Wine and dine, big time

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Listen up, because this is a big one. Friday night, fashionable local foodie-types will have their party shoes shined because they'll be hitting one of the stylin'-est shindigs of the season.

On that evening, with their gourmand tummies primed, the food-erati will be hanging out in one of the loveliest locations in our city - the Franklin Park Conservatory - while they celebrate the sixth-annual Grand Tasting of the Columbus Food and Wine Affair. That fantastic fete will be burning bright throughout the night (or at least from 6:30 to 10 p.m.).

It's the culmination of one of the largest wine competitions in the nation, and the names and numbers involved are staggering. Four hundred wines (you read that correctly) will be uncorked during that swanky soiree, ranging from sparkling party toasters (like Freixenet - Spanish wines in general will be highlighted) to high-ticket Napa Valley quaffs (like Far Niente).

Now whether you plan on glugging down all 400 vinos available or just sipping from some of the winners (which will be announced at the event), you're gonna need some haute cuisine to help soak up the happy juice. Can do. More than 30 of Columbus' top-shelf restaurants - like G. Michael's, the Refectory, Mitchell's Steakhouse, DeepWood and the Worthington Inn - will be catering delicious dishes for all lucky Food and Wine revelers.

While the ticket price ain't cheap for this bodacious bash ($100), some proceeds will go toward worthy local charities like United Way of Central Ohio, the James Cancer Center, Adventures for Wish Kids and the Central Ohio Restaurant Association. Personally, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5

Franklin Park Conservatory, Near East Side