The 8th Annual Orange County Food and Wine Celebration kicks off Sunday, April 30, with “Passport to Wine,” the wine-tasting portion of this two-day charity experience. The following Sunday, May 7th, is Passport to Chefs. Both events are held at the beautiful Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach. Each year, these affairs spotlight the fantastic food (Passport to Chefs) and wine (Passport to Wine) of Orange County, but they also raise funds for the Roosters Foundation, which donates proceeds to a variety of the county’s children’s charities. The events also fund the foundation’s annual food drive, which feeds up to 3,000 Orange County families that have needy and at-risk children living below the poverty line.
I attended Passport to Wine a few years and had a ball. I loved the golf locale with tastings set-up both inside the lovely clubhouse as well as outside, with expansive views of the golf course. It’s a lively affair with music, plenty of food, and more wine than your palate can feasibly discern if you partake in the full noon to 4 p.m. experience. There are more than 50 wineries pouring. You’ll even find a few spirits, if you are game. I recommend arriving closer to noon so you can peruse and bid on the expansive silent auction and have relaxed, informative conversations with the winery reps before the crowd grows. You can purchase wine that day, but you won’t be walking out with the bottles in hand. The winery will make other arrangements, such as shipping or pick-up.
In my opinion, this is not a snooty, buttoned-up, bravado event. From the attendees to the volunteers, everyone is authentically smiley, warm, and happy to be there. Tickets are $95 for the four hours of tastings and food. You can purchase a $25 designated drive ticket, too—aka take a buddy, but they can’t drink.
Orange County Food and Wine Celebration
Passport to Wine – noon to 4 p.m. April 30
Old Ranch Country Club
3901 Lampson Ave., Seal Beach