Before I lived in Orange County, I loved visiting my sister and touring the Newport Beach area. From flashy cars and historic, homestyle restaurants to sandy beaches and funky boat tours, I was captivated by the charm and character of Newport. The 15th annual Newport Beach Wine Festival gives us a taste of all these elements, happily cloaked with great wine and food! The event is centered at the Balboa Bay Resort, an iconic hotel on the Coast Highway, but it’s the unique festival boat and brunch experience that catches my eye for Memorial Weekend. Given we’re not short on wine festivals and tastings in Orange County, I love the ingenuity of experiencing wine in a classic Newport manner.
The festival offers a full weekend of curated events, so you may choose a complete holiday wine weekend and stay at the Balboa Bay Resort or you can enjoy the events a la carte. If you purchase at least two Newport Wine Festival events over the weekend, you’ll receive a 15 percent discount on your overnight stay.
Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Dinner and Reception 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 25; $175 per person, not including tax and gratuity.
- A five-course dinner showcases the famed wines of Napa Valley’s Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel, as expertly paired by executive chef Rachel Haggstrom at Waterline Newport Beach.
Create your own “Private Label” Noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26; $65 all-inclusive.
- Blend, bottle, label, and take home your own “private label” wine.
Memorial Saturday Afternoon Wine and Food Tasting 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 26; $115 all-inclusive.
- Taste 100-plus wines from 25 or more premium and award-winning wineries. Boogie to live music and savor the hors d’ oeuvres and beautiful bay views.
Champagne Harbor Cruise Aboard the Private Ambassador Yacht 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26; $75 all-inclusive.
- Cruise around the scenic harbor at sunset on Balboa’s Bay Resort’s private yacht, sipping Champagne and nibbling desserts – yes, please!
Mumm Sparkling Wine and Seafood Buffet Brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 27; $95 all-inclusive.
- Chef Haggstrom of Waterline Newport Beach will showcase Mumm sparkling wine and the beauty of how it pairs with the freshest seafood.
Afternoon Wine-Tasting Duffy Excursion Noon and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27; $75 all-inclusive.
- Enjoy a 90-minute tour on the Duffy with multiple wine pairings. I LOVE this—How fun, quirky, charming, and apropos!
Newport Beach Wine Festival