports Charleston and the Lowcountry’s diverse culinary + hospitality community.breakdown of the event.”

Yes, of course it’s a festival surrounded by wine + food, but it really is so much more than that if you take a closer look. The festival brings together so many diverse groups from all across the country to experience community through food + drink. It’s really touching, and all-in-all a crazy good time!

WHO ATTENDS?

Charleston Wine + Food Festival is open to the public! Anyone has access to purchase tickets online once they go on sale every August. I attended this year with my #BloggersDoTravel gals {such a fun girls weekend with Cathy, Jessica + Shelby!}, but it’s also a great activity/trip for couples, a family reunion, a bachelorette, the young and the old. Come one, come all! Haha. Ok, not children of course, but you get my drift.

CULINARY VILLAGE

Eat and drink to your hearts content! I would be a happy woman if we had a Culinary Village type event once a month. This was my second year attending this portion of the festival, and I could tell the CHSWFF put more effort into making it even bigger and better then years prior. Attendees have access to a plethora of thoughtfully crafted culinary nibbles, along with refreshing alcoholic sips to keep you going throughout the day. Marion Square (where Culinary Village is held), is separated into different ‘sections’, if you will, so you’re more easily guided toward beer (in the Bier Garden) wine (in the Rose Garden), liquor, goods and sponsor experiences such as a live band or news stand.
Culinary Village is what most people are referencing when they talk about the festival. It’s typically a 3-day event {Friday, Saturday + Sunday} and opens its’ gates to the largest number of ticket holders. This event also skews a little younger, but still a good mix of ages. Pro tip if you’re local – the ‘locals discount’ ticket is usually given on Sunday, so be sure to take note at checkout!

HANDS-ON CLASS

If you like to nerd out a little about food {where it comes from, how its’ sourced, etc}, this is the way to go. I attended 2 hands-on experiences this year and they were terrific! Definitely the highlight of my experience. You can expect these hands-on classes to be much much smaller {10-20 people} then the rest of the festival experiences.

I attended a cheese course at Goat Sheep Cow {such a special shop, and a local favorite} which was truly the perfect balance of food + drink, along with education + tips. I mean, who doesn’t love cheese?! But it was honestly even more fun learning about the cheeses we were sampling! The owners Patty and Trudi really spoiled us with not only nibbles of some of their favorite delicacies. Along with their vast knowledge behind the craft. Who knew cheese could be so complicated, yet fun! And we most certainly do not leave hungry! Oh my goodness, it was such a fun way to start the afternoon before heading to Culinary Village.

Charleston Wine + Food Festival Culinary Village

BEVERAGE WORKSHOP

If you’ve been to Napa, Sonoma or another wine country tasting – think something similar to that, on perhaps a little smaller scale. Also with more variety as apposed to all the wines originating from one winery. This was not my personal favorite of all the events, as it’s not necessarily something super unique, but totally personal preference! A beverage workshop would be a great way to get the day starts prior to Culinary Village opening. Shall we say…wet your palette before the main course.

Graft Wine Bar Charleston Graft Wine Bar Charleston Graft Wine Bar Charleston

SIGNATURE EVENT

I was given the opportunity to attend several Signature Events this year, all of which are unique. Charleston Wine + Food Festival does an incredible job paying attention to detail and making each of their 130+ events special and individualized. From the Opening Night kick-off, to Winderlust and Smokin’ In The Boys Room, I experienced so many different culinary masters at their craft and enjoy every bit of it. The best way I can describe Signatures Events, is that they’re similar to Culinary Village in terms of set-up, but much small and more specialized. You won’t be waiting in line for a re-fill or bite at these events. You will also be able to more closely interact with each restaurant, chef or brand directly.

Cathy of Poor Little It Girl and I also attended #LunchSquad {the second installment of a similar event}, which was a fun way to actually interact and learn directly from a Chef on-site! You’re assigned a specific Chef station where you essentially make of the dishes being served for lunch that same afternoon. Pretty cool, right?! The team does an amazing job at this event to really make it a true southern hospitality experience. From the matching linens + colorful serving dishes to the friendly servers + bar tenders, it did NOT disappoint.

The Restoration Hotel CharlestonRestoration Hotel Charleston

WHERE TO STAY

While there certainly are a plethora of beautiful hotels and airbnbs around town, these 3 would be my first recommendations based on personal experience and proximity to Marion Square.

The Restoration Hotel | Just about a block off Marion Square sits this modern boutique-style hotel. Complete with single rooms, along with multi ‘resident apartments’ to quite your groups’ needs at any size. Book early on this one since the only is on the smaller side and quite popular! Love that they have a coffee shop right downstairs. Not to mention their complimentary, signature breakfast in a basket is the sweetest touch. The Restoration Hotel also boasts rooftop bar/restaurant The Watch {great for sunset cocktails overlooking the Ravenel Bride} and {quite possibly my favorite} a stunning sitting Library on the main floor that serves daily complimentary wine + cheese for guests.

Hotel Bella Grace | Marriott owned, boutique quality and service. The staff at Hotel Bella Grace is just wonderful, and the location is about a block off Marion Square. The #BloggersDoTravel gals and I stayed there in December and loved it! One thing of interest to note if you’re traveling with a group – the hotel does not have traditional multi-room suites. They can offer a ‘connecting corner’ option where you share a common door that enters two separate rooms.

Hotel Bennett | While I haven’t personally stayed on-site, Hotel Bennett is one of the newest hotels to open on the peninsula, and actually borders Marion Square. It is much larger in size and room count then the previously mentioned accommodations, and boosts multiple on-site dining options. Just something to keep that in mind when it comes to overall feel and on-site amenities.

WHAT TO WEAR

Check out my full What to Wear to Charleston Wine + Food Festival post for the 411 on weather, shoes, etc.

What to Wear to Charleston Wine + Food Festival

photos by Julie Livingston Photography
Love these outfits?
SHOP MY LOOKS
Filed Under
Share Your Thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No connected account.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to connect an account.

Subscribe Today

Add a pop of color to your inbox