Grand Tasting, SommCon & Blind Tasting Make For A Fun & Rewarding Weekend
The time zipped by faster than the Jet Skis skimming across the water in San Diego Bay.
At one moment, the gates to the San Diego Wine + Food Festival’s premier Grand Tasting event opened, and what seems like mere moments later, they were closing, leaving us lingering people to hurriedly finish our last sips of wine, beer or spirits.
You know the expression “time flies when your having fun,” of course. Well I was having a blast and time flew by as if I was on a rocket ship.
The three events I attended on Friday afternoon, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon left me dazzled and dazed.
The annual event, held the third week of November in a gorgeous location framed by the San Diego Marriott Marquis Marina Hotel and the bay, is a week-long series of seminars, wine tastings and food/chef pairings. I went to the Blind Tasting With The Masters, the sensational SommCon (both events were Friday at the Marriott) and Saturday’s Grand Tasting.
All were sensational and were so entertaining that it was like being in a wine lover’s dream.
The Blind Tasting was interesting. We were given seven wines and the panel of three experts would break it down after swirling it around and sniffing it, then we would try and guess the type of wine it was and where it was produced. Some people in the audience were really good at this but not necessarily me. I did know, however, that with seven glass of wine to taste, I was going to really enjoy the event and that certainly turned out to be the case.
Then it was just about a two-minute trek upstairs to SommCon – how convenient these two events were so close together – which was an all-out Friday night party. The event was buzzing with activity and my associate and I wasted no time in diving right into it.
SommCon is an outstanding preview of what will be poured the next day during the Grand Tasting in a more confined area; it’s really the prefect tune-up event to get your wine tasting palate dialed in by introducing one to some 100 wines of all varietals, including sparkling wine.
The Grand Tasting had so many booths of wine, beer, spirits and food it was impossible to get to all of them. This year there were some added attractions which took the event to an even higher level.
In the middle of it all was a white space-looking sphere, inside of which was a pop-up tasting room for Glenfiddich Scotch whiskey that was like a mini-nightclub with pumping Vegas club-style music.
I had been told beforehand to be sure and go into the orange Port-o-Let. Huh? Well, okay. When team PubClub.com found it, there was a line to get into it, about 20 deep, while no other Port-o-Lets had any wait. I also noticed four to five people were going into it at the same time. And not coming out of it.
We walked inside, parted beads on the back side of it like going into a ’70s hippie room, and emerged into a happening club-like room with pumping music. It was a jungle-themed speakeasy! There was a cage with bent bars like a gorilla had pulled them back to escape, and bartenders poring drinks from Monkey Shoulder Scotch whiskey at a bar.
Hmmm, something about those Scotch whiskeys seemed to really bring out the creativity of the marketing people at the Grand Tasting.
The rest of the event was tent after tent after tent pouring drinks and handing out food. But the real pleasure was the people – those doing the pouring, passing out the food and those who attended the event. They were all smiling, happy, laughing and having a great time.
If this is not the best wine & food festival in California – or indeed, in the entire Western U.S. – then I want to know about one that is better.
Because it would be hard to beat the San Diego Wine + Food Festival.