The 6th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival is shaping up to be one of the most exclusive wine and food festivals on the East Coast, featuring a special guest appearance by chef, television personality and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich on Sunday, September 25. Following her unique Jazz Brunch at the Hotel Viking, Bastianich will appear for a book signing at Sunday's Grand Tasting at Marble House.

"I am very proud to have been asked to be a guest at this great event," said Chef Bastianich. "In Italy, we know the meaning of heritage and preserving history. Newport is such a beautiful place, so to have good food and wine is a great way to expose to the world the beauty of this wonderful destination's architecture, history and local food, and expose the area to wines from all over the world."

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival has quickly become one of the most anticipated food and wine events in the country. In addition to Lidia Bastianich, there will be appearances and seminars led by industry experts including Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor of FOOD & WINE, Mark Oldman, of the PBS television series The Winemakers and author of Oldman's Brave New World of Wine, and noted wine connoisseur Alain Junguenet of Wines of France, Inc.

The weekend's festivities will begin on Friday, September 23, with the Wine & Rosecliff Gala, where guests will enjoy special vintages uncorked exclusively for the evening, with delicious food pairings. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25, an all-inclusive Grand Tasting at Marble House will entertain with more than 100 wineries and restaurants from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A single admission price includes samplings of wines from around the world, small plate tastings of exciting dishes from regional restaurants and caterers, cooking demonstrations by our guest chefs, a souvenir glass, tote bag, and free parking and shuttle transportation to/from Marble House.

Among the world-class wines, the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival also features a great line-up of chefs offering free cooking demonstrations in the Celebrity Chef Cooking Pavilion during the Grand Tasting. Saturday's schedule includes Kyle Ketchum from Windward Restaurant at the Hyatt, Newport; Eric Haugen from Ocean House, Watch Hill, RI; Karsten Hart from Castle Hill Inn & Resort, Newport; and Roseann Tully from Roseann Tully's Intermezzo. The action continues on Sunday with Kevin Gaudreau from The Pier Restaurant, Newport; Dan Enos from The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Boston; Neil Manacle from Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen, Newport; and Dave Johnson from Local 121, Providence.

In addition, the Grand Tasting will feature the Infiniti Inspiration Lounge where guests will experience the latest Infiniti models, taste sparkling wine courtesy of Banfi Vintners, and enjoy foods from the area's top restaurants paired with the finest vintages. On Saturday, guests will sample the latest creations by Chef Neil Manacle of Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen, with wines provided by Robert Oatley Vineyards, and on Sunday, guests will enjoy taste sensations from Chef Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames with wines provided by World Wide Wine Importing. Guests will also be able to wind down their day at the Festival with a fine assortment of coffees courtesy of Barista Prima.

Meanwhile, special wine seminars will satisfy the palates of both the tasting novice and the more seasoned oenophile with discussions on the finer points of wine tasting, pairing and buying. The Hotel Viking will play host to this series of hour-long seminars, to be held Friday and Saturday, September 23 & 24, 2011.

Featured seminars include:
• Perusing the Peninsula presented by the Italian Trade Commission and La Cucina Italia- Complete your Italian lifestyle experience by sampling a stellar selection of Italian wines hailing from snow-capped and sun-kissed regions of Italy.
• Drink Bravely with Mark Oldman - Oldman will lead a tutorial on quality wine selection for the cost-conscious, focusing on wines of moderate price and maximum appeal.
• "Dix Vins": Navigating French Wine with Alain & John Junguenet - The Junguenets, the renowned father and son wine expert duo, will guide guests on a tasting journey of 10 unique and little-known French wines.
• How It Works- The Art of Bordeaux Blending with Justin Baldwin of JUSTIN Vineyards- Justin's eponymous vineyard in Paso Robles, California famously produced the critically-acclaimed ISOSCELES wine. Seminar guests will taste the 2008 ISOSCELES, and learn how to blend Bordeaux varietals to create a world-class wine. Attendees will even create their own blend from barrel samplings of JUSTIN's 2010 harvest.
• Everything You Need to Know About Wine with Ray Isle-Ray will lead you on an introductory exploration of the world of wine, tasting and comparing 8 wines, learning how to taste like a wine pro, tips about food & wine pairing, and how to differentiate grape varieties.
Tickets to the 6th annual Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival are on sale now, and may be purchased at www.NewportMansionsWine or by calling 401.847.1000.

All proceeds from the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival benefit The Preservation Society of Newport County, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Association of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area's historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its' 11 historic properties-seven of them National Historic Landmarks-span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development

The Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival is sponsored by FOOD & WINE, as well as the Italian Trade Commission, National Trust Insurance Services LLC, Infiniti, Dave's Marketplace, Roseanne Tully's Intermezzo, Clarke Luxury Showrooms, Alaska Seafood, Stella Artois, Alex and Ani, Dasani, Travelocity, Barista Prima, DelGrosso Foods, Audio Concepts, Yankee Publishing, Inc., Hyatt Regency Newport, and Hotel Viking Newport.