Grand Tasting On Embarcadero Highlights A Week Of Fun Events
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 held the third week of November. In its 12 years, it has become the largest such event in Southern California (and there are a lot of these events in Southern California).
The 2015 festival is Nov. 15-22.
San Diego’s version takes places in various places downtown, with the signature event happening in Embarcadero Park, a piece of land between the bay and the marina behind the Marriott hotel. This is within easy walking distance of the poplar Gaslamp District. So the setting is perfect.
And it is that very popular Grand Tasting in Embarcadero Park that makes people – particularly many of San Diego’s most eligible singles – put this on their annual social calendar.
The Grand Tasting
While there are several events taking place over a seven-day period, the San Diego Wine & Food Festival’s highlight is the afternoon social mixer that consists of 170 wine, spirits and beer purveyors offering more than 700 selections. Tents are set up in the park with the wineries and breweries offering tasting pours.
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. They are from top local restaurants.
But it’s not all wine and dine here, for there are craft beers and a few spirits available. too.
It does not take long to learn the reason for this event being a main attraction not just for the festival but for San Diego as a whole.
There’s a great-looking crowd, all in a happy mood enjoying food and drinks under the San Diego sunshine. San Diegoans are also very friendly, so it’s really like a big outdoor BBQ.
With the beers – and beer lovers to attend wine and food festivals – there’s a wider variety of beverages than at some festivals. And those beers are sometimes full pours as opposed to the usual 1-once samples from the wineries
Overall a fairly upscale event – tickets are $125 in advance – it is also Southern California casual in dress and attitude, from the servers to the chefs to the patrons. It last from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., but actually opens an hour earlier for special guests and those who have purchased VIP tickets.
Besides the Grand Tasting, the event is comprised of several events over a series of days leading up to the main event. There are chef luncheons, intimate pairings and demonstrations.
The biggest of these is the Friday night reserve tasting, this year called the Collection at the SommCon, a “casual/upscale” tasting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (5:30-7:30, $125).
For a complete list of events and to purchase tickets, to to the San Diego WIne & Food Festival website.