By Kathy L. Collins

The Tampa Theatre presents its 13th Annual WineFest this September with a fun and whimsical “Monty Python and the Holy Grape” theme. WineFest is the Tampa Theatre’s largest fundraiser event of the year with proceeds benefitting the historic movie palace’s artistic and educational programs as well as its ongoing preservation and restoration. This year’s event chair, John Wolfe said, “I wanted to pick a theme that incorporated some of my favorite things, namely Game of Thrones, shrubbery and swallows.”

WineFest kicks off Friday, September 12 with a two-tiered wine tasting featuring many of Tampa’s most famous and flavorsome independent restaurants. Guests will have the opportunity to sample dozens of boutique wines and bid on premium silent auction items, while local eateries like Bern’s Steak House, Catrinas Cocina Y Galeria and Anise Global Gastrobar serve up their favorite fare – all with John Cleese and Terry Gilliam’s classic 1975 farce providing the perfect backdrop on the big screen.

The Premium Tasting is from 7-8 p.m. and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. Tickets are $85 in advance and include admission to the Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting is from 8-10 p.m. and tickets are $50 in advance.

Then, on Saturday, September 13, the theatre’s historic stage will be expanded to seat 200 for the exclusive Wine Pairing beginning at 6:30 p.m. The five-course menu, catered by Mise En Place chef Marty Blitz, will feature delectable small plates which will be expertly paired with wines specific to each dish. Seating is limited, and tickets are $250 per person. WineFest tops off the weekend of revelry with a Wine Brunch at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, September 14. Food stations catered by local independent restaurants will pair breakfast offerings with mimosas, bellinis and a selection of light wines. Tickets are $40 per person.

WineFest has added a fourth element to this ever-expanding event with a 95 point plus wine tasting on Thursday, September 18 at the Tampa Club. Space is limited for this exclusive opportunity to experience eight exquisite wines. Tickets are $200 per person.

Join Sir Bedevere the Wise, Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir-Lancelot and Sir Galahad the Pure on their quest for The Holy Grape and help support a treasured historic landmark. The Tampa Theatre is located at 711 N. Franklin St. in downtown Tampa. For more information, call 274-8981 or visit

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