INside SD Report: As an ever-appreciative San Diego resident and a good life connoisseur indelibly on the hunt for the best of the best, it's incumbent on me to experience and inform you, dear reader, about notable San Diego-area "happenings" — you know, those society events, grand openings, launch parties and such where the A-listers lurk — and that make the local luxury scene tick.
Here's the INside track on yet another sensational San Diego soirée:
The Event: 7th Annual San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival
The Scoop: I recently joined an army of fellow gourmands and oenophiles for a yearly local food, wine and spirits event like none other — the 7th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. This highly anticipated event is a premier international showcase of the world's top wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods.
This year, fully 170 wine and spirit purveyors, 70 of San Diego's top fine dining restaurants, gourmet food companies, cookbook authors, and a bevy of celebrity chefs participated in the Festival to the delight of hardened foodies who attended in droves.
With the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival having established itself as a world-class wine and culinary venue, the 6-day epicurean extravaganza was replete with one fabulous event after another.
The delicious line-up of activities included:
VIP Kickoff Party
San Diego Wine Rave
Cooking Classes by James Beard award-winning chefs
Wine Tasting Classes
Tastemaker Dinner Series
Industry Insider's Party
Elegant Reserve Tasting & Silent Auction
Star-Studded Grand Tasting Event
Chef of the Fest Competition
Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruise
Celebrity Chef Luncheon and Live AWF
Big Bottle Auction, Presented by Wine Spectator 1
Scores of celebrity chefs and notable industry personalities were in attendance throughout, adding yet more allure to the festivities.
One of the events I attended was the Reserve Tasting & Silent Auction where more than 150 award-winning winemakers poured from their reserve, library or barrel sample wines. This event also featured a selection of gourmet food stations from some of the city's top caterers and the mega-collector's Silent Auction.
I was pleased to see attendees feverishly bidding on great values and hard to come by vintages, large format bottles, libraries, private dining experiences and more, with auction proceeds benefitting the American Institute of Wine & Food culinary arts scholarship programs.
The festival culminated with the unforgettable Grand Event, which I also attended. The ingenuity and caliber of food being produced on-site was staggering, as were the 800 varietals of wines being poured by the 170 wineries in attendance. Even the inclement weather at this year's event didn't dissuade the appearance, enthusiasm or appetites of the food-and-fun-loving crowd.
The Bottom Line: Fueled by Fast Forward Event Productions, the Festival benefits the American Institute of Wine & Food's culinary arts scholarship program. Beyond its philanthropic purpose, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival event is an undeniable must for anyone with a penchant for fine wine, quality spirits, gourmet fare of the highest order, and camaraderie with others who have an insatiable craving for life.
The 411: To learn more about the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival and to see a complete schedule of events that took place this year, visit www.WorldOfWineEvents.com.
Merilee Kern is JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor. She scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating product, service and travel "musts." Submissions are accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com. View all of Merilee's Luxe List articles from here (scroll to page bottom) and follower her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor.