A Blast By The Bay – Again
Sunshine and wine.
There was an abundance of both – as well as plenty of people to enjoy each of them – at the annual Grand Tasting, the spectacular signature event of the annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival.
On a tourism postcard day along the bay, this annual event once again proved why it is not only one of the best food & wine festivals on the West Coast but also one of the top annual events in all of San Diego County. It’s always THE place to be in San Diego on the third Saturday of November and 2019 had a lot of the familiar scenes from past events along with new “oh look, that’s cool” elements.
With the people and the way they dress, the atmosphere and supreme social scene, the Grand Tasting is November’s equivalent of Del Mar Opening Day.
More than 200 wineries – many from California but also from as far away as Israel – with than 500+ wines as well as countless restaurants of all types from around the area filled up the half-mile Embarcadero North, which is situated between the Marriott Marina and San Diego Bay. You couldn’t draw up a better location.
Plus there was beer, spirits and vendors hawking items such as kitchen towels with funny wine sayings on them. And then there was this:
• A bubble lounge. One of the tents had bubbles coming out of it and bubbles (Ruffino Prosecco) being served in it.
• A butt massage table. No kidding!
• A bourbon house. Maker’s Mark had a huge “you can’t miss it” structure that. looked as if they brought in part of the distillery from Kentucky.
• Camp Cohn. By far the most creative area was a kind of summer camp for adults. Cohn Restaurant Group created a large space along the bay with a giant open-air teepee and complete with lively “camp counselors” who greeted people with that over-the-top enthusiasm so typical of the real ones and passed out plastic whistles, which they blew like crazy.
So, too, did a lot of other people – myself included – which took the festival from fun to really fun.
Inside it served sensational mac ‘n cheese, tri tip and even s’mores (get it, camp food) from three of its restaurants. There were also margaritas with various toppings you could put on the rim and rice wine whiskey.
It was the best Grand Tasting creation since Monkey Shoulder whiskey created a jungle inside a giant port-o-let a couple of years ago.
And that’s the thing about the Grand Tasting. There’s always something new and creative each year. You never know what to expect and it’s those surprises that help make this such a great event.
Personally, I was a little “wined out” after the previous evening’s Grand Decant, so I focused mainly on beer. Having found an adorable blonde named Victoria pouring blonde Guinness, that was not a problem. I camped out there as much as I did at Camp Cohn.
PubClub.com loves events with a great crowd and in this area the Grand Tasting again excelled. Beyond the usual couples and serious wine and food lovers, half the people were fun-loving “pubclubbers,” people in their mid-20s to mid-40s who were there to soak in the social scene. Del Mar Opening Day in November, indeed.
In other words, it had a lot of lively people who liked to blow the Camp Cohn whistles.
Check out the videos from the live steaming show, PubClub LIVE!