Prepare for Wine & Food Week 2017, Heading to The Woodlands in June

The Grand Tasting is a highlight of Wine & Food Week, June 5-11.
The Grand Tasting is a highlight of Wine & Food Week, June 5-11. Photo courtesy of Wine & Food Week
The Grand Tasting is a highlight of Wine & Food Week, June 5-11. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WINE & FOOD WEEK
The Grand Tasting is a highlight of Wine & Food Week, June 5-11.
Photo courtesy of Wine & Food Week
Wine & Food Week 2017 returns for its 13th year of festivities in The Woodlands from June 5 to 11, and if you're wondering just what's in store this year, the Houston Press has you covered.

With more than 500 wines available for tasting from around the globe, plus 75+ guest chefs, tons of winemakers, participating restaurants and industry insiders — including celebrity chef and Emmy award winner Lidia Bastianich — in tow, this event is meant for serious oenophiles and novices alike.

Plus, it's all for a good cause. Wine & Food Week has raised more than $900,000 for local charities, with this year's proceeds benefiting The John Cooper School's Signature Author Series (which draws large keynote speakers, including Anthony Bourdain) and New Danville, a self-sustaining community for adults with disabilities.

The week includes events that range from a taco and wine-tasting steal at $20 to a totally affordable $35 wine stroll to the $275 splurge, a premium wine vault tasting. Here are the highlights:

Starry night at the grand tasting - PHOTO BY STEVEN DAVID
Starry night at the grand tasting
Photo by Steven David

Wine Walk at Market Street, June 8

This stroll down Market Street includes live music, tented tasting stations with wines from around the world, food samples, and chef demos at $35/person. But VIP entry, at $75/person, gets you in 30 minutes early with a special premium wine-tasting area, additional VIP eats from La Vaquita and chef David Cordúa, as well as a keepsake glass and a gift bag full of swag.

Sips, Suds and Tacos, June 9

Attendees will sample wine, craft beers and tacos from chefs competing for top honors during a Taco Take-Down and live music from a mariachi band. Guests get a card good for five tastings or one full beverage, though more samples will be available for purchase at $1 per drink ticket. $20 to get in. Starts at 6 p.m.

Platinum Wine Vault Ultra Premium Tasting, June 10

This exclusive tasting is sort of like the ritzy pregame for the Grand Tasting. The swanky affair features wine experts and highly acclaimed wines aimed toward discriminating collectors and enthusiasts. The $250 ticket cost includes a keepsake wine glass, access to the Platinum Wine Vault and also the following event, the Wine Rendezvous Grand Tasting and its Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands Luxury VIP Lounge, along with opportunities to mix and mingle with special guests. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Rendezvous Grand Tasting and Chef Showcase, June 10

For $125, participants will sample food from 75 chefs and restaurants, including Edwin Chanas of Hearsay on the Green, David Cordúa of Cordúa Restaurants, Samantha Mendoza of Killen's Steakhouse and more, along with 500+ wines. Sixty chefs will compete for the $5,000 cash prize and Waterford Crystal Chef of Chefs award. Pastry chefs will also compete for a Just Desserts award. Special features also include a Champagne cove, and for those willing to shell out $175, access to the Mercedes-Benz of The Woodlands VIP Premium Lounge is also included. Starts at 7 p.m.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.