The biggest and best wine and food event in SoCal

Tickets for the many venues of this powerhouse wine and food event, the eighth annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 are going fast, and I urge you to look through the many venues of this five-day extravaganza for a gold mine of food and wine education and fun.
You’ll meet master chefs, master winemakers and wine lovers from all over the world, who will descend on downtown San Diego for a weeklong classic that has become an iconic destination.  There are 800 different wines promised, bolstered by 70 different chefs and restaurants, plus 30 different gourmet companies.
You talk about a kid in a candy shop, if you love wine and an epicurean array of master food preparation, you will shriek with delight at this land of plenty.
Here are my personal favorites in a dream lineup of star-kissed events:  The Italian Master Cooking Class Nov. 18 from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Wine & Culinary Center across from the Convention Center.  At this venue you will join Chef Suzette Gresham Tognetti for an unparalleled culinary experience.  Traditional dishes are transformed into a lighter more contemporary style.  Learn her techniques, receive recipes and taste Italian wines to pair with each dish.
On Nov. 18 from 2:30 to 4 p.m., also at the culinary center, it’s Napa Vs. Napa Wine Tasting with Master Sommelier Joe Spellman and a panel of Napa mountain region producers for a discussion and tasting of the area’s most coveted wines.
Later that evening, you will want to attend the Reserve & New Release Tasting Event at 6:30 p.m. at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park, with jumping Jazz and vintage aircraft as a backdrop.  Silent Auction items are up for the highest bidders. 
And my final pick is the Grand Tasting Event, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Embarcadero Park behind Seaport Village.  Taste over 170 wines and spirits and mix and mingle with over 70 of San Diego’s top chefs as they compete for Chef of the Fest and $50,000 in cash and prizes — lots of food sampling, too.
Ok, enough of what I like, check out all the options and get your friends together for days of partying by visiting For more information call (619) 312-1212.
A Slice of Italy in San Clemente
Nic Romano had this dream.  He has a passionate love for wine and food from Italy.  Nic has a marketing background that he sharpened in the towers of
Chicago, but knew that’s not where he wanted to spend the rest of his days.
Ever the entrepreneur, he thought big on the wine part, but it finally came to him that the farm to table side of the dream held the most promise as a truly breakthrough concept.
Destiny put him together with a golf course in San Clemente owned by a fellow Italian American, John Fornarro who, at the same time, wanted to transform his Bella Collina Towne and Country Golf Club into an old world Italian showcase.
The two shared their vision and Farnarro offered Romano raw land to produce an Italian garden farm, to grow and enjoy fresh Italian vegetables from the old world Italian countryside.
 Soil experts and water analysts were brought in with orders not to rely on funny pellets and amendments to the soil.  “Make it natural,” was the order of the day from Romano.  Over 30 heirloom vegetable seeds from Italy were brought in and planted with Italian ancestors in mind.  Then word got out and Italian and Sicilian paisanos came in and contributed shoots from their gardens to the farm.
Now, after three years of produce, VR Green Farms is flourishing, expanding into fresh Italian sauces and olive oil.  Chefs from all over Southern California want to share recipes and pick up supplies for their restaurants.  Baskets of fresh produce can be purchased each Saturday.  Pizza, Pasta and Veggie Baskets are organized with new ingredients weekly.
Group outings to VR Green Farms are welcome.  Romano will organize a meal, wine, music and a tour.  Keep your life fresh at VR Green Farms.  Visit
Wine Bytes
Alternative Wines on Carmel Valley Road, San Diego has an Orin Swift new release “The Prisoner” tasting plus other surprise reds, Nov. 4 from 4 to 7 p.m.  Great wine choices and appetizers for just $15.  Details are at (858) 780-9463. Amaya at the Grand Del Mar has a three course-tasting menu from Chef Camron Woods Nov. 5 from 5:30 to 10 p.m. 
Handcrafted wines included from Rendarro Vineyards Paso Robles.  $70, RSVP at (858) 314-2727. The Temecula Valley Harvest Celebration is Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  More than 30 wineries are participating, accompanied by complementing food sampling at each stop:  Includes barrel and tank tasting.  $99 for both days.  For more information call, (800) 801-9463, or visit
A Gold Winemaker Dinner at Temecula’s South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Nov. 12, will feature Owner/Vintner Jim Carter and Winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores.  Reception begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.  Gourmet 5 course dinner, live auction and top award-winning wines.  $200 per couple; $489 per couple includes overnight stay in a luxurious villa.  Call (951) 587-9463 for full details.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?