Written By: Robert Cocuzzo

What a wonderful time to be on island. Once again, the Nantucket Wine Festival is upon us and is toasting twenty delicious years. Over the last two decades, Denis Toner’s vision of an event celebrating food and wine on Nantucket has grown into a world-class cultural extravaganza that draws the most discerning connoisseurs to our shores. Now under the direction of Mark Goldweitz and Nancy Bean, the Nantucket Wine Festival continues to be a beloved event for all walks of Nantucketers. But don’t take our word for it… hear it from them.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“The Wine Festival certainly brings a great deal of visitors to the island who like to eat, shop, play and sleep, which helps most of my members. When people are not at the seminars or at the various events at the festival, they’re frequenting the establishments, particularly downtown. To have that kind of focus on different passions and interests, it’s just another way to encourage people to visit Nantucket.”

Janet Schulte, Executive Director of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“It’s the kick off to the spring restaurant season and a great opportunity for the restaurant community to get together to showcase what they’re cooking, and pair that with some of the great wines that are exhibited at the festival. The festival let’s people have a little taste of what they can expect at some of these fine dining restaurants…the quality, the variety, the locally sourced produce, and some of the other things we do around here.”

John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Farm

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“Year after year, the Nantucket Wine Festival continues to bring together some of the best wines from around the world as well as great chefs from around the country that we – who live here – would otherwise have to spend hundreds or thousands to experience. The Gala and Sunday Grand Tasting are still attended primarily by islanders and summer restaurant staff, and signal the reawakening of the extraordinary island summer culinary season.”

Gene Mahon, Editor-in-Chief of Mahon About Town

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“In twenty years, the Wine Festival has been a wonderful boost to our economy, especially before Memorial Day.”

David Sharpe, Nantucket Visitors Services

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“For us as restaurateurs, we get to meet winemakers that we would have to travel to meet. We get to make nice connections. We have an opportunity to taste wines that we might not otherwise be able to taste. I think it’s positive. The Wine Festival, Restaurant Week, and any of those events that increase business in weeks and on weekends where there’s not a lot going on is great for our hospitality industry on Nantucket — for the restaurants, for the hotels, for the inns. They promote Nantucket in a positive light.”

Orla Murphy LaScola, Owner of The Proprietors Bar & Table

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“I have participated at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Los Angeles Food & Wine, and several well-attended boutique festivals and events around the country. The Nantucket Wine Festival is unique due to its setting, the caliber of the wineries and chefs attending, and of course the attendees who are passionate wine enthusiasts. The Great Wines in Grand Houses program, which we have hosted for eight years running, is an especially unique and enjoyable offering at the festival.”

Tyler Olbres, Nantucket summer resident & Nantucket Wine Festival luminary

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.51.29 PM“The Nantucket Wine Festival was how I ended up moving to Nantucket. I volunteered at the festival for four years, and that was the only time I would come to Nantucket. Now as a business owner on Nantucket, I will say that financially it’s great to get that pre-season push and bump. People come and spend money at the restaurants, at the retail shops, and rentals. It’s a different crowd than what you get at Memorial Day. Most people end up coming back because Nantucket has our arms open wide and we’re just hospitable to these people coming.”

Jenny Benzie, Owner of Épernay Wine & Spirits

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