The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival cultivates the best wine, spirits, and food for an epic multi-day event. If you can only attend one wine and food festival, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is a must!
Want to know what you missed? Thinking of attending next year? Keep reading to see what you missed and find out you need to know about the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.
Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I received free admission. All opinions are 100% mine.
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival 2017
In its 14th year, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is the largest wine and food festival on the West Coast. How I missed the previous 13 years escapes me. But this year I attended the Tasting at SommCon and the Grand Tasting Event.
The Tasting at SommCon
So many wines, not enough time. With over 700 wines and spirits showcased at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, you may want to spread your tasting over two days and get a ticket for the Tasting at SommCon.
The Tasting at SommCon offers first sips on the wines and spirits before the Grand Tasting Event. You get to enjoy the wine in an intimate setting and mingle with Master Sommeliers. I’m too introverted for that so I stuck to drinking. 🙂
My first stop was the Sake One table. Having toured their Tualatin Valley distillery, I was eager to try what they were pouring. The Hakutsuru Sayuri Nigori Sake was deliciously smooth with a hint of sweetness.
After sampling the Sayuri sake, the next stop was the Vault. The Vault features premium wines curated by the organizers of the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival. Some of these wines cost $125 a bottle.
- 2010 Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru Louis Latour
- 2010 Louis Latour Bourgogne Pinot Noir
- 2010 Ruston Family La Maestra Cabernet Sauvignon St Helena
- 2011 Andersons Conn Valley Right Bank Cuvee Conn Valley
- 2012 Coho Headwaters (Cab Blend)
- 2012 Keever Inspirado (Cab Blend) Napa Valley
- 2013 Davis Estates Phase V Petite Sirah â€“ Napa Valley
- 2013 Meyer Family Cellars Fluffy Billows Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville
- 2010 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru
- 2015 Domaine Roblin Enclos de Maimbray (sancerre) Sury-en-vaux, FR
Grand Prieur Brut Vertus NV
These wines are not part of the Grand Tasting and entrance requires a separate ticket. Thankfully, my ticket included admission to The Vault.
I spent the majority of my time at the Tasting at SommCon in the Vault. These selections were fantastic. I recommend you buy the Vault add-on option for the Tasting at SommCon next year.
My favorites from the Vault:
- Grand Prieur Brut Vertus NV
- 2010 Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru Louis Latour
- 2010 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru Louis Latour
- 2010 Ruston Family La Maestra Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2013 Davis Estates Phase V Petite Sirah
The Grand Tasting
Even if you aren’t a wine drinker, you’ll want to attend the Grand Tasting. Featuring over 60 bites from talented San Diego chefs and 30 specialty food companies, the chefs bring their “A” game and it shows. You’re guaranteed not to leave hungry or thirsty.
Pro-tip: The long line for the orange porta-potty, it’s not what you think. Behind that orange door is the Monkey Shoulder Speakeasy.
The Wine & Spirits
Just a few of the 700 wines and spirits available for tasting at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.
From Duck Benedict, ashed topped fettuccine alfredo, to Belgian Chocolate S’mores, the food at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival satisfied even the pickiest of palates. The bite-sized portions were both inventive and easy to eat while drinking and walking.
Dessert in a Cup from Seasons 52
Braised Short Rib from Parq
Parq hit it out of the park with their braised short rib on a bed of butternut squash with brussels sprouts.
Risotto from SIMI Winery
If I had to pick just one dish, it would be the risotto. Chef Kolin Vazzoler crafted a sumptuous perfectly cooked risotto that was creamy, tender and cheesy. If Chef Vazzoler can prepare this delicious of a risotto under a tent over a gas flame, the food at SIMI Winery Kitchen must be remarkable.
Quinoa Salad from JRDN
Chef Dave Warner’s quinoa salad scored him a “best” award.
Cheese from Sartori
What’s a wine tasting without a little cheese? Sartori brought their Montamore, Sarvecchio Parmesan, Merlot Bellavitano, and Black Pepper Bellavitano cheeses.
Fettuccine Alfredo With Ash from Aquavite La Jolla
Freshly prepared for each person, the ash gave the fettuccine alfredo texture. The only negative, my wine glass was empty.
5 Unusual Finds
All hail the Magic Bullet. And I’m not talking about the blender or sex toy. The Magic Bullet drink when taken before drinking, helps prevent a hangover. Made from all natural ingredients, it’s gluten-free, and only 40 calories.
Say goodbye to old beef sticks. Epic Snack Strips are beef sticks for a new generation. Made from all natural ingredients without unnatural fillers, they’re tasty and travel-friendly.
Moscow Mule in a can. Yes, please! These premixed Moscow mules are delicious and come in an easy to open can. Perfect for the beach, picnics, and anywhere that glass isn’t allowed.
Who knew that ume fruit could produce such delicious liqueur? Made without artificial ingredients, Umeshu is a sweet liquor that is very drinkable. You won’t even realize you’re drinking alcohol. But be careful, because it packs a 15% ABV punch.
I’ve been drinking Ripple since I discovered it at Target last year. So I was so excited to see them at the Grand Tasting. Ripple is a gluten-free and vegan drink made from pea protein. They now have to-go cartons. Great for school lunches, snacks, and travel.
Tips for Attending
Bring a Tote Bag
You’ll need something to carry swag and food samples. Some wineries may have bags but they’ll run out quick.
Wear a Hat, Sunscreen, and/or Sunglasses
November is sunny in San Diego.
There are over 700 wines and spirits. That’s a lot of drinking in a few hours.
Study the exhibitor list
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival website lists the exhibitors. Make a list of the wineries you want to visit. Take a few minutes to circle them on the map when you arrive. You won’t be able to try them all.
Buy the Tasting at SommCon with Vault Access Ticket
It includes early access to the Grand Tasting and you get to sample exclusive wines.
Use Uber or Lyft
A DUI is not worth it. Be smart and use a ride-share like Uber or Lyft.
Mark your calendar and make plans to attend the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival for next year. The largest wine and food festival on the West Coast features five days of wine, food, and spirits. The day ends with the Grand Tasting showcasing over 700 wines and spirits from 150 wineries.
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is a great way to spend the day in San Diego. From the ideal location in Embarcadero Marina Park to the countless wineries and delicious bites, three hours won’t seem enough. Be sure to buy an early entry ticket and extend your fun for four hours.
Have you attended the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival? What was your favorite wine or dish?
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