Tybee Wine Festival supports historic theater

Hosted by the Tybee Post Theater as its primary fundraising event of the year, the seventh annual Tybee Wine Festival kicks off April 22.

“It brings together people from Savannah and all across the country,” says Melissa Turner, executive director of the Tybee Post Theater. “People plan their vacations around the Tybee Wine Festival.”

The five-day event is packed with wine, food and sun, and includes several wine tastings, wine and food pairings and elegant cuisine, all leading up to the Grand Wine Tasting, the event’s biggest and most popular attraction.

Each ticket is sold individually, so attendees can choose to go to one event or all five days.

This year, the first day of the festival falls on Earth Day and organizers are celebrating by hosting a new event: An elegant, four-course “earth-to-table” meal prepared by local celebrity chefs at Tybee Island Wedding Chapel’s Grand Ballroom.

The chefs will each be honoring Earth Day by preparing courses with local, organic ingredients that match the “earth-to-table” theme.

Wines will be provided by Gérard Bertrand, a French winemaker who specializes in organically made wines.

Among the celebrity chefs are Mashama Bailey, head chef at The Grey, and Kyle Jacovino, executive chef at The Florence.

“It’s something Tybee Island really has never done before — bringing all of these high-caliber chefs together in one kitchen to produce a dinner,” Turner says.

Another of the festival’s wine and food events called “The Art of Pairing” is an intimate, five-course meal that puts an emphasis on perfectly pairing wines for each course.

A sommelier will guide attendees through each course, teaching and explaining the reasoning behind the very particular pairings.

But all of the food and wine events over the week are just a precursor to the Grand Wine Tasting, the festival’s biggest and most popular event.

With more than 100 international wines to taste, it’s no wonder why last year’s attendance exceeded 700 people.

“It’s such a wonderful, laid-back, casual afternoon at the lighthouse,” Turner says. “The grounds are beautiful and people bring their blankets and beach chairs.”

“There’s lots and lots of wine and lots and lots of good food,” she says.

The afternoon will include live music from local blues artist Danielle Hicks and Americana/folk artist Isaac Smith with his band.

This year’s festival in particular is very important to the Tybee Post Theater because the funds raised will finally help finance a 10-year goal.

“For the past 10 years, the Tybee Post Theater has been looking to restore and reopen a historic movie house on Tybee Island,” Turner says. “All of our proceeds from all of our events for the past decade have gone toward that goal.”

With the help of the festival funds raised, the historical theater hopes to reopen in June as a fully functioning performing arts and movie venue. And all the delicious food and wine at the fest should make supporting the theater a tasty endeavor indeed.

Do Savannah