Metro Weekly

Isabella, Voltaggio and other top chefs to headline National Harbor festival


It will be a who’s who of celebrity chefs at the 7th Annual National Harbor Wine & Food Festival on Sat., May 3 and Sun, May 4. Last year’s festival attracted more than 40,000 attendees.

The festival will host chefs Mike Isabella (Graffiato and Kapnos), Rahman “Rock” Harper (Season 3 winner of the reality television series “Hell’s Kitchen”), Bryan Voltaggio (Volt and Range), Scott Drewno (The Source), Victor Albisu (Del Campo and Taco Bambo) and Mike Schlow (Via Matta and Alta Strada). Each of these local, regional and nationally recognized chefs will participate in meet and greets and cooking demonstrations.

NationalHarborWF_2-thumb-250x388-6341In addition to the amazing lineup of chefs, this year’s festival will include more than 150 wines, spirits and beers from across the region and around the world. Guests will be able to sample all of the varieties as well as purchase them by the glass and the bottle, at special discounted event prices. There will also be three stages of live music.

A taping of the radio show Foodie and Beast with hosts Nycci and David Nellis will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 1. During the taping, guests will be included in a blind wine tasting with several of the area’s best wine experts. The show will air on Sunday, May 2 at 11:00 a.m. on Federal News Radio.

A general admission one-day pass for the festival is $39 when purchased in advance or $49 onsite. There are also special VIP tickets available. The festival will be held from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. each day, with early access to VIP ticket holders.

A number of limited attendance wine and food events are also being held in conjunction with the festival. From 2 to 3 p.m. on Sat., May 3, festival founder Greg Nivens and winemaker Laura Sorge will host a special welcome reception. Nivens will also lead a vertical tasting of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignons from 4 to 5 p.m.. Tickets for the reception are $9.99, and tickets for the tasting are $29.

The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center’s annual wine dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant, Old Hickory Steakhouse, will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2. Attendees will enjoy a five-course meal paired with local Virginia wines from Barboursville Vineyards. The dinner costs $125 per person.

A “Wine and Cheese by Sunset” event will also be held at the Gaylord’s Pose Rooftop Lounge from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sat., May 3. New World wines paired with gourmet cheeses will accompany views of the Potomac River and surrounding region from the resort’s 18th floor. The event costs $25 per person.

To purchase tickets for the festival and related events, visit or call (800) 830-3976.

For festival attendees that wish to stay at the Gaylord, its is offering two overnight packages for Saturday, May 3 that include one- or two-day access to the event.

Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at