The Golden Isles has long been a respite for those looking for a break from the outside world. The sun, the sand, the natural beauty all beacons — and so many answer that call.
While it’s always a good time to come to the Coast, the best occasions are those that bring together all of the elements that make the Isles so special. And few events do that as well as Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife.
The annual Jekyll Island event pairs the finest Southern cuisine with wines and spirits, as well as some of the true locals — birds, turtles and snakes — that make the island so special. This year’s event will be held from Feb. 6 to 9 and will include lectures and seminars hosted by chefs and craft brew masters and exhibitions.
On Feb. 8, the signature event W3, will offer a combination of all these, as vendors and purveyors take over the Beach Village for a full-fledged festival. Participants are able to purchase individual tickets for events or packages for the entire three-day span.
For Jan Gourley, co-founder of Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife, the fifth year of the festival is shaping up to be the best yet.
“We are very excited this year, as event ticket sales are up by 65 percent over last year — which is huge for a fifth year event. We purposely keep the festival smaller, more of a boutique event — and that’s part of its popularity,” she said.
“It’s hard to find events that offer the quality that W3 does, for the all-inclusive ticket pricing, including the unbelievable variety of wine, beer and spirits — not to mention culinary tastings some of the South’s best chefs. It’s certain that all events are on track for sell-out once again this year.”
Those sell-out funds go toward an important cause, the Jekyll Island Foundation, which works to raise awareness and preserve the character of Georgia’s Jewel. Many of the attendees are actually traveling to the area specifically for the event and, in turn, are helping to support Jekyll Island through their attendance, Gourley said.
“Fifty percent come from Jacksonville and North Florida. Then another 25 percent come from Atlanta … the remaining folks are local,” she said. “While we do have a lot of day-trippers from out of town, we are also seeing the hotels sell-out too which, of course, was the goal of the event.”
Visit www.whiskeywineandwildlife.com for more information on events, W3 Weekend Getaway Packages and fun volunteer opportunities to get involved behind the scenes of the festival. See a schedule of events and talent (subject to change) for the event below:
• “W3 Wine Dinner and Launch Party”, 6:30 p.m., The Reserve, The Westin Jekyll Island, with celebrity guest chef, Whitney Otawka. Tickets include a signed copy of Otawka’s new cookbook, “The Saltwater Table.”
• “W3 Wine Cruise with Captain Phillip,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic District Wharf.
• “W3 Master Class Pours,” noon to 4 p.m. at the Westin Jekyll Island.
• “Food & Wine Pairing Dynamics”, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Westin Jekyll Island. From each ticket, $50 has been designated as a donation to the Jekyll Island Foundation.
• “Whiskey Inspired,” from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the Westin Jekyll Island’s oceanfront lawn.
• “Uncaged at The Westin,” from 10 a.m. to noon at the Westin Courtyard.
• “Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife – W3,” from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Jekyll Island Beach Village and Village Green. Attendees will receive a souvenir glass with unlimited culinary and beverage tastings.
“W3 Sunday Brunch,” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (various seating times) at the Reserve in the Westin Jekyll Island. Brunch and unlimited tastings of champagne, classic cocktails, a Bloody Mary Bar, culinary delights and more.
Source: The Brunswick News, By: Lindsey Adkison