Wine Festival – Sommelier’s Corner – April 2016

By Zak Kilson, Chien de Vin | The weather is getting warmer, and the azaleas are starting to bloom here in the Cape Fear region. To me, the fresh air and warm smells of spring mean that it’s rose season; crisp and refreshing, just like the breeze that blows through our fair city. With that breeze comes a special time of year, perfect for a wine festival.

Wilmington Wine & Food Festival

When the dust settles from Azalea Fest, and our temporary residents head back to their lives, it’s time to shift our focus to another great (and my personal favorite) local wine festival, the 4th Annual Wilmington Wine & Food Festival. The festival events over the weekend of May 6-8 will be held at the historic Bellamy Mansion in downtown Wilmington. This is a wonderful opportunity to try the best of what the Port City has to offer. As a wine professional, and a member of this community, it makes me proud to be part of the culture they’re helping to cultivate!

With a series of lead-in events including a dinner with Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson at Manna, and a VIP Toast of the Town event with award winning chefs – James Beard and John Fleer to name a couple – the festival is bringing some well-deserved national recognition to our community. On May 5, Chef Fleer will be working with Chef Dean Neff from Pinpoint Restaurant, and John Oliver from Funky Fresh Food Truck for a VIP dinner at Bakery 105 downtown, which will include delectable pairings from top winemakers.

In its first 3 years, the festival has donated over $20,000 to local charities. For the 4th annual Wilmington Wine & Food Festival, the money raised will benefit local animal rescue efforts, as well as the Bellamy Mansion. This great cause is host to several amazing events. In my opinion, this will be the best year yet for the wine festival, and I consider it to be one of the best small festivals in the Southeast.

For more information about all of the events, and to buy your tickets for the Wilmington Wine & Food Festival, you can go to their website. I’ll see you there! Cheers!


Zak Kilson is the wine club director at Chien de Vin, a wine club for animal lovers where 5% of the proceeds are donated to local animal rescue efforts. With over a decade of wine industry experience, Zak is wine-obsessed and in the midst of a lifelong quest to drink great wine, meet awesome people, and share the love of the grape.

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