Tickets on sale for San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival

It is a joy for me to see a hard-working, street-smart team create a public event that is a masterpiece of perfection. I used to be in the special events business and produced shows up and down the Southern California coast.
When you make wine the star of the show, and blend brilliant chefs, music, education, and a comprehensive trade show in the mix, then you have the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival. It’s a feast for the senses and it happens for a sixth time from Nov. 18 through the Nov. 22.
When life began in 2004 for this largest wine and food experience of its kind in Southern California, Michelle Metter and Ken Loyst, the producers, were virtually doing it all as event planners with a new, blockbuster idea: make wine the crown jewel in a series of feel-good events centered around wine and food that gave visitors a wonderful time and a learning experience.
Fast forward to the 2009 festival, and on tap are some 170 world-class wineries, 70 fine dining restaurants, gourmet food companies, wine tasting seminars, cooking classes and an expected 8,000-plus enthusiastic guests over the five days of tasting fun. Live and silent auctions will benefit the American Institute of Wine and Food scholarships in San Diego.
Wineries are pouring into the 2009 festival, including such notables as:  Duckhorn, Pedroncelli, Cotes Du Rhone, L’Aventure, Cass, Trefethen, Hall and many more. Restaurants lining up include: The Prado, Island Prime, Truluck’s, Morton’s, Jakes, The Shores and much more. Sponsorship and booth opportunities are still available but filling fast. Visit, or call (858) 578-9463 for details.
Tickets for the public are on sale for all five days or individual events. See the event descriptions, locations and pricing at the Web site or call a special phone number, (877) 808-9463. This column will be updating the latest information as it becomes available right up to festival time Nov. 18 through Nov. 22.
Pala Mesa
Tucked away in a pristine resort and golf course area of Fallbrook just off the 15, Aqua Terra at Pala Mesa Resort has made great strides in its presentation of wine and cuisine. Kevin Poorbaugh, the director of wine and food, has paid close attention to pairing his selections of whites and reds with such menu selections as crab-stuffed seasonal seabass, grilled ahi tuna and king crab legs. Executive Chef Sean Sullivan shows talent and creativity in his monthly features, recently showing a combination of braised beef short ribs and shrimp.
I found the Napa Valley Raymond 2002 Reserve Merlot was a lovely red wine mate with this dish. For an exciting white, choose the Central Coast Firestone 2007 Riesling. Visit for details.
Wine Bytes
— Jim Barrasso at Firefly Grill and Wine Bar in Encinitas is presenting an incredible value with Napa Valley’s great Spring Mountain Vineyard Wine Dinner, starting at 6:30 p.m. July 22. Braised Pork Osso Bucca is the main course in this four-course feast, and he’s dramatically lowered the price to just $60 per person. Spring Mountain will serve one of its prized library wines among others: the 1987 Cabernet Sauvignon!  Magnum bottles will be auctioned. RSVP at (760) 635-1066
— Congratulations to Callaway Vineyard and Winery in Temecula for its 40th Anniversary and Birthday party from 1 to 4 p.m. July 19. There will be appetizers, live band, gifts and steep discounts on wines. Their red blend, the 2008 “Quartet,” recently got gold in a San Diego competition. Call (951) 676-4001 for details.
— Wine Street in Carlsbad has changed its name to La Costa Wine Company and has a remodeling and new format including a new wine and cheese bar. New value pricing is being rolled out. Next event is a Spanish wine tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. July 22 for $15 per person. Call (760) 431-8455 for details.
— Oak Mountain Winery in Temecula has its Woof and Purrs in the Vines event from 3 to 7 p.m. July 19. The cost is $35 each for great food, live music, wine and an auction with great items  to benefit animal causes. Reserve tickets by calling (951) 699-9102.
— Hacienda de las Rosas Winery in the Fiesta de Reyes Plaza in Old Town San Diego is hosting a book signing from 5 to 7 p.m. July 24. It’s Janene Roberts new book “Wine Tasting in Southern California and Beyond.” It features a guide to the unique wineries, wine bar, restaurants and more. Meet the author, enjoy the wine, and purchase a signed  book, all for $20. E-mail for details.


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