They sure do at the California Wine Festival. Along with spirits, beers, a band and even food. Yes, there’s food at a wine festival (not a food and wine festival) with food trucks and vendors offering samples even to GA ticket holders. The VIP section is like a gourmet treat.
Of course, it is indeed the wines that are the stars of the show and the Carlsbad edition – the 2022 event was held May 20 and 21 at the luxurious Park Hyatt Aviara – featured wines from all over the Golden State.
It is one of four events on the California Wine Festival plate, the others being Dana Point (the 2022 one has already taken place and the dates for 2023 are April 14-15), Huntington Beach Nov. 11-12 and the grandaddy of them all, Santa Barbara on July 15-16. They are comprised of an intimate tasting on Friday evenings with the main tasting on Saturday afternoons.
The Carlsbad event had some 30 wineries pouring several reds and whites from Napa, Monterey County, Paso, Santa Barbara County and Temecula. Maybe even a few more.
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Plus, there was vodka, gin and what turned out to my favorite, sangria, from Pasmosa Premium Sangria. I have to admit part of this can be explained by the fact that they filled up the entire large complimentary glass, along with ice, which was extremely refreshing on this afternoon.
I tend to enjoy wines mostly later in the afternoon or evening rather than staring at Noon, which is when the California Wine Festival began for VIPs and those with an early entry ticket. When I mentioned this to some attractive attendees, they accused me of being a wine wimp!
Mostly what I enjoyed was the atmosphere, which is always the case at these wine festivals. It started before I even arrived when I made quick new friends off the Coaster train (which I took up from downtown San Diego to Carlsbad) as we shared an Uber for the short 15-minute ride to the Park Hyatt.
It continued when I heard steel drums in the band. That type of music was perfect for an event of this class and caliber.
And I was really surprised to see vendors and food trucks handing out samples, from pizza to tacos to cheese and even ceviche. The VIP tent had empanadas and sushi! I had never seen complimentary food samples at any wine festival that does not have the word “food” in its title.
So this is a value-added for customers for at least this California Wine Festival.
This was only the second event in Carlsbad, the first being in 2019. So it was not a huge, super-crowded festival, making for short or even no lines at many of the vendor booths. The footprint of the event was not too huge, so you could take your time to circle the area several times at a nice, casual pace until closing time at 4 p.m.
The video, which was broadcast live on the PubClub Facebook page and is also available on YouTube, shows the scene, several of the the wineries, the shopping (yes ladies there’s lots of shopping, too!) and includes an interview with Emily Kaufman, executive director of all the California Wine Festival events.
The photos and TikTok post also provide good visuals of this event, which is one I highly recommend for several reasons, not the least of which there are not many wine festivals of this caliber in the San Diego area.
Official Website: California Wine Festival