Tampa Theatre Wine Fest

“Of all the wine joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine…” at Caskablanca, presented by DEX Imaging, Tampa Theatre’s 15th annual WineFest. This year’s event features bites from local independent restaurants, sips from the finest wineries, an exclusive evening of wine and food pairings, and a very special screening of this year’s theme film, Casablanca.

Now in its 15th year, WineFest is Tampa Theatre’s biggest annual fundraising event, benefitting the historic movie palace’s artistic, educational and community programs as well as the 90-year-old movie palace’s ongoing preservation and restoration.

  • On Friday, Sept. 16, a two-tiered Wine Tasting invites you to taste dozens of boutique wines, sample favorite fare from more of Tampa’s top independent restaurants than ever before, and bid on premium silent auction items representing Bay area retailers, restaurants, services and attractions.

o    The Premium Tasting is from 7-8 p.m. and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. Tickets are $90 and include admission to the Grand Tasting.

o    The Grand Tasting is from 8-10 p.m., and tickets are $55.

  • On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Theatre’s historic stage will be expanded to seat more than 250 and transformed into Rick’s Café for the elegant Wine Pairing at 6:30 p.m. The multi-course menu, created and catered by Mise En Place chef Marty Blitz, will feature delectable small plates expertly paired with wines specific to each dish. Seating is limited, and tickets are $275 per person or $500 per couple.
  • Finally, WineFest wraps up on Sunday, Sept. 18, with the finale of Tampa Theatre’s 25th annual Summer Classics movie series, a screening of Casablanca at 3 p.m. Immediately following the film, St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall and former Tampa Tribune film critic Bob Ross will take the stage together to discuss the film’s lasting cultural significance in a 45-minute Film Talk and audience Q&A. Tickets are $10 and include the Film Talk.

Event co-chair Mike Stanton expects that the weekend could be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship” for anyone who may not yet be familiar with Tampa Theatre’s 90-year history as the community’s beloved movie palace. “But,” says returning event chair John Wolfe, “if you don’t buy a ticket and support this amazing non-profit cultural institution, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” A member of the WineFest committee for the past 7 years, John has been the chair of the past two years’ record-breaking success, “Monty Python and the Holy Grape” and “Napoleon Wineamite.”

Tickets will be available at noon Friday, June 24 at the Tampa Theatre box office, 711 N. Franklin Street, or at www.TampaTheatre.org/WineFest. Members save $10 off Premium and Grand tickets for the Friday night Tasting and $2 off the Sunday screening of Casablanca.

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