A Spectacular Scene Makes This An Annual ‘Must Do’ Social Occassion
Take notice of the name. It’s the San Diego Wine & Food Festival, not the other way around.
Wine before dine.
That in itself says a lot about this annual event, which is annually held the third weekend of November in this scenic and super-friendly California city.
It is one of the largest such events in Southern California (and there are a lot of these events in Southern California) and, when you factor in the quality of the food and drinks, the location and particularly the crowd, a solid argument could be made that it’s the best event of its kind in the entire Golden State.
The 2022 event dates are Nov. 8-13, and as that suggests, it’s a multi-day (and multi-night) happening, full of food and wine tastings, classes, pairing dinners and demonstrations.
Without question, the two premier events are Friday night’s tasting at the Marriott and Saturday’s grand event called, appropriately enough, the Grand Tasting.
Friday’s event features nearly 100 wines, plus Belgian beers and a few special surprises; there always seems to be some type of small-batch distillery pouring bourbon or tequila, and one year there was some sensational cheeses from Ireland (69 p.m..
The Grand Tasting (Noon-4 p.m., $185) is spectacular.
There’s simply no other way to put it.
It’s a very popular outdoor happening and some 10,000 people make this an annual part of their social calendar.
The Grand Tasting is a four-hour afternoon social mixer and consists of 150 wine, spirits and beer purveyors pouring more than 700 selections. Yes, 700.
There are also dozens of chefs making small dishes with such perfection is seems as if they are in a Food Network Iron Chef competition and you are the judge, as well as local restaurants providing food.
Overall a fairly upscale event, it is also true Southern California casual in dress and attitude, from the servers to the chefs to the patrons.
The location is in a small park that reaches out into San Diego Bay, behind the Marriott and the Marriott’s marina of sailboats. The Coronado Bridge arches in the distance. Embarcadero Park is also just about a 10-minute walk from the Gaslamp.
So that’s perfect.
You kind of wander around in your own slow-moving merry-go-round, circling around the tents time and time again, trying new wines, foods, spirits or beers you missed the previous time around the grounds.
But what really makes this such a grand event is the crowd. The people are cheerfully youthful in their look and demeanor, happy to chat with others and – let’s face it – are like a living commercial for good-looking San Diegans.
Tickets can be purchased at the event’s official website: www.sandiegowineclassic.com.