More than 3,500 guests experienced the very best of Miami’s wine and food scene at VeritageMiami (formerly known as the United Way Miami Wine & Food Festival), April 17 – 20. The four-day gathering featured a Craft Beer Tasting at Wynwood Walls, a Fine Wine Tasting at Village of Merrick Park, an Interactive Dinner at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and an Auction & Wine Dinner at the Orion Jet Center. All events benefited United Way of Miami-Dade’s work in education, financial stability and health.
“In rebranding our annual wine and food festival to VeritageMiami, we wanted to create a more engaging experience for our guests that really brought together the wine, food and philanthropic communities,” Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade. “Over the course of the four days, our guests enjoyed unique settings and experiences; great food, wine, beer, spirits and entertainment; all while having a great deal of fun and doing good for the community. That was our goal.”
After its wildly successful debut in 2011, the Craft Beer Tasting, sponsored by CBIZ, kicked off the festivities at Wynwood Walls on April 17. Flex Drum Jams and DJ Inferno, as well as magicians and live statues entertained 1,000 guests who enjoyed nearly 100 craft beers and micro-brews at dozens of tasting stations, and sampled bites from 30 local restaurants, including: Bloom, City Hall, Daily Melt, Joe’s Stone Crab, Oak Tavern, Pride & Joy, Shake Shack, Timó, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Fine Wine Tasting, sponsored by Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, took place at Village of Merrick Park on April 18. Spam Allstars entertained more than 1,200 guests who enjoyed 325 fine wines from 60 international wineries and gourmet treats from 36 premier restaurants and caterers, including: Aaron’s Catering, Brasserie Central, Edge Steak & Bar, George’s Restaurant, Sawa, Truluck’s, Tuyo. In celebration of Martini & Rossi’s 150 anniversary, the brand transformed the garden area into a lounge, with contemporary furniture and two full bars. Celebrity Cruises provided guests with the opportunity to create their own custom spice rub. Top Miami chefs and culinary notables including Norman Van Aken, Ingrid Hoffmann and Allen Susser were in attendance, signing their cookbooks which were available for purchase on-site through Books & Books. Before the event, more than 250 members of South Florida’s legal community gathered at Artefacto to as part of the Bilzin Sumberg Fourth Annual Legal Mingle. At the same time, the accounting firm of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra held a post-tax season celebration at Artrageous for its associates and partners.
Friday night’s Interactive Dinner, presented by City National Bank belonged to Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, who guided more than 700 guests through the preparation of a four-course meal with Johnson & Wales University culinary students serving as sous chefs and sommeliers. The menu included: a Mediterranean mezze made up of Babaganoush, hummus and whipped ricotta on homemade focaccia bread; seared gulf shrimp in a gnocchi sardi pasta, with chorizo, broccoli rabe, olives basil and cherry tomatoes; red wine braised paleron with batons bunch carrots, trumpet royale mushrooms and baby turnips served with a sauce forestiere; and the dessert consisted of a vanilla sundae with Bacardi Gold rum, brownie bites and pineapple caramel sauce. NBC 6’s Roxanne Vargas served as the mistress of ceremonies, and Bacardi brand ambassador Gabe Urrutia held a special toast in celebration of Bacardi’s fifth year as the Interactive Dinner’s cocktail sponsor.
The festival culminated on Saturday, April 20, with an Auction & Wine Dinner, presented by American Airlines, Orion Jet Center and Wine Spectator. Guests stepped back in time and enjoyed a post World War II celebration in a restored Naval Air hangar, complete with vintage fighter planes, military vehicles and period cars. Michelin-starred chef Davide Brovelli of Italy’s Il Sole di Ranco prepared a four-course Italian feast, paired with gold medal-winning wines from the Best in Glass Wine Challenge. Auctioneer Nick Weir presided over the spirited live auction, which featured stellar wines, exclusive wine vacations, and in-home experiences including private chefs, sommeliers and dessert workshops, among many others. The more than 700 guests also enjoyed dancing to live entertainment by the George Tandy Big Band.
The 2013 VeritageMiami trustees were Jayne and Leonard Abess; Hilarie Bass; Linda and Michael Bittel; Swanee and Paul DiMare; Colleen and Richard Fain; Nelly and Mike Farra; Mariita Srebnick and George Feldenkreis; Philip Levine; Carlos Migoya; June and Allen Morris; Susan and Bob Norton; Oscar Suarez; and Janet and Richard Yulman.
Richard Fain, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., served as VeritageMiami chair, His Royal Corkscrew; Mike Bittel of Sunset Corners Fine Wine & Spirits was VeritageMiami’s Earl of the Senses and Lyn Farmer served as VeritageMiami’s Imperial Imbiber.
For a full list of participating restaurants, wineries and breweries please visit www.veritagemiami.com. For more information and photo albums, visit www.facebook.com/veritagemiami, or www.twitter.com/VeritageMiami.
VeritageMiami sponsors included: American Airlines, City National Bank and Orion Jet Center at the Vintner level; American Express, Bank of America, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Celebrity Cruises, db Bistro Moderne, Global Resources Registry, Greenberg Traurig, IBM, JW Marriott Marquis Miami, Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Morrison, Brown Argiz & Farra, Munilla Family Foundation, Sunset Corners, Village of Merrick Park and Warren Moore Events at the Cellar Master level; Bacardi USA, CBIZ, Ernst & Young, Ryder System and Steiner Transocean Limited at the Cooper level; Bandito Brothers, Baptist Health South Florida, BB&T, Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod, Carlton Fields, Cisco Systems, Deloitte, Fairholme Capital Management, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Image Photo Services, Johnson & Wales University, Le Basque, MOSS, Nestle Waters North America, Northern Trust Corporation, NuStar Energy, Ocean Bank, Sabre Travel Network, World Fuel Services and Zuni Transportation at the Sommelier level; Agilysys, Akerman Senterfitt, Domeniul Coroanei Segarcea, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Fragomen, Insight, JPMorgan Chase, La Cacciatora, Noven Pharmaceuticals, Right Management, The Coca-Cola Company, Vranken-Pommery Monopole and Sysco at the Connoisseur level; Books & Books, Botran, Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, Holland & Knight, Miami Cocktails, Padilla Cigars, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, Vita Coco Water and White & Case at the Enthusiast level. Media sponsors include: AroundTown Magazine, Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, Chat Chow, Cigar Aficionado, Comcast, Daily Business Review, Fisher Island Magazine, Miami Magazine, Miami New Times, NBC 6, Response Publishing Group, The Miami Herald – el Nuevo Herald, Tropic Magazine and Wine Spectator.