The Coast News Group
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival holds its Grand Tasting Nov. 21 at the Embarcadero next to Seaport Village. Photo by Frank Mangio
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: San Diego Bay Wine & Food Fest takes command

Tickets are on sale now for the biggest and best wine and food festival in Southern California, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, five days of fun, sipping, tasting, learning and cheering on your favorite chef at the Saturday Grand Tasting at the Embarcadero, next to Seaport Village.

Co-founder Michelle Metter said, “Food, wine and local enthusiasts can expect to see exciting new additions throughout the week as well as a return of the classics such as the Grand Tasting and signature Taco TKO Fish Taco Competition. Each year we showcase our city’s best talent and allow over 10,000 guests from around the world to indulge in an epicurean experience of a lifetime.”

Celebrated chefs from everywhere in the country includes: Rick Bayless, Gail Gand, Suzette Gresham, and hometown hero from the Marine Room, Bernard Guillas.  Last year’s Chef of the Fest winner, Duvinh Ta from Jake’s is returning for this year’s competition.

A new and exciting educational opportunity for wine industry professionals, sommeliers and enthusiasts has been unveiled for the first time called SommCon, with more than 50 educational seminars, certifications, tasting events and more, created by industry experts.  The main conference is being held Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 that peaks with a trade tasting featuring over 100 wines, breweries and spirit purveyors.

Sommcon will open the doors to a wealth of knowledge from some of the best-known wine personalities in the business. There are many levels of registration for the attendee to choose.  For more information and a list of classes go to

Discounted accommodations at SommCom headquarters at the Manchester Grand Hyatt are available by calling (877) 385-9595.

For all other information about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, visit Or you can call (619) 312-1212.

Vittorio’s Presents Starmont Wines

It was a festive full house recently at Vittoroio’s in Carmel Valley as Starmont Napa Valley wines took the stage to compliment a four-course dinner, capped by a lovely grilled hanger steak with a Starmont Cabernet, 2011.  What made it even more attractive was Vittoro’s 1/2 priced bottles of wine.  Victor is one of the few restaurateurs that sell wine direct to the consumer.

It was ladies night at a recent Vittorio’s wine dinner with Mindy Hewitson of Estates Group and Cindy Bock of Merryvale/Starmont Wines of Napa Valley. Photo by Frank Mangio
It was ladies night at a recent Vittorio’s wine dinner with Mindy Hewitson of Estates Group and Cindy Bock of Merryvale/Starmont Wines of Napa Valley. Photo by Frank Mangio


Starmont is a certified Napa organically grown winery and leader in value wines as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. See more at

Wine Bytes

Firefly Grill & Wine Bar in Encinitas presents a Cakebread Cellars Wine Dinner Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m.  A four-course dinner will be highlighted with Smoked Pork Tenderloin with a Cakebread Merlot 2012.  Cost is $125.  Call (760) 635-1066.

Harry’s Bar & American Grill in La Jolla, across from UTC, has a Pahlmeyer wine dinner, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m.  Final entrée will be a Beef Bourguignon paired with a 2013 Pahlmeyer Red Bordeaux Blend.  For cost and an RSVP, call (858) 373-1252.

Il Forniao in Del Mar and Coronado are in the niddle of their Festa  Regionale with cuisine from Italy’s Lazio district, the location for Rome. This special menu goes to Oct. 25.

Monte De Oro Winery in Temecula has a Cabernet Sauvignon Blind Tasting of 90-point wines, Oct. 23.  Reception is at 6:30 p.m. and tasting begins at 7 p.m.  Twelve wines from California will be offered blind.  Price is $65. Tickets are available at

The 2nd annual San Diego Beer and Music Festival will be at Liberty Station in Pt. Loma, Oct. 24 from 7 to 10 p.m., a benefit for the San Diego Music Foundation. It will showcase over 100 craft beers from more than 50 local breweries.  Cost is $35 in advance, $40 at the door. Visit


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at, and reach him at  Follow him on Facebook.