Tampa Theatre hosts WineFest fundraiser 'Planet of the Grapes'

TAMPA - It's time again for the annual movie-themed Tampa Theatre WineFest fundraiser.

The 2012 theme is "Planet of the Grapes" - a weekend-long affair between September 21-23.

Proceeds benefit Tampa Theatre's artistic and educational programs, as well as its ongoing restoration.

At the Wine Tasting on Saturday, September 22, guests will have the opportunity to sample more than 40 boutique wines and bid on premium silent auction items, while 10 of Tampa's most famous and flavorsome independent restaurants will be serving up their favorite fare - all against the backdrop of the 1968 Sci-Fi classic film Planet of the Apes.

Tasting restaurants include local favorites Aqua, Bern's Steak House, Donatello, Irish 31, Michael's 717 South, Pizzaiolo Bavaro, Second Line Café, Viktoria Richards Chocolates and Zen Bistro. Wineries include Alias Wines, Buried Cane Wines, Cadaretta Winery, Clayhouse Wines, Lobetia Organic Wines, Martin Ray Winery, Mettler Family Vineyards, Opici Wines and Waterbrook.

The Premium Tasting from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. features exclusive wines for a limited audience. Tickets are $85 in advance and include admission to the Grand Tasting.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. are $50 in advance.

The WineFest wraps up with the Sunday Wine Brunch, sponsored by The Bank of Tampa, on Sunday, September 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Theatre. The catered menu will pair a lavish breakfast with "morning after" mimosas and a selection of light wines. Participation will be limited to 150, and tickets are $40. Brunch restaurants will include Gaspar's Grotto and La Segunda Central Bakery. Wineries include Bodega Castano, Bodegas Mustiguillo, Cantine Umberto Bortolotti, Domaine Sainte Eugenie, King Estate Winery, Milbrandt Vineyards and Vina Montes.

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