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Tickets on sale for annual Wines in the Wild

By Staff | Oct 8, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will host its 12th annual Wines in the Wild on Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bailey Homestead Preserve on Sanibel.

An upcoming fundraiser will feature great food, wine and company – all for a great cause.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will host its 12th annual Wines in the Wild on Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bailey Homestead Preserve on Sanibel. The event will entail dish samplings from five island kitchens – paired with specially-selected wines – a dessert buffet and live auction.

Linda Uhler co-founded the fundraiser over a decade ago with her husband, Tom.

“We wanted a fun event, and wine tastings were becoming very popular at the time,” she said, explaining that it also serves as a great way to welcome people back to the islands for the season.

Proceeds from the evening support the SCCF programs.

Bank of the Islands is serving as this year’s presenting sponsor.

For the event, five stations will be set up around the preserve. Each one will showcase one of the participating kitchens – whether a local restaurant or chef – along with their savory sample.

“We ask each one of them to pick something that highlights their menu,” Uhler said, adding that it could be a favorite dish for customers or a new item they are trying out for the coming season.

Catering by Leslie Adams, Cielo, Malia Island Fusion Cuisine, the Sanibel Catering Company by Bailey’s and Sweet Melissa’s Caf have all returned from the 2018 event to take part again. New this year, Norman Love Confections will serve a scrumptious dessert buffet at the end of the evening.

“Everybody loves desserts, and he and his team make excellent desserts,” she said, noting that the company has a store nearby on McGregor Boulevard. “So, we’re bringing him to the islands.”

At each station, attendees also will receive a wine sample from Bailey’s General Store.

“We will work with Bailey’s to find one complementary wine,” Uhler said, adding that the drink samplings typically include reds and whites, depending on the food. “One wine per kitchen.”

When selecting the wines for the event, they aim for value in each bottle.

“Not cheap, but good quality for the money,” she said.

Non-alcoholic drinks will be available.

The evening also is a chance to see friends and explore the preserve’s grounds and features.

“People get to move from station to station,” Uhler said. “People seem to like the socialization.”

And organizers work to set the right mood with fairy lights and the dcor.

“People describe it as magical,” she said of the event.

The evening will end under the pavilion with the live auction.

Uhler reported that there are typically 10 to 12 items up for bid and they will definitely include experiences again, such as SCCF Chief Executive Officer Ryan Orgera cooking up dinner.

“We auctioned off his skills as a chef last year,” she said.

Others ones have included being a marine scientist for the day and going out on the SCCF’s R/V Norma Campbell, a boating excursion to SCCF property on Upper Captiva and cocktail party at the preserve.

“The experiences will be one-of-a-kind,” Uhler said.

Details will be released closer to the event.

“Island festive” attire is encouraged.

Valet parking will be provided.

Tickets are $125 per person; they likely will not be available at the door.

“We’re hoping to sell out again,” she said.

The community is invited to get tickets before they are gone.

“It’s got all the ingredients – good food, good wine and people have a chance to mix and mingle,” Uhler said. “It will be a special evening in a special place on Sanibel.”

For reservations, call Linda Uhler at 239-472-3817.

The Bailey Homestead Preserve is at 1300 Periwinkle Way.