What began as a casual conversation more than ten years ago has developed into a series of events that appeals to food and wine enthusiasts alike. The Columbus Food & Wine Affair is the brain child of founders Greg Maurer, General Manager/Vice President of Heidelberg Distributing Co., and David Miller, Executive Vice President of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. As members of the Central Ohio Restaurant Association, Maurer and Miller took the project to CORA where they assembled a special task force to develop a new event for CORA. CORA’s board unanimously approved the Columbus Food & Wine Affair and the rest, as they say, is history.
Looking at similar events from around the country, the founders landed on the idea of an event that combined excellent wines, superb foods and support for the community. With that goal in mind, the Columbus Food & Wine Affair was born.
In its first year, the Columbus Food & Wine Affair included a Wine Competition and Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting, held at Franklin Park Conservatory, welcomed 500 guests and was, indeed, a financial success for the charities it supported. Through the years, the Grand Tasting evolved in such a way that it was set apart from traditional fundraisers in the area. Many elements added to its success including the commitment of excellent wines from worldwide vintners, food presentations from Columbus’ finest restaurants and a venue that is beautiful and unique.
Now entering its tenth extraordinary year, the Columbus Food & Wine Affair boasts an impressive history. And those in Central Ohio know it is THE food and wine event not to be missed. Besides continuing to offer exquisite tastings from the area’s finest restaurants as well as pours from more than 400 wineries across the world, Columbus Food & Wine Affair Grand Tasting brings nothing but the best to the table. The event has expanded logsistically to encompass a great portion of both the indoor settings and outdoor gardens allowing for a beautiful flow throughout the remarkable venue of the Franklin Park Conservatory. With the addition of space comes the inclusion of premier artisans, craftspersons and retailers to allow those in attendance more opportunity to wine, dine, buy and enjoy.
With all that makes up the fabulous Columbus Food & Wine Affair, it is no surprise that the event has raised over $400,000 for local charities in just nine years. Ongoing beneficiaries of the event include the WBNS-10TV Family Fund and the Central Ohio Restaurant Association Foundation.
Plans to expand the Columbus Food & Wine Affair into a series of events have become a reality. The new “sister” events – Wine Enthusiast Competition, Cena di Vino, the Columbus Cocktail Classic scheduled for 2013, Food & RE-Wine’d and Food & UN-Wine – will insure that food and wine enthusiasts experience the magic of theColumbus Food & Wine Affair again and again–and for years to come.