The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) returns next month for its 30th year, comprised of a wide range of events including wine pairing dinners, tastings, excursions, and more. After a few years of mostly virtual experiences, the in-person event kicks off at New Orleans’s new Four Seasons Hotel on June 7 and closes nearly a week later on June 12. It’s one of the fancier festivals to take place in New Orleans, but those ticket prices are for a good cause — the festival has raised more than $1.5 million for local nonprofit culinary education organizations over the last three decades.
Throughout the week, NOWFE will host wine and food seminars and other educational hands-on experiences in addition to dinners and tastings, but this guide is devoted to the good stuff: food and drink events. For a full schedule of NOWFE events, see here.
Here’s everything you need to know about New Orleans’s ritziest food event.
Ella Brennan Award Gala
Tuesday, June 7
This year, the recipient of the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is a local hero indeed: chef and owner of Brigsten’s, Frank Brigsten. The gala is the first event to kick off NOWFE, held for the first time at the new Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. VIP reception at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $150 a pop and available here.
Wednesday, June 8
A slew of wine dinners kick off NOWFE feasting on Wednesday, June 8, at New Orleans staples like Broussard’s and August as well as newer restaurants like Saint John and Palm & Pine. So far only Ralph’s On The Park’s dinner is sold out; the full list of dinners and menus can be found here, with tickets ranging in price from $100-$225 per person, though most hover around $150. We’ve picked out a few standout menus below.
Boucherie Featuring Division Wine Co.
Boucherie’s menu includes enticing dishes like poached cobia, tambale de ratatouille, and sourdough tartine. $150 inclusive of tax and gratuity; see here for reservations.
Café Reconcile Featuring Olé Orleans Wines and Spirits
Menu TBD, but with chef Martha Wiggins leading the kitchen, it’s sure to be a mix of refined New Orleans classics with some modern twists. Call for reservations.
Copper Vine Featuring La Crema
Expect to see an impressive slate here, including scallop crudo and fresh coconut with green tomato dabu dabu; soft shell crab and masa gnocchi; and duck breast with stone fruit. Copper Vine’s dinner is $125 inclusive of tax and service; click here for reservations.
Palm and Pine Featuring Second Line Wines
The winemaker from Second Line Wines will be a part of Palm and Pine’s dinner, which is a rarity. The menu features shrimp and crab aguachile; grilled rib tips with chow chow; and cornbread stuffed quail. Tickets are $160 per person inclusive of tax and gratuity; click here for reservations.
Saint John Featuring Niner Wine Estates
Saint John’s wine dinner is a good opportunity to try Eric Cook’s new French Quarter restaurant, specializing in luxurious versions of classic Creole dishes. Tickets are $100 for the main dining room and $120 for the chef’s counter, tax and gratuity not included; click here for reservations.
Thursday, June 9
The Vinola tasting, this year at the Four Seasons, has not yet sold out, but it most likely will, as it always does. Why? Wine enthusiasts get to rub elbows with notable winemakers and sample rare and highly-coveted wines, all while experiencing a dozen of city’s best restaurants and dessert purveyors. The event is in the afternoon, 2 to 4:30 p.m., and tickets are $200 per person.
Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11
NOWFE’s main attractions are the grand tastings — and they are pretty grand indeed. Tastings take place Friday and Saturday at the Sugar Mill in the Warehouse District. Dozens of New Orleans’s finest chefs will sling dishes, paired with hundreds of vintages. A ticket to attend both tastings, which take place Friday, June 10 and 6 p.m. and Saturday, June 11 and 2 p.m. go for $215; while daily tickets are $129.
Tournament of Rosés
Saturday, June 11
Head downtown to the pedestrian area of Fulton Street to taste your way through a bunch of rosés from all over the globe, then cast a vote for your favorite. Bonfire Catering is pairing bites with the wines. It’s from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., tickets are $75 a pop.
Burlesque Brunch/Queens and Cocktails
Sunday, June 12
NOWFE closes out with two Sunday events at the Omni Royal in the French Quarter, both of which feature burlesque performances by Trixie Minx. Burlesque, Bubbly & Brunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is basically what it sounds like (seats are $75 and include a plated meal and bottomless sparkling wine, and later that afternoon Minx and friends will put on a full-blown drag performance paired with endless cocktails).