Sipping soirée: Ybor City gets its first wine festival

The inaugural Ybor City Wine Fest will feature more than 100 wines, local food pairings and more.

click to enlarge “It’s unique in a sense that it’s showcasing the flavor of Ybor,” says Kosar of Ybor’s first wine festival. - Ybor City Wine Bar
Ybor City Wine Bar
“It’s unique in a sense that it’s showcasing the flavor of Ybor,” says Kosar of Ybor’s first wine festival.

Ybor might be many folks’ destination of choice for nightlife merriment, but Jayme Kosar, owner of Ybor City Wine Bar, says she wants to show off another side of the historic neighborhood through an inaugural wine festival.

Featuring a broad selection of wines, eats from Ybor restaurants and live music, the Ybor City Wine Fest, hosted by Kosar’s wine bar, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, at the Centro Ybor complex along Eighth Avenue.

“I want to expand the culture of wine to Ybor,” Kosar says.

Check in will begin at the Ybor City Wine Bar on the complex’s ground floor, and from there, guests will be escorted upstairs to the wine festival, where nearby eateries, including Carne ChopHouse, Hamburger Mary’s and Tampa Bay Brewing Company, will offer grub throughout the day.

More than 100 wines from major distributors will be served alongside the food pairings, and the event’s wine assortment for VIP ticketholders will include brands like Nickel & Nickel, Duckhorn and Faust. Kosar says the wine fest will be an upscale event, and that she expects around 400 guests.

General admission costs $75 and grants guests access to food and wine samplings, while the $125 VIP package allows festivalgoers to attend a pre-fest reception at noon. VIP’ers will experience a gourmet cheese lounge, hors d’oeuvres, a fashion show by the La France clothing store and what Kosar calls a “Sparkling Bubble Bar” with various kinds of champagne.

For those who don’t have a hankering for wine, there's Mist Martini Lounge, a newer Ybor biz, and seasonal ales and cider from Plant City’s Two Henry's Brewing Company will also be on site. Kosar says the two liquid-makers will add to the wine fest’s eclectic appeal, which she says is lacking at other wine galas.

Winemaker Paul Clear of Tampa’s Terroir Wine Group plans to sign bottles and feature new wines at the event, too.

From the vendor lineup to the afternoon setting, “I’d like to showcase Ybor in a different light,” Kosar says. “This is like my little brainchild.”

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