A Weekend to Savor

The Skinny:


We have chosen two befitting organizations to receive a portion of the proceeds from the weekend and they are the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program and Florence's own Help 4 Kids.

Established in 1991, the James Beard Scholarship Program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. In the past 25 years, the program has not only grown in visibility and financial scope, but in the array of subjects its recipients have embraced. As of 2017, the Foundation will have awarded over $7 million in financial aid to almost 2,000 recipients.

Each year JBF offers three basic types of Awards:

  • Friends of James Beard: Cash grants applied to tuition (and sometimes other school-related expenses)
  • James Beard School Scholarships: Tuition waivers granted by educational institutions, which are renewable in some cases
  • Grants for working culinary professionals that cover expenses from programs offering experiential learning at farms, fisheries, wineries, and other venues of food production, under the auspices of the Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Work/Study program.

  • Additionally, JBF's National Scholars Program, which launched in 2016, provides ten high-impact scholarships of $20,000 each to food-focused candidates of exceptional talent. Candidates for the ten (10) National Scholarships are selected according to academic merit, as well as personal and professional recommendations. To ensure regional diversity of this national program, one awardee will be selected from each of the ten geographic regions defined by the James Beard Foundation Awards.

    The James Beard Foundation is also proud to announce its new Women's Leadership Programs, which are committed to advancing women in the culinary industry. These programs are open to women with at least two year's of professional experience.

    Help 4 Kids Florence is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with a mission of filling the weekend hunger gap for the children in Florence County elementary schools who receive free or reduced breakfast/lunch during the week and who are identified as being “food insecure” on the weekend. The organization does not receive any federal or state funds and relies completely on monetary and/or food donations from individuals, businesses, churches, service clubs and foundations.

    Since the first distribution of 193 meals for the weekend in six schools in Florence School District One in September 2013, the organization has grown to providing more than 2,100 bags of food for each weekend during the academic year among 33 schools (including 6 Head Start programs) in all five Florence County school districts (Florence, Pamplico, Lake City, Timmonsville and Johnsonville). Food for the weekend is also provided during summer school and other summer programs throughout the school districts.

    2018 Featured Winery

    The Florence Food and Wine Festival’s 2018 Featured Winery is Tolosa Winery from California’s Central Coast Region, better known as the Edna Valley. Edna Valley is nestled amongst the northwest to southeast-running volcanic hills of San Luis Obispo County and is the frontier for the most complex cool-climate varietals in California, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Edna Valley, the coolest appellation in California, has all the elements for crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines to rival any in the world. Combining challenging, calcium-rich soil conditions and ancient seabed with the valley’s warm days and cool nights, creates ingredients for timeless and profound wines of diverse and distinctive character.

    Enjoy an array of Tolosa wines at Saturday evening’s Full Life, Full Forward Wine Dinner on the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center lawn. The wines will be expertly paired with dishes from local chefs including Cooper Thomas of Victors and Bobby Hodge of Town Hall. Get your tickets here.

    Schedule of Events

    The perfect place to be for wine enthusiasts, foodies, craft-beer lovers, bourbon connoisseurs and those with a genuine desire to savor the best of the South.

    Friday, April 13th

    6:00 - 8:00 PM

    Downtown Sip & Savor Event

    Take a stroll in Downtown Florence along North Dargan and Evans Streets as you sip and savor your way through delightful boutiques, shops, and recently renovated professional offices throughout the Downtown Florence Historic District. Sample twenty-four wines from Rick Havekost's Micky Finn's and six craft beers from Downtown Florence's own Local Motive Brewery. Test your "nez" and compare tasting notes with knowledgeable sommeliers throughout the event. Keep up with your favorites and purchase them at the end of your stroll in the James Allen Plaza, where The Tim Clark Band will keep the party going as you enjoy complimentary dessert and coffee.

    NOTE:  Ticket Holders must be at least 21 years of age to participate. Check-in for the Sip & Savor event will be held at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce located at 100 West Evans Street. All ticketholders are required to check in and receive a wristband, tasting glass, and map BEFORE starting your wine tour.

    7:30 - 10:00 PM

    IN THE SPIRIT: A Bourbon Tasting

    Enjoy an exclusive bourbon tasting and cigar pairing led by Bourbon-Columbia's co-owner, Eric Duncan. Based on each participant’s flavor preferences, Eric will pair a flight of three bourbons with a cigar in this fun and relaxed event during the Florence Wine and Food Festival. The cigar lounge and bourbon tasting will take place on the terrace at the Hotel Florence penthouse suite overlooking live music in the James Allen Plaza by the Tim Clark Band until 10 p.m. A variety of bourbons, including Bourbon’s own Private Select Maker’s Mark, will be available, and each flight will be unique to the attendee. Flights will be paired with cigars from Padron, Tatuaje, My Father, and Oliva among others.

    NOTE:    This event requires a separate ticket.

    Saturday, April 14th

    6:00 PM

    A Full Life, Full Forward Feast

    An elegant evening of fine wines from Tolosa Winery in California’s Central Coast Region paired perfectly with a four course, locally sourced dinner prepared by award winning chefs will delight the palate. The feast will begin with a champagne and wine reception at the BB&T Amphitheater, located on the lawn of the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center at 201 South Dargan Street, followed by dinner on the lawn featuring a string quartet and observations from local chefs, farmers and the Tolosa sommeliers.

    Dress:  Jackets for Gentlemen & Garden Attire for Ladies

    Downtown Sip & Savor

    Friday, April 13, 2018

    $50/1 Person

    IN THE SPIRIT: A Bourbon Tasting

    Friday, April 13, 2018

    $40/1 Person

    Our Sponsors

    Thank you to our corporate sponsors for your unmatched generosity, enthusiasm, and unwavering support. We express our endless gratitude to you for making this a memorable and educational weekend and allowing for the showcasing of the South’s very best!

    Become A Sponsor

    Venue Information

    Where to find us!


    PLEASE NOTE: All Florence Wine & Food Festival events will be held in Downtown Florence's recently redeveloped historic district. Please see below for additional details.

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    Find ample parking in the FREE City of Florence Parking Garage accessed via 150 S. Irby Street (next to King Jefe). Surface lot parking is also available behind Hotel Florence (126 W. Evans Street), at the County Complex Building (180 N. Irby Street), and in the lot next to Edible Arrangements on North Dargan Street. Additional free on-street parking (first-come, first served) is available along West Evans, South Dargan, and North Dargan Streets. See below for more details.

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    Lodging & Accommodations are available throughout the city. Hotel Florence is located downtown immediately adjacent to all of the action.

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