Paul Legan
Paul Legan

Charleston Wine + Food 2023 Back to Journal →

Friday, March 10, 2023

Last weekend Kileen and I visited her sister, Brianna, in Charleston, SC for their annual Wine + Food festival.

Culinary Village \[Credit: Charleston Wine + Food\]
Culinary Village [Credit: Charleston Wine + Food]

In their own words:

The festival celebrates a collective of artists, culinary visionaries, craftsmen, bartenders, brewers, purveyors, couriers, farmers, events staff, wine pros, sanitation assistants, security guards, writers, musicians, prep chefs, servers, restaurateurs, guests, and – of course – Charlestonians (500 talent and over 38,000 guests to be exact).

The biggest draw by far is the Culinary Village, which is one part wine, spirits, and food tasting, and one part live entertainment. There was an entire tent dedicated to wine1Our first stop, naturally. and there were individual pop-ups from companies like Fords (gin), Pacifico (beer), and Charleston Mix (local Bloody Mary mix).

However, it really wasn’t about large, global companies at this event. Everything felt very local, nicely curated, and ultimately a celebration of what makes the South Carolina Lowcountry region unique.

If we're honest, we also partook in a few Painkiller shots.
If we’re honest, we also partook in a few Painkiller shots.

There were local craftsmen and artists less "hawking their wares" and more teaching others how they got into their work. There were many local restaurants doling out goodies like shrimp and grits, fish tacos, and oysters—presented in a variety of ways. In fact, you could even shuck them yourself if you wanted, but we felt day drinking and oyster shucking were not a great match for us2Being a bystander was just as thrilling (due to aforementioned day drinkers)..

One thing stood out to us about this event as it compared to many other wine festivals we’ve experienced: the point was to relax and not overthink anything.

  • Were people sipping wine hoping the vendor would describe the floral notes they were tasting? Not a one.
  • Was the vendor pouring 1oz of Bloody Mary mix as an amuse-bouche? Try a 12oz pour with accoutrements.

Overall, the experience was one to remember. We’ll certainly be back again in 2024.

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