Woodstock for Oenophiles

Most food festivals are pretty weak, but the "South Beach Wine & Food Festival" (March 5 to 7; info: 305-FIU-WINE; tickets: 866-333-SOBE) is fast becoming the most impressive of all South Florida fests, culinary or otherwise. The celebration begins with Friday evening's "BubbleQ at the Delano," where guests stroll on the beach, champagne glass in hand, and partake of specialties grilled by America's best barbecue chefs. Willie Nelson will entertain. Grand wine tastings take place Saturday and Sunday afternoons in a gargantuan, air-cooled tent, with 150 internationally acclaimed vintners and distillers pouring and the finest local restaurants plating up food. Renowned chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, and Nobu Matsuhisa will give seminars, and on Saturday evening, they'll join other celebrated national and local chefs at a series of dinners held at Miami's poshest dining rooms. The good times keep rolling with Sunday's "Tribute Brunch at the Loews Hotel," this year orchestrated by star chef Todd English. Those who care about fine food and wine won't want to miss this festival. As part of the event, New Times will sponsor the South Florida Dining Awards.

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