Food + Wine Classic expanding along the riverside

Founders Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris

Founders Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris

Friday, Sept. 23-Sunday, Sept. 25, Yeatman’s Cove

Approximately 9,000 attendees are expected at the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic, which is moving from the confines of Washington Park to the north bank of the Ohio River.

“It was always our intent to start small and grow,” said co-founder Donna Covrett. “Yeatman’s Cove was always in our sights.”

The other reason for the move is “our personality as a river town.”

The growth made it possible to reduce the ticket price from $125 to $95 for each of the four main events.
Organizers have cooked up plenty of possibilities for the three-day event, which brings together more than 100 restaurants and award-winning chefs from more than a dozen cities – as well as boutique wineries and artisan breweries.

“Since our launch in 2014, our mission has been to capture the energy and enthusiasm of the Midwest’s dynamic food and beverage scene and to position the region as an exciting culinary nucleus,” said co-founder Courtney Tsitouris. “Cincinnati will once again take the stage as writers from The New York Times, Serious Eats, and more come to see what we’re all about.”

The Grand Opening last year, with founders Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris

The Grand Opening last year, with founders Donna Covrett and Courtney Tsitouris

The new, larger location allows room for “a lot more cool stuff,” said Covrett.

“Instead of one main large tent,” said Tsitouris, “we’ve been able to expand the Grand Tasting experience all the way down the Serpentine Wall.”

The Classic now includes an artisan marketplace, a large beverage pavilion and something called the Grill Pavilion, which will feature “grilling all weekend long,” with all kinds of grills and a fire pit. In the evenings, the kitchens will transform into dessert pavilions.

According to Tsitouris, the weekend of events can be approached in two ways: “If you are really into cooking and learning, the daytimes are for you. You’re able to get up close and personal with chefs, and attend wine and beer seminars. Then the evenings are for those who love to party, have fun, enjoy food and drink. We have live music and a party atmosphere.”

On the agenda

The weekend will include grand tastings, competitions, demonstrations, panel discussions and book signings, as well as four signature events:

  • Friday, Sept. 23, 6:30-9:30 p.m. The Grill Invitational: Live grilling party and judged showdown featuring more than 30 chefs from across the nation and an opportunity for guests to grant the People’s Choice Award.
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, noon-5 p.m. Saturday Savor: Tastings from 30 restaurants as part of the Lunch Your Face Off event. Two custom kitchens will feature demos and competitions with star chefs, and all-day programming includes the MasterClass Salon for tasting seminars, author talks and panel discussions.
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Grand Tasting Feast in the Park: Live music under the stars and fine dining with more than 30 top local, regional and national chefs.
  • Sunday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday Savor: Includes the Rising Stars Brunch, with tastings from up-and-coming sous chefs, chefs de cuisine, pastry chefs and spirits experts. The weekend will conclude with the Somm Slam, a live real-time, double-blind wine tasting with local sommeliers, and audience participation.
Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel (foreground) and others at the Food + Wine Classic in 2015

Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel (foreground) and others at the Food + Wine Classic in 2015

Those signing on for VIP experiences will have access to a VIP craft cocktail lounge, exclusive programming and tastings, and a signature swag bag.

Tickets are on sale now. Each event ticket covers the cost of all food and beverages.

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