Wine FestWe’re not talking about what you think we are. The comments are about wine. They are the kind of observations you might hear tossed around at “Sanibel Uncorked” on February 23. It’s an event in honor of the noble grape and its juice. It’s hosted by Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery from noon to 2 pm and sponsored by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, with proceeds devoted to four-year college scholarships for local students.

This is the sixth year of Sanibel’s winter wine festival, and if previous years are indicators, it’s sure to be a fun and instructional afternoon of food, wine, and music. Lily & Co. Jewelry Gallery has hosted the event in past years as well.

Local wine distributors Southern Wine and Spirits and Johnson Bros. Liquor Co. will provide a variety of fine wines for tastings during the festival. Culinary samples and complementary wine pairings will be presented by Matt Asen of Timber’s Restaurant as well as other local gourmet chefs, including Karl Hamme of Bailey’s Catering and Prepared Foods Dept. and James Jones of Sweet Melissa’s.

Again this year, there will be a silent auction at Lily & Co., with more than 50 auction items donated for this year’s cause, including a special magnum of Golden Bear red wine. The wine commemorates the 50th anniversary of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’ first win, complete with his signature and a certificate of authenticity.

Optimists Club President Stan Howard reported, “We had two $6,000, four-year scholarships when we started this. Last year we grew to six.” Lily & Co. has worked with the Optimists for years to raise funds and provide a beautiful, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the festivities. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what the Optimist Club does for the community,” said Lily & Co. owner Dan Schuyler. “It’s a lot of work to put on these events. When you have groups helping each other it lessens the burden and stress.”

Lily’s is located on Tarpon Bay Road, across the road from Bailey’s General Store. It’s a convenient distance from West Wind Inn, a benefit for guests staying at Sanibel’s beach inn.

Tickets will be available at the door or by calling 472-0836. Donations of $30, (or $25 for designated drivers) are requested. Free valet parking will be available. Each guest will receive a special, commemorative etched wine glass. Tickets are available now at Bailey’s General Store, the Sanibel Cafe in Tahitian Gardens, the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, and Lily & Company.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, February 23. This may be one of the most enjoyable charity events you experience all year.