NOT SO FAST: NANCY BEAN

A quick chat with Wine Fest Executive Director Nancy Bean.

N MAGAZINE: You and Mark Goldweitz had big shoes to fill when you took over the Wine Festival from Denis Toner. How have you two put your own spin on the festival?
BEAN: Well there were big shoes to fill for sure! Denis had a vision for the festival — where it would go, how it would grow. He cultivated excellence driven by the winemakers and wineries and complemented by amazing chefs and world class food. We have worked to keep this high caliber and continue to grow the culinary program. Our goal has been to become a true wine and food festival, keeping the excellence in the wine experience and celebrating the culinary arts. We have continued Denis’ vision. After twenty years as the Nantucket Wine Festival, we are now officially “Nantucket Wine & Food.”

N MAGAZINE: What are some special events that festival-goers should be aware of this year?
BEAN: We have introduced music into lots of our programing. One of our events is “Rock ‘n’ Rhone,” which compares the power and depth of the wines of the Rhone to rock ‘n’ roll. Another is “Can you Hear your Wine?” which is hosted at the Nantucket Music Center and pairs different wine varietals with classical music. We have been introducing more music each year. It goes hand in hand with our events and our audience.

N MAGAZINE: The Wine Festival isn’t just about indulging. Tell us a little bit about the philanthropic arm of the festival and how it impacts the Nantucket community.
BEAN: The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival Charitable Foundation is our charitable arm. We support lots of island organizations, with a focus on island youth. We have committed to helping build and enhance the Culinary Arts Program with chef mentorship and the annual Junior Top Chef Competition each year during the festival. Our vision is to work with the high school to build on this to include courses in hospitality. With this vocation, students will be encouraged to work in the industry that is vital to the island. We also regularly support fundraisers, auctions and island events. All of our charitable giving is now focused on the island.

N MAGAZINE: What’s the biggest misconception you’ve come across when it comes to the outside perception of the Wine Festival?
BEAN: The biggest misconception is that all of the festival events are very expensive. There are over sixty events. Some of the events are high priced, because they feature valuable wines and top chefs — the content and production is costly. But there are also outstanding events that have have low ticket prices and include amazing food and wine. There is a wide range of events and a wide range of ticket pricing.

N MAGAZINE: Approximately how many miles of travel do you log each year enlisting new wineries and vintners for the festival?
BEAN: My husband would say two million. I’d guess between 25,000 to 30,000 miles a year.

N MAGAZINE: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
BEAN: I have been coming to Nantucket since I was five years old, and it is my favorite place in the world. The fact that I have combined my love of the island with my love of food and wine and event production is a dream.