Going into its 13th year, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. For five years, from 1997-2001, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, then director of Special Events and Media Relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reigns of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the festival to life by relocating it to South Beach.
In 2013 the Festival broke three of its own records, with attendance growing to over 65,000, bringing in more than $5.1 million in ticket sales and exceeding $4.1 million in sponsorship sales. An integrated marketing and public relations program garnered over three billion media impressions and proceeds totaled $2.1 million for FIU.