WineFest 2023: Forrest Grape


My Mama always said, ‘WineFest was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” 

For two decades, Tampa Theatre’s signature fundraiser WineFest has shown up for some of the most important moments in cinematic history with themes like How the West was Wine, The Vineyard of Oz, Rebel Without a Cork and last year’s The Grapest Showman. But my Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on, so this year, WineFest celebrates its 20th anniversary with Forrest Grape – presented by SouthEast Personnel Leasing – on March 10 and 11, PLUS a special screening of the six-time Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump on March 7.

  • WineFest and movies goes together like peas and carrots. On Tuesday, March 7, RUN! to Tampa Theatre for your opportunity to see the 1994 Tom Hanks hit Forrest Gump on the big screen again at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for Theatre Members. 2h 22m / PG-13 / Drama / 1994

  • On Friday, March 10, a two-tiered Wine Tasting invites you to taste dozens of boutique wines and sample favorite fare from Tampa’s top independent restaurants like The Battery, Bavaro’s, Butters Burgers, The C House, Cru Cellars, Oxford Exchange from 7-10pm. You’ll also have the opportunity to bid on premium silent auction items representing Bay area retailers, restaurants, services and attractions.
    • The Premium Tasting starts at 7:00pm and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. Tickets are $125 ($115 for Tampa Theatre Members)
    • Grand Tasting ticket holders gain entry at 8:00pm, and tickets are $95
      ($85 for Members)

Participating Restaurants and Wineries include:


  • On Saturday, March 11, the Theatre’s historic stage will be expanded to seat more than 275 for the elegant Wine Pairing – presented by Quality Carriers Inc. – from 7-11pm. The multi-course menu, created through a collaboration between Mise en Place and Metropolitan Ministries’ Culinary and Hospitality teams, will feature delectable small plates expertly paired with exquisite wines. The live auction includes once-in-a-lifetime trips, exclusive experiences, and a high-stakes Wine Pull. Tickets are $400 for individuals and $750 for a pair. Limited table sponsorships for parties of 10 guests are available by contacting Devin Dominguez at devin@tampatheatre.org

And though the theme may make you wonder if stupid is as stupid does, WineFest’s purpose is quite clever: as the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, WineFest has raised more than $1.4 million over the past 20 years to support Tampa Theatre’s artistic, educational and community programming, as well as the ongoing preservation of the landmark building.

I’m not a smart woman… but I know what love is,” says event chair Anne Cordell, “and I love Tampa Theatre,” noting that while the nonprofit Theatre is close to pre-pandemic levels in terms of show times and events, its recovery from a year of COVID closure is not yet complete. “Anyway, like I was sayin’,” she continues, ”Tampa Theatre is the fruit of the city. You can visit it, protect it, donate to it, volunteer at it. There’s, uh, Tampa Theatre movies, Tampa Theatre live shows, Tampa Theatre tours, Tampa Theatre summer camp, Tampa Theatre school shows, Tampa Theatre classics. There’s Tampa Theatre Hollywood Awards Night, Tampa Theatre BeerFest, Tampa Theatre WineFest. Tampa Theatre’s second screen, Tampa Theatre’s 100th Birthday in 2026. That… that’s about it.”

WineFest guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite character or come in a Gump-inspired costume. The Wine Tasting and Pairing events are restricted to those 21 and older.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Nov. 15, for Tampa Theatre Members and on Friday, Nov. 18 for the general public at the historic Franklin Street Box Office and online.

WineFest succeeds because of Our Generous Sponsors!

WineFest 2023: Forrest Grape is presented by SouthEast Personnel Leasing.

The Wine Pairing is presented by Quality Carriers Inc.

Additional support is provided by Bank of America, Brown & Brown, Frank and Amy, John Wolfe Sports Facilities – Patricia Wolfe, CPA LLC, Elizabeth & Chuck Harris, eNox Media, Oxford Exchange, Phelps Dunbar LLP, Sabal Trust, Stephanie and Rhett Simpson, TECO Energy, The Bank of Tampa, Visit Tampa Bay, Franklin Templeton Investments, Creative Contractors, Prida, Guida & Perez, P.A., Quarles & Brady LLP, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Bailey Family Foundation, DLR Group, Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A., Hill Ward Henderson, PAR, Inc., and Power Design, Inc.