Calling all foodies and wine enthusiasts! The 27th annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) is Wednesday, April 3 to Sunday, April 7, with all kinds of wine and food-centric events from tastings and seminars to wine dinners and after-parties. Each year, NOWFE donates its proceeds to local non-profit organizations. This year, proceeds will benefit the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) and Café Reconcile, so you can feel good about indulging. NOWFE is jam-packed with delicious events. A ticket package may simplify things, but you can also purchase à la carte tickets to the events that are calling your name. Overwhelmed by too many great options? Our insider’s guide is here to help.
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Insider’s Guide
Carefully curated wine dinners kick off this long weekend of indulgence on Wednesday, April 3. These dinners pair some of New Orleans’ top restaurants with a wine partner to create the perfect pairing menu. Tickets typically range from $100 to $200 per person – they sell out quickly so grab your reservation ASAP.
Cochon de Lait
A time-honored Louisiana tradition, a cochon de lait is an event surrounding the roasting of a pig plus the feast and celebration that inevitably follows. On Thursday, April 4, NOWFE is hosting its very own cochon de lait at Central City BBQ. The festivities will feature a whole hog from Boucherie, sides from Central City BBQ, and music from Lost Bayou Ramblers. Culinary historian, Dr. Howard Conyers will describe the history behind it all. Tickets are $50.
Vinola! Wine Tasting
This tasting, which happens on Friday, April 5 at 2 p.m., is for the real wine connoisseurs among us. The Vinola! Wine Tasting allows participants to sample wine with retail values of at least $75 per bottle, presented by the winemakers themselves. You’ll also get to sample some gourmet bites with all your sips! Get your tickets ASAP if you’re interested – this event sells out every year. Tickets are $200.
Royal Street Stroll
If you do nothing else the whole weekend, you’re going to want to make the Royal Street Stroll. It’s probably the most visible and best known event at NOWFE, rolling on Thursday, April 4 from 5:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m. on the 300-800 blocks of Royal Street. The stroll is really a parade of sorts, led by the Krewe of Cork, so wine-themed costumes are encouraged but not required. In addition to sampling featured wine and food along the route (you’ll get a special 2019 wine glass for the tastings), you’ll also be strolling down one of the most beautiful streets in the city. Make sure to check out all the rare antiques and art galleries along Royal Street while you stroll. General admission is $109. If you want to spring for a VIP ticket, you’ll have access 30 minutes early, and you’ll be able to relax in one of the two VIP lounges with special wine and food available. VIP tickets are $175.
Do Something Crazy
From April 5 to 7, NOWFE has put together some experiences to help participants get out and see the style and culture of New Orleans or learn a new skill. You can take a dumpling master class with Chef Hao Gong of LUVI Restaurant, hop on a party bus to check out the wine bars all over town, or participate in the “Tournament of Rosés” at Harrah’s Casino. Tickets range from $35 to $175.
NOWFE’s seminars run on Friday and Saturday and give participants the opportunity to learn from local chefs and international wine makers. Learn about pairing oysters, women in wine, or why glassware matters. Of course, every seminar features food and wine samples. We wouldn’t have it any other way! Ticket prices range from $75 to $175.
Grand Tastings: Friday and Saturday
NOWFE hosts not one, but two, Grand Tastings. Both will be held at the Sugar Mill and will feature 1,000 different international wines and food pairings by more than 75 New Orleans chefs. This will appeal to everyone in your group – whether they are wine connoisseurs or just there to enjoy the revelry.
The Friday Grand Tasting is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the Saturday Grand Tasting is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. General Admission tickets are $129 and VIP tickets are $195. VIP tickets get you early access to the tasting, plus you can relax in the VIP lounge with special wine, bubbly, cocktails, and food.
Saturday Grand Tasting After Party!
When Saturday’s Grand Tasting is over, you’re going to want to keep partying, so head over to Vintage Rock Club for the official after-party from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for desserts and drinks with a view of your favorite bands from the late 60s all the way to the early 90s. Tickets are $15.
A Spicy New Orleans Brunch
After a weekend full of (classy) boozing, you’re definitely going to need some hair of the dog. On Sunday, April 7, brunch is brought to you by Tabasco. At this event, local chefs will put their best brunch dish forward, which must include a little dash of Tabasco. The event takes place at NOCHI (New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute, a NOWFE 2019 beneficiary) and is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $60. At the end of the day, it’s all for a good cause, ya’ll.