Rewinding Moments & Memories As 2020 Festival Is Canceled
Many places have a kind of anchor event that defines a particular time of year or the season.
In Munich, Oktoberfest means the fall October fall harvest season has arrived. In San Francisco, the imminent arrival of summer is signaled with the wild and crazy Bay to Breakers event.
And in San Diego, locals know the holiday season is about to arrive when the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival takes place. A series of events the week before Thanksgiving and lasting for six days and nights, it involves meals with chefs and intimate pairings of wine and food samples leading up to two grand events, Fridays night’s SommCon wine tasting and Saturday’s Grand Tasting on the North Embarcadero.
The latter is one of the most sought-after events of the San Diego social calendar.
Unfortunately, this year’s event has been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. Fortunately, PubClub.com provides this party events flashback.
Intimate Food & Drinks Pairings
These weekday events are small gatherings – sometimes with just a dozen people in a small room – featuring a chef, wine experts or a mixologist making appetizer-portioned dishes paired with wine or a cocktail. Lasting for about an hour they let people really get up and close with the pros while enjoying excellent food and drinks. There are generally three or four different plates and drinks.
I attended some of the Belgian beer pairing events and left quite satisfied.
SommCon Wine Tasting Event
Every grand event needs some type of grand warm-up and this is it at the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. Held in a ballroom of the Marriott Marquis, it is a room filled with rows of wines, champagne and even beer and spirits.
Past years have seen the event move around to various San Diego locations, such as the Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park and on board a Hornblower ship. That was PubClub’s all-time favorite, for it was on three different decks and really inspired mingling and conversation, a highlight of attending the SommCom.
The Grand Tasting
This is, without question, the highlight event of the festival, so much so that you had better get your tickets the second they go on sale. Outside and along the waterfront, it’s a spectacular happening at a spectacular location. For three hours on a Saturday afternoon – four if you’re VIP – you booth-hop to sample fine wines, eat food from San Diego’s top restaurants and enjoy spirits, often at creative stations.
Last year there was a replica of a summer camp complete with “camp counselors” handing out whistles. The previous year, you walked into an orange port-o-let – hang with me here – and into a “jungle” complete with a photo-op gorilla cage to get shots of Monkey Shoulder whiskey.
Girls in beautiful sun dresses and well-dressed gentlemen make up the crowd in a scene that’s like a mini Del Mar Opening Day.