Inaugural Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival is BIG!

The inaugural Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival premieres this weekend, Sept. 19 to 21. Look for a world-class lineup of epicurean events, with a VIP Launch Party at Red O, a Daytime Festival at Newport Beach Civic Center, and a Closing Party at Sherman Library & Gardens.

Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” winner Rick Bayless will host the VIP Launch Party from 6:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday. Guests will be served hors d’oeuvres and specialty drinks from Casamigos Tequila and Duke Spirits, followed by a three-course dinner plus wine pairing with celebrity chefs mingling with guests over the sounds of a three-piece flamenco band. A live and silent auction will allow guests the opportunity to bid on experiences, including a private dinner and wine pairing at Selanne Steak Tavern’s Chef’s Table, and a meet-and-greet with hockey legend Teemu Selanne.

The Daytime Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Celebrity chefs will showcase live cooking demonstrations, and a Grand Tasting Pavilion will offer gourmet cuisine from 24 of Orange County’s leading chefs. The Wine Promenade lining the architecture of City Hall will offer a tasting of wines from over 40 award-winning wineries, and sommelier panels will feature several topics, led by Jörn “Joey” Kleinhans of Wine Elite. The smooth sounds of live jazz will provide a backdrop for the festival.

The Grand Finale Party from 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday will treat guests to a cocktail party sponsored by Roca Patrón tequila, serving fine wines and Champagne along with a unique selection of bites, from tapas to seafood to charcuterie.

Hoag Hospital Foundation’s Circle 1000 and Project Hope Alliance will receive 100 percent of the event’s profits. Tickets will sell out so act quickly by visiting www.newportwineandfood.com to view the event’s programming and various ticket options.

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