One of the best things about living in Florida is that you can head to the beach in December. A few weeks before Christmas I went to Clearwater Beach for an entire weekend of food, wine, and fun at Clearwater Beach Uncorked! How can you go wrong with a hotel by the beach and 2 days of Clearwater Beach Uncorked?
Clearwater Beach Uncorked serves up 180-degree Gulf of Mexico views artfully blending local chef rock stars with national brand partners offering tastes and sips to please every palate. This year the event was moved to a new location, directly on Clearwater Beach (Right next to the official host hotel, Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach), just south of Pier 60. The event is the west coast sister of the new Cocoa Beach Uncorked, which debuted in June and was dubbed one of the best food, wine and beer festivals on Florida’s East coast.
The 30,000-sq. ft. Grand Tasting Tent featured a vast array of mouthwatering taste experiences for discerning palettes. As a media guest we started the morning off with a special meet and greet with Chef Norman Love of Norman Love Confections. How can you go wrong starting the day with champagne and chocolates? We learned all about his story and got to taste some of his amazing treats.
Having early access to the tasting tent meant that we had some time to meet with all the vendors and take pictures of all the amazing food and drinks before the tent filled up with people, because boy does the tent fill up. Clearwater Beach Uncorked has become a VERY popular event. And I think moving the event to December, when the weather was amazing, made it even more popular.
Even if you aren’t a huge wine drinker, there is still plenty for you to enjoy. There was craft beer, cocktails, and every kind of food you could possibly imagine. I think one of the hardest things about Uncorked is figuring out where to start. This year they gave you these awesome plates that also held your wine glass, so it made it a little easier to collect a few tasty bites and then stop to enjoy them.
All guests received a limited-edition wine glass, custom tote bag and were able to enjoy the Grand Tasting Village with unlimited tastings from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests who purchased a VIP ticket also enjoyed one-hour early admission to the Grand Tasting Village and exclusive access to the Spirits Pool Lounge at the Wyndham Grand pool deck from 1 to 5 p.m. to sample exciting and intriguing crafted libations.
I really enjoyed being able to enjoy food and drink from so many restaurants and vendors at one time. Living in the middle of the state there are so many restaurants on the coasts that I don’t always get a chance to visit. This events gives me a chance to “visit” a bunch of them at one time. And the wine! Oh my, the wine. So many amazing varieties. Even if you don’t know much about wine this event is still for you. The folks serving up the wine know everything there is to know about the wines and can totally point you in the right direction.
It was a nice touch to be able to walk across the street to the Wyndham to enjoy the VIP lounge. It was right on their pool deck with amazing views of the ocean. We were able to sample a few bites and cocktails that weren’t available in the Tasting Tent. It also gave us a chance to catch up with some of our friends that were also there. The event is awesome, but it does get a little crowded once the event officially opens to everyone. My helpful hint – spent the extra money and get the VIP ticket. The one-hour early admission alone is worth it.
I love this event can’t wait until it rolls around again. Thankfully, I don’t have to wait very long. Cocoa Beach Uncorked is coming up on April 28-29! This event is just in its second year, but it is growing to be just as amazing as Clearwater. Plus, this event gives you amazing view of the East Coast of Florida. Tickets are already on sale for Cocoa Beach, make sure to pick up your (VIP) ticket today!
*Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets to this event as a member of the media. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.