Taking place Feb. 19-23, 2020, Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is a can’t-miss, annual event all South Floridians flock to buy tickets to. The five-day event has showcased wine, spirits, chefs and culinary personalities for 19 years in a row now, and donates all proceeds to the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Want a real taste of Miami? You’ll get it by immersing yourself in the very best of South Florida food and culture. Don’t wait to buy tickets and schedule all the events you want to attend; the big ones sell out and fast. If you’re a Capital One cardholder, be sure to take advantage of the exclusive cardholder pre-sale and early event access. Trust us; it’s worth it.
It wasn’t always called the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. In 1997, the Florida Extravaganza debuted. For five years, the event showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with foods from local chefs and restaurants who worked with FIU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management students.
Over the years, this evolved, and in 2002, the event relocated to South Beach and was renamed to match its location. Just four short years later, the SOBEWFF celebrated its fifth anniversary; at that point, it was known around the country as one of the biggest and best festivals for food and wine. After partnering with Food Network, the festival hosted 30,000 guests in 2007. It featured the first Burger Bash, hosted by Rachael Ray. Then in 2008, the Fun and Fit as a Family program was added, which still takes place every year and is held at Jungle Island.
Now, nearly 20 years since its inception, the SOBEWFF has raised more than $30 million for the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, has welcomed King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, and has even released (in 2010) the "Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America’s Hottest Chefs," written by Lee Brian Schrager with Julie Mautner, featuring a foreword by Anthony Bourdain.
There are so many “must-see” talks, demonstrations, meals, parties, and seminars during this five-day festival, it’s impossible to do it all. Head to the official SOBEWFF website and you can see events broken down by day or categorized by specifics, such as Family Fun, $100 and Under, New Events, Intimate Dinners, Fitness, Brunches & Lunches, Late-Night Parties, Walk-Around Tastings and more. A few favorites: Tacos After Dark hosted by Danny Trejo, Italian Bites on the Beach hosted by Giada DeLaurentiis and Dario Cecchini, Beachside BBQ hosted by Guy Fieri and BACARDI’s Beach Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern.
How to Get There
There are quite a few transportation options available if you’re planning to attend the upcoming South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
There’s a free Park ‘N Ride, exclusive to Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village ticket-holders and is a free shuttle running continuously on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 to and from dedicated festival parking lots located in Downtown Miami. Head downtown and hop on a shuttle; it will drop you off, and pick you up again, beachside at 13th Street and Collins Avenue, just a short walk to the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village. If you decide to ride the Metromover, the closest station is Freedom Tower Station. There’s also parking in Miami Beach, of course.
Map out your route and plan to arrive early. There are metered lots, on-street parking, residential permit programs and more available once you enter Miami Beach. There’s also the City of Miami Beach’s free trolley service, which means less stress and more fun for everyone.
If you are traveling from out of town, there are a number of hotels offering discounted rates to festival attendees, including W South Beach, the National Hotel, Shore Club South Beach and more.
What to Do Nearby
If you’re staying on South Beach during the festival, make time for some sightseeing, local bars and restaurants and, of course, the ocean. There's no shortage of things to do in Miami Beach.
Feel like getting cultured? There are so many museums in the vicinity, including the Bass, the Wolfsonian (which is part of FIU) and the World Erotic Art Museum. If you feel like venturing to the mainland, there’s the Perez Art Museum Miami and the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
Maybe it’s sunrise yoga that’s more your thing? Catch a donation-based class on 3rd Street every day. Head to 3rd Street and Ocean Drive with a mat, towel, sunblock and some water and get ready to start—or end—your day with intention. November to March, classes take place at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. You always have the option of hanging on the sand with a beach blanket, or chairs and an umbrella. Take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean, enjoy a margarita or a glass of champagne and let the salty air run through your hair. Naps are always welcome when you have such a jam-packed itinerary.
Though you’ll be trying foods by some of the best chefs in the country at SOBEWFF, we encourage you to try some of the local fare, too. Grab a happy hour cocktail and some disco fries at the farm-to-table Yardbird Southern Table + Bar, or some Spanish-style tapas at the Bazaar by Jose Andres. If you want a European experience in a short amount of time, head to Espanola Way, where you’ll find everything from Cuban to Spanish to Italian to French food, wine, desserts, and even the best chips and salsa. If it’s vegan offerings you’re after, there’s Planta South Beach. Not only is the restaurant beautiful, but its menu also has some delicious options, too. TimeOut Market is excellent for those in groups who can’t decide; you have everything your heart and stomach could desire there, including Bachour red velvet croissants, Kush burgers, pho, tacos, wine, cheese, deli sandwiches and so much more.