Top Reasons Not To Miss The Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival
The third annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival takes place Sept. 29 – Oct. 2. From delicious tastings and dining with celebrity chefs to relaxing by the sea and at world-class hotels, this sensational event serves up a bevy of reasons to visit the city. “The main goal of our event is to provide guests with engaging and unforgettable experiences,” says Stefanie Salem, founder and CEO of the festival. “Between live cooking demonstrations, wine tasting panels and even sampling cuisine in our Grand Tasting Pavilions, all of our programming is highly hands-on and provides an incredibly unique food and wine experience for all.” This means patrons will not only have access to executive chefs at their favorite restaurants, but they’ll also get to interact with master sommeliers and celebrity chefs through demonstrations and friendly competitions. “It’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else,” Salem says.
Celebrate the culinary arts — and a local charity: The nonprofit Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, whose mission is to merge international and local culinary artisans as well as educate the public through interactive events, has another important goal: end childhood homeless. Proceeds from event benefit the Project Hope Alliance, which aims to educate and shelter Orange County’s many children in need.
Taste Around Town: Those who secured tickets in time for this two-day affair will enjoy mingling with renowned chefs and master sommeliers at their favorite restaurants about town. Opportunities include an opening night surf-and-turf supper with celebrity chef Rick Moonen, accompanied by Ritz Prime Seafood executive chef Phil Kastel and master sommelier Michael Jordan and a private luncheon with Top Chef Masters star Nancy Silverton at Pizzeria Mozza. Each event includes a five-course tasting and wine pairing, as well as interactive cooking experiences and book signings.
Earn VIP treatment: VIP ticket holders will have a more enhanced experienced with this year’s exclusive offerings — all hosted in private before general admission doors open in the afternoon. A Hundred Acre 100-Point wine tasting, live cooking demonstrations with chefs Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller, and a Champagne and caviar pairing are all part of the fun VIP festivities.
Meet the masters: The daytime festival, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Newport Beach Civic Center, features six of the country’s 147 master sommeliers. These wine experts — the mostly highly educated in their field — will spill their wealth of knowledge to novice wine consumers and connoisseurs alike, revealing secrets of their trade as well as the art to perfect wine and food pairings. Spirits lovers can also enjoy a seminar with a master of mixology, who will demonstrate how to create cocktails that complement their favorite foods.
Eat your heart out: Daytime festivalgoers might want to fast before all of this fun. The Grand Tasting Pavilions will offer savory samples from 40 of Orange County’s best restaurants (20 each day) as well as 60 wineries from around the world (plus distilleries and beer-brewing masters to boot). Each restaurant will have its executive chef on site, preparing fabulous fare and meeting with fans. Patrons will also have a chance to see live cooking demos with Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters and Top Chef winners and alumnae — and may even be chosen to compete against them! When you’ve gotten your fill of delicious food, dance it off to live jazz music, which will also be playing on festival grounds.
Stay(cation) in style: A world-class event like the Wine & Food festival is a great excuse to post up at a world-class hotel in Newport Beach. When you’re not delighting in cooking demonstrations and wine pairings, play a round of golf at The Resort at Pelican Hill; soak up the sunshine while overlooking the sea at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas; watch the boats pass by (or take a ride) at Balboa Bay Resort; or treat yourself to a spa day at the Fairmont Hotel.
Shop ’til you drop: If your pants feel a bit snug after all of those savory delights, take a stroll through Newport Beach’s top shopping destinations. (Shopping is also a great way to burn off some of that béarnaise sauce!) Fashion Island’s open-air mall features a host of designer stores and chic boutiques, all beckoning you to take a browse. Along the coast, such areas as Corona del Mar, Mariners Mile and Balboa Village also offer an eclectic array of luxury and coastal-themed shopping.
Enjoy an “Endless Summer”: It may be back-to-school season, but here in Newport Beach, the onset of autumn the best part of summertime — sunnier mornings with no marine layer, breezier temperatures and less traffic all make late September and early October an ideal time to hit the beach. Whether you’re looking to surf (by the pier), spend a day with the kids (head to Balboa Island’s calmer waters sans waves), try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding (The Back Bay) or just soak up a few hours of sun (head to Big or Little Corona or watch body boarders beside The Wedge), Newport Beach offers the perfect spot for every seaside activity. View Endless Summer offers here.
See our iconic attractions: No trip to Newport Beach is complete without visiting a few of the area’s iconic landmarks. Ride the historic ferry to the Balboa Fun Zone (it’s not just for kids!); hop aboard a whale-watching charter (blue whales inhabit our warmer waters through November); travel back to the 1950s with a trip to Crystal Cove State Parks’s Historic District; see an exhibit at one of our renowned art museums; or even venture out on a daytime excursion to nearby Catalina Island.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit newportwineandfood.com
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