Key West Food and Wine Festival: Duval Uncorked

What could be better than a mile long wine tasting? A mile long wine tasting followed by an over the top wine dinner. More on the dinner on Monday. Today I will focus on Duval Uncorked, one of the main events during the annual Key West Food and Wine Festival.

With Babka safely in the care of our friends, we meandered through the crafts festival before heading to Grunt’s to check in for Duval Uncorked. We waited briefly to be checked in, get our glasses and a handy map indicating which stops had food, wine or both. This year, the festival producers created a phone app to also guide you along. they even had a contest to see who could scan all of the QR codes at each stop first and awarded VIP passes to next year’s festival. It was a big hit.

After seeing the crowd at Grunt’s we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe, where they had a room set up with both wine and chocolate mousse. We zig-zagged across Duval for over three hours. There were a few stops that we not so prepared when we arrived – Key West Olive Oil was just setting up and Montage had not received their wine yet. We expect a few glitches along the way with an event of this magnitude. (Yes, I did just say that in my head in the voice of Martin Short, er, Franck Egglehoffer, in Father of the Bride.)

At Hard Rock Cafe

After a quick jaunt to Jack’s Seafood Shack, we made it to the Wet Paint Gallery, where we were greeted with friendly faces and good wines, in addition to the awesome artwork. Fast Buck Freddie’s sported a nice Ribera del Duero along with food from The Stoned Crab (chowder and ceviche). After a quick stop in the new location of Island Style, and a lesson on how to use my front-facing phone camera from a total stranger, we headed down Appelrouth Lane to Leather Master’s and 2¢, Key West’s newest gastro-pub.

Next up came Fin (more shrimp) and some nice wines being poured in the courtyard, DJ’s Clam Shack,

At Wet Paint Gallery

where we indulged in a glorious French rosé (it was really warm) and then across the street to Gelato on Duval for pastries and more rosé. Salsa Loca had a crazy long line of people waiting for pork tacos, while on the next block Evolution had a beautiful – and tasty – display of mini cupcakes from Key West Cakes.

Green World Gallery brought wine in a bag, which in theory I really like. In actuality, not so much. Graffiti had a nice display with the Delas merlot, which I passed on, only because I drink it at home with alarming frequency. It is a great pizza wine.

Vino’s on Duval had T-Vine pouring, so that was a good stop. Plus, they have a really nice bathroom. (Hey, this is an important, yet often overlooked fact!) Next door at the lovely Tropical Inn we sampled mini cheesecakes flavored with wine. We hit Croissants de France (delicious pastries), Blackfin Bistro

At Fin...

(yum) and Historic Cigar Alley (impressive array of wines) before heading to lush bar to try Orange Columbo.

To say I was hesitant is an understatement. Fruit wine? Sweet? No thanks. Yet it was surprisingly not sweet, and delicious when mixed with champagne. Of course, I had to sample it both ways. That will

Oh, the cupcakes!

make a delightful aperitif out by the pool one evening.

At South Pointe Gallery We sampled wine made in Ohio “for personal consumption”, It is a hobby and yet here  she was, pouring away at the festival. They will be making grappa, too, which I would love to try. We stopped in Archeo gallery, largely to ogle the handmade rugs, and ran into someone we know from the dog park.  We ended our stroll at Cork and Stogie, which is always a blast. I just could not make it the one extra block to Southernmost, as we had a wine dinner at The Flaminbg Buoy to attend. More on the dinner on Monday.

Kudos to all who worked so hard on once again pulling off the mist fun event is Key West.


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