19th San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Returns With Week-Long Schedule of Culinary Innovation
In its 19th year, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is once again putting the city in the national spotlight by bringing together an unprecedented roster of over 100 regionally and nationally recognized chefs and over 800 wine and spirits selections for a weeklong experiential foray into culinary innovation and storytelling.
The event also emphasizes the influence of Mexican culture, heritage, and gastronomy on Southern California’s exploding food scene.
In partnership with Southern California sustainability champions The Ecology Center, and once again supporting future industry pioneers with its annual Scholarship Program, the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival remains at the forefront of the culinary conversation, and is continuing to elevate the local voices of the communities it showcases.
Named The Best Wine Festival by USA TODAY
As the nation’s only festival that occurs simultaneously in two countries, and recognized as the Best Wine Festival by USA TODAY in the 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards 2023, this year’s event will host over 11,000 wine and food enthusiasts in both San Diego and Mexico for 7 days of dynamic, flavor-packed scheduling.
The Festival welcomes representation from some of the world’s most distinctive wine regions including:
- Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance and Travel Paso
- Sonoma County Winegrowers Commission
- Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association; Lake County Winegrape Commission
- Lodi Winegrowers
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Weekend
The annual Grand Weekend is the capstone of the Festival experience and includes can’t-miss events over three action-packed days: the Grand Decant on Friday, November 10th, the Grand Tasting and bEATS After Party on Saturday, November 11th, and the Grand Fiesta on Sunday, November 12th.
The Grand Decant | November 10th
Kick off the weekend at the Grand Decant, a premier wine, beer and spirits tasting event at Julep Venue where guests can engage with top sommeliers, wineries, winemakers, and purveyors during the 3-hour walk-around tasting and refresh with bites from specialty vendors along the way. The Festival provides a global perspective of some of the best wines produced in the world including distinguished regions like: Paso Robles, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Lodi, Temecula, San Diego, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Portugal to name a few.
The Grand Tasting | November 11th
The city’s biggest gastronomic celebration and one of the most anticipated events of the year, the Grand Tasting is situated along the San Diego Bay’s expansive waterfront Embarcadero — one of the most pristine locations the city has to offer.
The Festival and Port of San Diego are welcoming James Beard award-winners, celebrity personalities, chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants, and custom activations and experiences designed to surprise and delight all interests along the culinary spectrum.
With the sparkling Bay serving as the backdrop, Festival attendees will have access to a gastronomic playground of opportunity with over 200 wineries, breweries and spirit purveyors to sip from and over 60 of the West Coast and Baja’s top chefs and restaurants serving up creative and diverse cuisine to sample.
Attendees can also preview gourmet foods, art, live musical entertainment, and the always popular “Chef of the Fest Competition,” an action-packed culinary showdown where chefs battle it out for the title of “2023 People’s Choice Chef of the Fest” and up to $5000 in cash and prizes.
Get Interactive at the Grand Tasting
If guests didn’t make it to Coachella this year, Cohn Restaurant Group has them covered with its mini festival-within-a-festival version of a music-driven foodie paradise. Five chefs representing restaurants in the Cohn Restaurant portfolio will serve bites alongside a dedicated mix of beer, wine and spirit vendors, with dessert features, a photobooth, piñata, and giveaway.
“Basil Hayden Diner”
The official American whiskey brand of the Michelin Guide US is opening the Basil Hayden Diner, serving craft cocktails paired with a featured specialty dish from the Michelin Guide. Enjoy the fare the top tastemakers might choose, with bartenders discussing pairings and a vibey atmosphere to match.
“The Brandt Beef Experience”
Meat lovers should prep their appetites for the Brandt Beef + One World Meat Co. experience, an energetic opportunity to shake it to the sounds against the beautiful coastal view while sampling a variety of top local chefs’ unique takes on 100% source-verified and natural Brandt Beef. Drinks supplied by Storyhouse Spirits and Bay City Brewing.
The VIP Experience at the Grand Tasting
Roberto Alcocer (Malva, Valle de Guadalupe and Valle, Oceanside), Eric Bost (Campfire + Jeune et Jolie, Carlsbad), Travis Swikard (Callie, San Diego), Claudia Sandoval (Claudia’s Cocina, Master Chef Latino), William Eick (Matsu, Oceanside), Matt Doyle (Sundeck at The Little Nell, Aspen), Brad Wise (Trust Restaurant Group, San Diego), Suzette Gresham (Aquerello, San Francisco), Bernard Guillas (Maître Cuisinier de France), VIP Host Jack
Ford (Taj Farms) and many more!
Guests who opt for the VIP Experience will be treated to early entrance and a special “Live Fire Experience” with the region’s top award-winning chefs flexing their creative muscles with the interplay of open flame and rustic grilling and smoking accessories.
VIP Host Jack Ford of Taj Farms is adding a local, bespoke element with curated delicacies that will be fermented, cured and broken down by students in the nearby Mesa College Culinary Arts program.
Caviar, live music, a lounge-like atmosphere and specialty winemakers including Maison Louis Latour, Hourglass and Chateau Montelena pouring premium vintages round out this very special VIP experience.
bEATS: Music to Your Mouth After Party presented by House of Blues
It wouldn’t be a party without an after-party, right? Turn up the bEATS because it’s music to your mouth at the official Festival after party hosted by House of Blues beginning at 8PM on Saturday, November 11th. House of Blues is curating live music from the masters of yacht rock, Band Overboard, along with chefs’ bites, lux libations and good vibes.
For a full list of participating chefs, wineries, vendors and lifestyle brands, as well as more information about the Grand Tasting early entry options, VIP experiences, and bEATS presented by House of Blues, visit the website here.
The Grand Fiesta
In partnership with the Consulate of Mexico and iHeart Media, the Grand Fiesta is the culmination of the Grand Weekend and takes place on Sunday, November 12th at Liberty Station’s expansive Ingram Plaza.
Dedicated to the vibrant culinary culture of Latin America and Southern California, Grand Fiesta features live performances, immersive brand experiences including wine and spirits of Mexico, culinary stations curated by award-winning chefs from San Diego, Baja and beyond.
Bocuse d’Or honorees including Chefs David Alarcon, Diego Vargas, and Oliver Seki will join other award-winning talent to serve their distinct versions of Latin cuisine.
The beloved annual “Taco TKO” competition will return, and the most celebrated taco makers on both sides of the border will battle it out for “Most Awesome Taco” in the city as voted on by attendees and an esteemed panel of judges. Chefs with winning tacos can win up to $3000 in cash and prizes!
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is proud to once again partner with the Consulate General of Mexico to introduce industry pioneers in and from Mexico, and infuse the overall event with the understanding that the future of food and dining in the region is being defined by efforts in both countries.
Throughout the 7-day Festival schedule, attendees will be invited to discover the most notable Mexican beer, wine, spirits and cuisine, while having the opportunity to engage in person with the people behind the craft.
The annual Baja Culinary Expedition on Wednesday, November 8th offers attendees immersive and intimate access to the heart of Mexican gastronomic and oenological innovation as Baja Wine + Food’s Fernando Gaxiola joins forces with the following:
- Chef Robert Alcocer (Malva, Valle de Guadalupe and Valle, Oceanside)
- Chefs David Castro and MaribelAldaco Silva (Fauna)
- Véronica Santiago (Mina Penelope Winery)
- Cristina Pino (MichaMicha)
- Lulú Martínez Ojeda (Bruma Vincola)
- Kris Magnussen (Lechuza Vineyards)
- Phil Gregory (Vena Cava Wine)
Get ready for an intimate, all-day exploration of some of the most prestigious wineries, restaurants, and experiential delights found in Valle de Guadalupe.
Stateside, Friday’s Grand Decant will feature a series of wines from Valle de Guadalupe selected to highlight the uniquely compelling viticulture of this dynamic region. On Saturday,the Festival’s noteworthy Baja Pavilion at the Grand Tasting will invite guests to interactively explore the rich history and depth of flavor unique to Mexican gastronomy.
The Grand Fiesta on Sunday, November 12th is the culmination of these Grand Weekend events, as the multicultural talents of San Diego, Baja, Southern California and beyond are united and showcased in recognition of their inextricable influence on each other, and the trajectory ofthe industry.
Marquee Chef-Hosted Specialty Dining
World-class talent meets local innovation as culinary pioneers from across the country collaborate at some of San Diego’s most renowned restaurants to host intimate, thoughtfully curated dining experiences.
- Local award-winning legend of sustainability, Chef Davin Waite, and his culinary team will demonstrate exactly how versatile and elevated plant-based dining can be at his Oceanside restaurant, The Plot, during Plantscape: A Boundary-Bending Dinner Series on Monday, November 6th.
- Owner and Chef William Eick will welcome attendees to Oceanside for an intimate 6-Course Sake-Pairing Dinner at his renowned restaurant Matsu on Tuesday, November7th.
- Paradisaea’s acclaimed Chef Mark Welker is pulling out all the stops for his decadent 4-Course Wine Dinner with Paradisaea and Skipstone Wines, featuring truffles, caviar,and four varietals from this exclusive Alexander Valley winemaker during two different seatings on Wednesday, November 8th.
- Award-winning Chefs Aron Schwartz and DuVal Warner of Ranch 45 are partneringwith Michelin-acclaimed Chef Suzette Gresham (Acquerello), Chef Matt Doyle (TheLittle Nell) and Maître Cuisinier de France Chef Bernard Guillas for the return of the fan-favorite Louis Latour Stars Wine Dinner on Friday, November 10th in one of the two Festival events at their Solana Beach restaurant.
Niche Trends and Themes
Truffle-lovers, whiskey connoisseurs, game meat-enthusiasts, and oenophiles rejoice as this year’s series of special events offer opportunities to lean into specific interests and explore current industry trends.
- Chef David Sim of Kingfisher will highlight his take on authentic Vietnamese French-influenced cuisine with a California sensibility in a very special Fall Chef’s Table Experience in collaboration with Festival Sponsor Westward Whiskey on Tuesday, November 7th.
- That same evening, Chef Chris Hutchison will be unveiling his 3-course rustic-meets modern Wild Game Dinner featuring Tignanello, Toscana 2019 at downtown San Diego outpost Huntress, which takes a run through the forest with quail, rabbit, and venison dishes followed by a mushroom panna cotta.
- Chef Accursio Lota has crafted a 5-course culinary adventure celebrating the flavors of Alba’s famed White Truffles and Umbria’s exquisite Black Truffles with Truffle Euphoria: A Journey Through Italy’s Black and White Gems at his North Park staple, Cori Trattoria, on Wednesday, November 8th.
- Sommelier and restaurateur Dan Valerino and Joe Bower, along with Dan Walsh, of Festival Sponsors Green Acre and Jackson Family Wines, respectively, are coming together to present a top lineup of pairings for their Sustainable Oregon Wine 4- Course Feast, a curated family-style dining experience on Thursday, November 9th.
For a full list of specialty dining events, visit the website here.
Education With Industry Tastemakers
On Friday, November 10th, Festival-goers will have a series of opportunities to expand their minds, and palates. What better way than directly from the professionals who know these interests best?
- During Prestige Cuvée + Caviar from 10AM to 11:30AM, Attendees will embark on a guided tasting tour with Master Sommelier Josh Orr through France’s top Champagne houses – Roederer’s Cristal, Moët’s Dom, and Veuve’s La Grande Dame paired alongside sustainably-farmed premium caviar from San Francisco-based The Caviar Co. whose Co-Founder, Petra Bergstein-Higby, will be on hand to provide education.
- The Court of Master Sommeliers utilizes a systematic approach to assessing a wine’s vintage, varietal, and region, and our Blind Tasting Masterclass will take oenophiles on a journey with Master Sommelier Josh Orr into these advanced tasting methods. From 1PM to 3:30PM, guests will practice the sensory perception techniques used by wine professionals and sommeliers around the world.
- Undoubtedly one of the most desired Festival moments for whiskey lovers, globally-acclaimed Bourbon expert, Tom Fischer, will taste enthusiasts through a flight of six premium whiskeys – including the coveted and elusive Pappy Van Winkle 23 – during his Who’s Your Pappy Van Winkle event from 3:30PM to 5PM.
Immersive Cultural Experiences + Storytelling
San Diego is home to a rich culinary history established by the generations of immigrants and culturally-diverse communities who have developed gastronomic enclaves here throughout the century.
This year’s Love Thy Neighbor(hood) Expedition: Little Italy on Tuesday, November 7th and Love Thy Neighbor(hood) Expedition: Convoy District on Thursday, November 9th will allow participants to explore two such areas, immersing themselves in the captivating stories of how these neighborhoods have transformed, while
engaging in exclusive and meaningful experiences over the course of these 4-hour walking tours.
At The Secret Family Recipe – The Magic Behind the Making of a Chef by Bad Boyz of Culinary on Wednesday, November 8th, an inspiring lineup of chefs – DuVal Warner(Ranch 45), private chefs Daniela Martinez and Jessica DeOcampo, and James Beard-nominated Keith Corbin (Alta Adams) – will share the places, people, and cuisine that have laid the foundation for who they are today.
Featuring six courses, each inspired by a secret family recipe, this dinner is a fundraiser for Kelston Moore and Tony Bennett’s Bad Boyz of Culinary, as they provide guest-of-honor and culinary apprentice Rasonte Parsons, a quadruple amputee, with innovative prosthetics to propel her on her journey to becoming a chef.
Vocal for Local
The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival has long made it its mission to shine a national spotlight on not only local chefs and restaurateurs, but the farmers, fishermen, and specialty purveyors who work alongside them to make this area one of the most compelling culinary destinations in the country.
The foundation for this week-long gastronomic celebration has been built right here in San Diego’s own neighborhoods, and as world-class talent converges on the city, the Festival continues to direct focus to the individuals in the local food ecosystem who have enabled an event of this caliber to thrive here.
During this year’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, November 11th, attendees are invited to participate in the Vocal for Local – Tasting Tour through San Diego’s Craft Beverage Scene event, which celebrates the iconic San Diego producers that have become household names across the nation and around the world over the course of the craft beer and spirit movement.
A Sustainable Future
The perennial mission of the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is to recognize and elevate the biodiversity and innovation of San Diego and its surrounding regions, therefore it is taking deliberate action to help sustain the environmental integrity of this dynamic community.
This year’s partnership with The Ecology Center, the 501c3 non-profit and a 28-acreRegenerative Organic Certified™ farm and education center located in San Juan Capistrano, reflects a commitment to becoming better stewards of the local environment, and the Festival is also proud to recognize The Ecology Center as a 2023 financial beneficiary of the event.
The Festival will donate a portion of overall ticket sales to the Center as part of its ongoing commitment to investing in future local trailblazers who are leading the charge around the conversation about better, healthy living.
See you there!
See you there, San Diego!