San Diego Bay warms up to the wine and food festival

The Thanksgiving holiday is nearly here, an opportune time to gather friends for food, wine and good times. The same can be said for another tradition in San Diego that takes place a week earlier. 
From Nov. 17 through Nov. 21, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival consumes the hearts and minds of all involved with an international showcase of premier wines and spirits, chefs and gourmet foods. More than 800 wines and spirits, 70 of San Diego’s top restaurants and 30 gourmet food companies will participate in this seventh annual extravaganza, with venues like Macy’s, the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center, the Hornblower Inspiration Super Yacht, Embarcadero Park North next to Seaport Village and Roy’s San Diego Waterfront.
New this year is the Tastemaker Dinner Series at various venues Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 with a 6 p.m. start. Restaurants chosen include Addison at the Grand Del Mar, the Westgate’s Fountainbleau, Island Prime, Kitchen 1540 and Specialty Produce Warehouse.
More than 9,000 are expected to attend the five-day festival, which is considered by experts to be in the top five of the top 100 events in Southern California for the past three years. 
The Celebrity Chef’s Luncheon on Nov. 21 is a select lineup of the best of … presented by Wine Spectator Magazine including seven big names to help create a six-course meal paired with some first class wines. A big bottle auction will raise funds for the American Institute of Wine and Food, dedicated to raising funds for their scholarship program.
A favorite of mine is the Nov. 19 Master Sommelier Blind Tasting, with host and Master Sommelier Joseph Spellman of Justin Winery in Paso Robles. He will lead a panel as they blind-taste a number of international wines. They will break identify varietal, vintage, location, smell and taste to identify each of several wine challenges. All are local sommeliers in San Diego restaurants. The audience tastes along with the panel.  This event is held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center.
Well, after all that you’ve got to be ready to roll into all the festival has to offer.  Learn more about times, events and pricing at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival by visiting www.worldofwineevents.com or calling (858) 578-9463. We’ll see you there!
Wine Bytes
— South Coast Winery Restaurant in Costa Mesa Orange County is having a winemaker’s five-course dinner beginning at 6 p.m. Nov. 13. The cost is $95 per person. Call (714) 957-1857 to RSVP.
— On Nov. 16, 3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro in Encinitas has a five-course winery dinner with Hall Winery of Napa Valley. Start time is 6 p.m. Cost is $70.  RSVP at (760) 942-2104
— Firefly Restaurant in Encinitas is planning a Spring Mountain Wine Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17. Four-course dinner plus reception. Cost is $89 each. Call (760) 635-1066.
— San Pasqual Winery with locations in San Diego and La Mesa now has weekday “Happy Hour” specials from 4 to 6 p.m. Check out details at (619) 462-1797.
— Orfila Winery in Escondido presents their 11th annual Futures Dinner, including four-course dinner, live music and dancing. Merlot and Syrah Futures will be served. The cost is $125 each. Reserve space at (760) 738-6500.

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