From relaxing on pristine beaches to sampling cutting-edge cuisine, San Diego offers plenty of activities to make your next California adventure one for the ages. Wine enthusiasts should prepare for an unforgettable experience, visiting a selection of the more than 100 local wineries including Carruth Cellars, Altipiano Vineyard and Winery, and Orfila Vineyards. The city’s culinary scene features cuisine from around the planet, and food lovers will encounter a variety of options in the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy.
The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is one of the largest food and wine festivals in the country, and it will take place November 12-19. This year’s edition will feature cuisine from more than 60 local restaurants such as Baklavalicious, Water Grill, and Grant Grill. The Festival will also showcase hundreds of wines from more than 150 regional wineries. Attendees can interact with celebrity chefs, culinary personalities, and winemakers one-on-one to learn about their specialties and areas of interest. Industry exhibitors ranging from cutlery makers to wine accessory manufacturers will display their wares and educate patrons about their products. Attendees can partake in a variety of satellite events including Golf Classic (golf combined with food, spirit, and wine tasting), Whisky + Wagyu (whiskey and beef lovers dream), and Flavors of Spain (a showcase of Spain’s wine and food). Don’t miss out on the Chef of the Fest Competition, which challenges new and established chefs to put their culinary skills against each other. We interviewed Kelly Beck, event representative, to learn more about this great showcase of wine and food.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KB: This is the 14th year of the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KB: The event draws 10,000 participants each year.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KB: Our festival attracts attendees over the age of 21 who want to appreciate and experience the San Diego food and beverage scene. Our crowd primarily consists of couples and groups of friends that want to enjoy it together.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
KB: This event is the largest food and wine festival in Southern California. It’s a multi-day event featuring over 150 wineries and breweries as well as over 60 of San Diego’s best restaurants.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
KB: Because the event is held throughout the week, made up of many different events, we are happy to say there is no typical event and that each is unique. What you can expect at whatever event you go to however is delicious food, great wine, and other people just as eager to be apart of it.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
KB: The festival includes cooking, demonstrations and lectures from Celebrity Chefs as well as Executive Chefs from the hottest restaurants in San Diego. A full list of guest appearances is on our website.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
KB: We search for the best San Diego hotspots and combine fan favorites with the newest food trends. There’s a variety of food types with events targeting specific genres. A full breakdown of the event schedule is on the event website.
RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?
KB: Depending on the location of the event, the atmosphere changes. Some of our events are intimate dinners (such as Whiskey + Wagyu and An Evening in Barolo + Langhe) while others are large-scale, festival style events such as Fish Taco TKO and Grand Tasting.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
KB: Our host hotel for the festival is the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina which provides a beautiful view of the San Diego Bay. This is the closest hotel property to the Grand Tasting with an easy walk to Embarcadero Marina Park North. Lyft, a sponsor of our festival, offers discounted rides to attendees during the Grand Tasting event.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
KB: It drives business to our San Diego economy because many attendees turn this festival into a multi-day vacation to experience San Diego. We also include over one hundred San Diego food and drink businesses throughout the festival.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
KB: Our Culinary Icons Dinner, hosted on Thursday Night, features an auction where proceeds go to our nonprofit organization, Fast Forward Futures, which awards scholarships in the culinary, enology, and hospitality industries.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KB: The San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is made up of unique events that cater to food and wine lovers. With an assortment of events, from a Golf Classic, to a film screening of Flix: Fermented, to a day trip down to Mexico for Expedition: Baja, participants are guaranteed to not only enjoy their time but dig into a culinary experience that’s like no other.
For more information about the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival, please visit the event website.