As a transplant to Orange County from Utah and Idaho, I’ve never had a hometown NFL football team. That’s why I’m giddy about the return of the Los Angeles Rams to Southern California this fall. The Rams will be featured in the HBO series “Hard Knocks” this August, which documents the team during training camp and gives us an insider look at the team’s players and the staff. I’ll be glued to it all with wine in hand. I love the build-up, the hype, and know I’m not alone in my excitement.
Former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo (1977-1980, 1982-1984) is paying tribute to the team’s return with a monthly wine dinner series at Newport Dunes’ Back Bay Bistro. Ferragamo, now a vintner with an estate in Orange Park Acres, is featuring a past or present Rams player at each dinner, held the third Thursday of the month, through the 2016-17 NFL season. The first event, which begins at 6 p.m. April 21, features NFL Hall of Famer Les Richter, a Rams linebacker from 1954 through 1962. The $67 per person cost includes a five-course dinner paired with Italian wines, including Ferragamo’s own estate chardonnay and Super Tuscan.
Ferragamo says he shares a passion for wine with Thomas Giulioni, the executive director of Newport Dunes, and sees the series as a chance to educate and excite local sports fans and foodies about wine. “We did a couple of wine dinners at the Back Bay Bistro and things went really well,” he says. “We had a lot of fun and it was educational for our guests to learn about food and wine pairing, especially when it comes to Italian wine. Since I played ball for the Rams, and the the team is coming back to L.A., we thought it’d be fun to have past or present day Rams players join us.”
Ferragamo added, “When you admire and recognize the old, it inspires the future players. I think that’s going to be important for the Rams.”
The special Ferragamo Wine Dinner Series is limited to just 26 guests each month. Reserve your place by phoning Back Bay Bistro at 949-729-1144. For more information and to preview the five-course dinner menu for the April 21 Les Richter evening, visit: http://www.newportdunes.com/event/back-bay-bistro-wine-dinner/