Tri-State Defender: Vintage901 Festival 2019 - the journey continues


The Vintage901 Festival is envisioned as a feast for the eyes and the palate, attracting modern-day Epicureans to a three-day celebration, featuring all things Memphis – food, wines and music.

The third-annual event is Friday through Sunday (March 1-3). Tickets for the Grand Tasting event at the Crosstown Concourse and the culminating Sparkling Brunch at the FedEx Center in Shelby Farms are available at Three-day weekend passes already are gone. The Friday evening Perfect Pairings Dinner at The Great Canary downtown is also sold out.

The Saturday Grand Tasting event at the Crosstown Concourse will feature more than 100 Tennessee wines.

This year’s Vintage901 Festival is expected to produce more moments such as this. (Courtesy photo)

As the third festival looms, Vintage901 has been woven into the regional fabric of popular festivals all over the southeast. This year’s event will benefit The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Curator Stephanie Ferreira drives the quality of the experience.

“I would say that I spent 10 years just going to festivals all over the country,” said Ferreira. “My husband and I flew all over – Napa Valley or Mendocino in California. We would talk about creating the wine festival experience in Memphis – if we could do it. For years, we just traveled and researched the prospect. It was our dream.”

Her husband was in the airline industry. Every weekend was an excursion away from home, and sometimes, to exotic destinations. And then, the unthinkable happened. He passed away suddenly in 2013, stunning Ferreira into a reflexive year of grieving with very little movement. She thought, perhaps, their festival dream had died with him.

But once again, the thought of a wonderful wine festival in Memphis assailed her and a new vision took hold. She pulled together a crackerjack team that made itself familiar with a mostly unsung wine trail across the state.

In 2017, the inaugural spring fest rolled out to highly-favorable reviews and it took a major growth leap last year at the second event.

Ferreira’s involvement in the festival reflects her personal evolution. Her mother and father were educators, who both left their teaching careers to pursue successful businesses. Her grandparents were educators and free thinkers as well.

Stephanie Ferreira with Vintage901’s Grand Sommelier Laurie Forster during last year’s Perfect Pairings dinner. (Photo: Vintage901)

Ferreira was a social worker earlier in her career. When her mother asked Ferreira to become a partner in a florist business, she did.

“I was beginning to show signs of burnout,” said Ferreira. “Social work can be highly rewarding, but the toll it takes on a person emotionally is a very high price to pay. You can only do it for so many years before burnout overtakes you. So, I felt the time was right to go into business with my mother.

“Then came the festival, and I am now in my element,” she said. “I think my husband would be proud of me. At least, I hope so.”

Source: Tri-State Defender

Kristen Waddell