You might call it a who’s who of culinary masterminds and master sommeliers. So it’s no surprise that a few of the exclusive cool events are sold out already for the fourth annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, including the VIP Riedel glass education and tasting with Hundred Acre Winery, and the VIP Champagne and caviar tasting. I recommend locking in your ticket today.
Daily entry, or more aptly named Grand Tasting ticket, is $150 per day. You’ll have from just 2 to 6:30 p.m. to taste wines from the likes of Michael Mondavi, Cherry Pie, and Duckhorn in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Simultaneously, the event will host cooking demonstrations from Top Chef powerhouses such as Fabio Viviani and Orange County’s own Amar Santana of Costa Mesa’s Vaca and Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana. The event ups the ante with daily wine-tastings and educational panels led by master sommeliers, including Michael Jordan, Peter Neptune, and Justin of Justin Vineyards. For the weekend pass price of $250, you can sip, swirl, learn, eat from 40 different participating restaurants, and rub elbows with the top voices in wine and food at a more leisurely pace. The panels and demos are first-come, first-served and seat about 150 people.
As a Top Chef super fan, I’m eyeing Saturday’s VIP Top Chef Women All Stars event for an additional $100. This is a cooking demo with Top Chef Winner Brooke Williamson, and All-Stars Shirley Chung, Casey Thompson, and Rachel Haggstrom with host, celebrity chef Hubert Keller. Speaking of the latter, there’s a Friday night chef’s dinner Sept. 28 at The Winery Newport Beach, hosted by Keller, along with Yvon Goetz of The Winery, Jean-Pierre Dubray of Pelican Hill, Rainer Schwarz of Driftwood Kitchen, and Champagne House Moët Hennessy. As if that weren’t enticing enough, a different winery will be featured with each chef’s course following the Moët Hennessy Champagne and cocktail reception.
I haven’t covered all the events, so sift through them—and the slate of stars—on the event’s website. It’s an impressive array of talent, wine, food, and fun. For the price of a nice dinner with wine or few great bottles of wine for your cellar, you’ll enjoy a weekend’s worth of unforgettable experiences at Newport Beach’s beautiful Civic Center.