Florida Wine and Balloon Fest

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Florida Wine and Balloon Fest

Event Details

Date: April 4 - 7, 2013

Time: See website for details

Place: Premier Sports Campus, Lakewood Ranch

Price: $10 General Admission


“The Florida Winefest & Auction is America’s Friendliest Winefest and a wonderful food and wine charity experience unparalleled in the United States.”

Winemakers from around the world gather with gourmet chefs and hot air balloonists in breathtaking venues from the Sarasota bayfront to Lakewood Ranch April 4-7, 2013. Buy your tickets now for “America’s friendliest Winefest” as we celebrate 23 years of benefiting children in need in our community at Florida’s favorite parties with a purpose.

We are back on the Sarasota waterfront under an elegant tent with blowing Florida breezes for the trade tasting and consumer tasting events as well as the elegant Grand Brunch and Charity Auction. Many new features have been added to the Florida Winefest & Auction line-up. It’s bigger and bolder with more wineries, more restaurants, new venues for winemaker dinners, a Kid Zone activity area, gourmet food trucks, live music, and more than twenty hot air BALLOONS! There will be wines for sale at most venues this year and the Grand Brunch and Auction lots are a collectors dream. Wine collectors with all the time and money in the world would still not be able to find some of the rare items in the auction this year. Tickets range from $10-$1,000 at this fabulous festival with something for everyone!


Winemaker dinners will be hosted April 4 at Bay Preserve at Osprey, Sarasota Yacht Club, The Founders Club, Ophelia’s on Siesta Key, The Resort at Longboat Key Club, a private residence in Manatee County, Laurel Oak Country Club, and Suncoast Porsche. New to Winefest – and a first for downtown Sarasota – “The Banquet on the Block” will feature 8 restaurant chefs pairing with 8 wineries serving up eclectic menus perfectly paired with fabulous wine. You are invited to meet and greet vintners and winery representatives as they share the inside stories of their selections, while local chefs feature the freshest locally harvested bounty from the land, sea and air. More than sixty wineries and “spirit-makers” are participating in the festival this year but seating at the winemaker dinners is limited so Buy Your Tickets Now.


Meet Balloonmeister Bill Whidden

Bill began ballooning in the early 80’s and has turned what started as a family sport and recreational activity into his profession. Involved in all phases of Ballooning, Bill and his wife Trish, annually attend 20-30 events across the U.S.A., Canada and Europe and other foreign countries .

Bill has served as a “consultant” and “organizer” for many organizations as well as serving as “Balloonmeister” for over 100 events. He and Trish also have overseen the ride operations for many major balloon events. Bill is active in flight instruction, a frequent guest speaker at safety seminars and sells balloons for a major dealer in the USA. Having logged over 2600 hours of flight time and “tether time”, Bill and Trish have flown in most all of the contiguous 48 states as well as the  Countries of Austria, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Ireland, and  New Zealand.


Meet David Elswood of Christie’s Wine Auctions

David Elswood, Guest Auctioneer/Christie’s International Head of Wine Sales/ Christie’s London.

Since 2003 he has held the position of International Head of Wine Sales and Principal Auctioneer, presiding over Christie’s wine sales in Europe and the United States. Mr Elswood’s stated main aims are to ensure that Christie’s continue to dominate the world of wine auctions and to maintain their global position as the number one house for fine and rare wines.

Please visit our Events page for event details, a listing of WineriesCulinary trails and Entertainment.



Over the last 22 years, each of these charitable children’s programs have directly benefited from the funds raised through Florida Winefest & Auction. Each year we accept new applications for grants. Each application is reviewed by the Grants Committee and the money allocated is distributed three weeks after the last Winefest event closes. Programs are monitored throughout the year by our dedicated volunteers. See List of Charities.


Stay Over In Comfort

Plan your festication in advance and stay at any of Sarasota, Florida upscale and comfortable accommodations such as Longboat Key Club and Resort, located just minutes away from the Florida Wine & Balloon Festival.  Book Your Stay Now!



8134 Lakewood Main St, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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