The Ultimate Guide to The Del Mar Wine + Food Festival

Now in its second year, the Del Mar Wine and Food Festival is officially establishing itself as one of the premier wine and food festivals on the West Coast, and we are all about it!

Founded by influential locals, food and drink experts, and professional athletes, the goal is to create not only one of the most unique culinary experiences in festival form, but also a weeklong platform for cultural diversity rooted in San Diego’s identity and cross-border communities.

“Many of us who grew up in San Diego were told if we ever wanted to make it—in food, media, sports, culture, whatever—we had to leave. But some of us writers and chefs and creatives said, ‘What if instead of doing that we stayed and helped build something?’ This festival is the culmination of everything we’ve built,” said culinary director and co-founder Troy Johnson.

“I spent the last few decades telling the stories of the region’s food and drink culture. Our partners have deep, deep roots in building cultural events for San Diego.”

Showcasing San Diego’s Active Lifestyle

One of our favorite things about the Del Mar Wine and Food Festival is that it has energy!

Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of food and wine events throughout the year, but most of them have a bit of a snobby, “let’s meet at the country club” kind of a vibe to them.

Not Del Mar Wine and Food Festival. Athletes, celebrities, and interesting personalities of all sorts come to this festival ready to bring it!

Drew Brees will host the Whispering Angel Celebrity Pickleball Tournament alongside Feeding San Diego with pro athletes and celebrity friends. Rob Machado and Alex Morgan are back as founding partners, and activations are planned over the week.

The city’s new Major League Soccer team, San Diego FC, will host a Tacos, Tortas, and Tequila Opening Night Party, while the women’s team San Diego Wave FC will host a celebration with chef Tiffani Faison from the Food Network on Sunday evening in partnership with Big Queer Food Fest. 

The San Diego Padres will join in on the fun, and closing out the festival is the Happy Fillmore Golf Classic benefiting Feeding San Diego, which allows players to tee up with professional athletes at a non-traditional golf tournament featuring great food and drink, live music at the holes, and more.

Del Mar Wine and Food Festival is anything but your typical food and wine event!

Rallying Around San Diego’s Sustainable Food Culture

Food writer, Food Network personality, and DMWFF co-founder Troy Johnson has been telling the stories of the region’s food and drink culture for 17 years.

As festival host, he invites chef friends from across the country to cook alongside some of San Diego and Baja’s top chefs at various events highlighting the region’s farmers, fisheries, and homegrown purveyors.

Headliners include:

  • Javier Placencia
  • Drew Deckman
  • Michael Voltaggio
  • Aarti Sequeira
  • Rocco DiSpirito
  • Claudia Sandoval
Culinary Concerto by Chef Claudia Sandoval for Mainly Mozart
  • Maneet Chauhan
  • Aaron May
  • Claudette Zepeda
Chef Claudette Zepeda x Iron Chef Dish Featured At VAGA
  • Tiffani Faison
  • Beau MacMillan
  • Catherine McCord
  • Brian Malarkey
Virtual Cooking With Rocco DiSpirito And Brian Malarkey
  • Eric Greenspan
  • Jackson Kalb
  • ‘The Grill Dads’ Mark Anderson and Ryan Fey

Four Walls, the Irish American Whiskey from Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, and Charlie Day will also be hosting an exclusive pop-up. 

And Kyle Cooke of Bravo’s “Summer House” fame will pop up at Grand Tasting with his RTD beverage brand Loverboy.

Del Mar Wine & Food Festival Agenda

This event is not small. You have a lot of options to choose from, so no two festival-goer’s experience is going to be exactly the same — which is cool.

The party starts on Wednesday, October 2 and continues through Monday, October 7, with no less than a dozen different events to attend.

We suggest that you plan your approach in advance — kind of like you’re planning a vacation — so you don’t miss out on anything! We’ve covered some highlights below, but you should bookmark the festival’s website for the regularly updated full agenda.

The Grand Tasting

This is the main dish. The week culminates in a two-day, all-inclusive Grand Tasting where eight acres of grassy field at Surf Sports Park will be transformed into a coastal gastronomic wonderland with over 100 restaurants and over 150 wineries and drink-makers!

Del Mar Wine & Food Festival

The Grand Tasting will pay special tribute to the city’s female leaders across various industries with an experience curated by San Diego Magazine. 

The Bad Boyz of Culinary, whose mission supports African American chefs through scholarships and mentorship, will host a beef experience in collaboration with Brandt Beef. Baja Tourism and Big Queer Food Fest will host additional marquee activations.

A lavish VIP lounge will feature powerhouse talent, including: 

  • Javier Placencia (Animalón: World’s 50 Best Latin America)
  • Travis Swikard (Callie: Esquire’s Best Restaurants)
  • Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en el Mogor: World’s 50 Best Latin America)
  • Benito Molina (Manzanilla: World’s 50 Best Latin America)
  • Roberto Alcocer (Valle: MICHELIN Star)

Beyond food and drink, the Grand Tasting will feature interactive experiences such as croquet and golf with regional sports teams, plus live music and entertainment.

Baja Excursion

When it comes to food and drink culture, San Diego and Baja are one mega-region. Head south of the border with DMWFF for an all-inclusive tour into Baja California’s thriving wine region, Valle de Guadalupe, and enjoy tastings with legendary winemakers and the finest restaurants. 

Baja Tourism Board and Provino Baja California Vintners Association will also curate an enriching activation at the two-day Grand Tasting in Del Mar.

Celebrating LGBTQ+ with the Big Queer Food Fest

DMWFF is partnering with another emerging innovator within the food fest space, Big Queer Food Fest (BQFF), which will host its inaugural event in Los Angeles in 2025.

A vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ culinary excellence, BQFF’s pop-ups at DMWFF will feature celebrity chef Tiffani Faison, who will headline various collaborations, including:

Fine Wine and Spirits Programming

The newly renovated Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will host a series of fine wine and spirits programming curated by DMWFF beverage director Ted Glennon, a world-renowned winemaker named by Food & Wine as one of the top sommeliers in America.

Ted has helped produce Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and Los Angeles Food & Wine.

Tracks will include:

  • Blind tastings with Master Sommeliers
  • Seminars led by national wine industry talent like David Ramey from Ramey Wine Cellar
  • Rare wine tastings with MS Ian Cauble and others
  • Various wine-paired dinners with celebrity chefs Rocco DiSpirito, Jackson Kalb, and Moira Hill

See you there!

We understand that you have a huge list of events to consider throughout the year…but this is NOT the one to miss!

The festival will take place from October 2 to 7, 2024.

Tickets and exclusive hotel packages are available now on the Del Mar Wine & Food Festival website.

For more information and to stay updated on newly added events, special hotel discounts, and ticket releases, follow their Instagram.

See you there, San Diego!

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