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Wine Festival Expands to Four Days, Strengthens Food Focus 

Reps from 100 wineries poured tastes of 600 wines.

Photo: BizBash

On the tail end of the worst blizzard to hit the area in more than 100 years, this year’s 11th annual Washington D.C. International Wine & Food Festival—now lengthened to four days—got off to a delayed start when new show manager KSM Marketing canceled the kick-off reception on Thursday, scheduled to take place at PS7’s restaurant.
The next night, however, with the downtown streets still a colossal mess, more than 300 guests made their way to the headquarters of presenting festival sponsor The Washington Post for a wine and cheese reception. Thousands more turned out Saturday and Sunday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the Grand Tasting ($75 to $95 per person), which included 100 wineries pouring more than 600 wines.

With platinum sponsorship by the Kingdom of Navarra (an autonomous region of Spain), this year’s tasting festival had a stronger accent on food than in past years. KSM doubled the number of food vendors and added the Street Fare Food Pavilion ($30 additional) on the balcony above the central Atrium, where guests sampled Australian lamb loin and Alaskan poached cod prepared by Reagan Building chefs.

“We’ve done a shake-up of the design and the display layout in the atrium, with a large center island for Navarra,” said show manager Kelly Morris of KSM. “Instead of a series of booths and smaller pavilions, our vision was better traffic flow with no bottlenecks.”  

As in previous years, The Washington Post helmed a stage in Atrium Hall for cooking demos by local chefs, including Jose Andres of ThinkFoodGroup and Barton Seaver of Blue Ridge. Hargrove again provided general contractor services.