Whether your dream vacation consists of walking across windswept dunes or shopping at one-of-a-kind boutiques, Nantucket, Massachusetts is a destination with something for every traveler. Outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home in this island community. Surfside Beach offers coastal vistas, beach activities, and plenty of room to soak up the sun. Brant Point Light features a historic lighthouse, views of the harbor, and a large beach. The Island’s wealth of boutiques is attributed to its ban on national chain retailers. Visitors looking to shop-till-they-drop will be enamored with Ambrosia (handmade chocolates, teas, and more), Milly & Grace (home decor and jewelry), and The Hub (magazines, papers, and gifts).
The Nantucket Wine and Food Festival has been a top showcase of food and beverages in the region for more than two decades, and it will take place May 16-20 at locations around the island. This year’s edition will feature more than 60 regular and signature events ranging from pairing dinners to information-packed culinary seminars. The Harbor Gala features top wines from across the planet that are paired with dishes by renowned chefs from the region and beyond. At the Grand Tastings, attendees have the opportunity to sample more than 600 wines as well as meals and bites by regional restaurants. Stop by the Culinary Village to sample unique libations, take in some chef demonstrations, and browse the offerings of the onsite vendors. The Bluegrass Brunch is the ideal way to kick off your day, and it features live bluegrass music while patrons sample bloody marys and a variety of brunch foods. With so much to offer, the only way to find out about all the available events is by visiting the event website. We interviewed Event Representative, Ebony Hurwitz, to learn more about this can’t miss epicurean celebration.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
EH: 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod – the world’s historic whaling capital becomes the nation’s wine capital every May. Famous for its vast array of featured winemakers and talent, the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival began in 1996 as a one-day Grand Tasting event held on the beach in Siasconset, the easternmost tip of the island.
With the help of island purveyors, restaurants and retailers, founder Denis Toner created what would become one of the most prestigious events of its kind. When the first vintners arrived at the island and bottles were uncorked, a magical tradition began. The festival now draws over 3,000 attendees for this annual spring fête and boasts a continually growing family of vintners, wineries, renowned chefs and restaurants.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
EH: The Nantucket Wine and Food Festival is 21+.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
EH: From educational seminars to walk-around tastings and special wine dinners, the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival features over 60 prestigious events. Here’s a look into some of the fun, informative and downright tasty events at NWF this year:
Renowned winemakers from around the world present their wines paired with dishes created by award-winning chefs from Nantucket, Boston, New York and around the country. Enjoy the elegance of the White Elephant Hotel, overlooking the harbor - the most exquisite setting for this prestigious event. Upgrade to a VIP ticket for a celebratory glass of Veuve Clicquot, and early access to the vintners, chefs, and exquisite food and wine pairings.
The Grand Tastings
Let your palate have a party! Taste, learn and love while you experience over 600 different wines from over 150 prestigious wineries from around the globe. The Grand Tastings are the heart and soul of the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival. Every year the NWF features new and exciting wineries as well as many returning festival favorites. Enjoy amazing food from regional restaurants as well as artisan purveyors and lite bites to complement this extravagant wine tasting event. Get in before the crowds with a VIP ticket to enjoy one-half hour of additional tasting and crowd-free connections.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
EH: The Nantucket Wine and Food Festival is sponsored by the White Elephant Hotel, which hosts many of our events.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
EH: For 22 years, the NWF has brought distinguished winemakers and chefs to the island for an epic epicurean celebration. Over the course of five days, the island comes alive with elegant tastings, lunches, dinners, and educational seminars.
The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival offers guests exclusive access to some of the world’s most renowned winemakers from both European wineries and New World producers. Past highlights have included Opus One, Château Margaux, Domaine Christian Moreau, Kosta Browne, Château Cos d’Estournel, Vega Sicilia and Sokol Blosser to name a few.
There is also a charity component to our festival. The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival Charitable Foundation is the charitable arm of this annual event. Proceeds benefit a variety of island non-profits and community organizations, with a focus on supporting Nantucket Island youth. The NWF Culinary Arts Mentoring Program provides speakers, visiting chefs, field trips and paid student employment opportunities. The annual NWF Junior Top Chef Competition directly supports the Nantucket High School Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund. The NWFCF will also support Nantucket Community Parks and Recreation and the Tom Nevers Improvement Project.
For more information about the Nantucket Wine and Food Festival, please visit the event website.