Third Annual VinDiego Wine and Food Festival

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The epitome of the San Diego lifestyle: palm trees, sunshine, food and wine.

Liberty Station in Point Loma, the converted naval training center, is now an Arts and Culture District, boasts many dining establishments, shops, and arts clubs and facilities. On this perfect San Diego weekend we were encouraged to relax, sip, swirl, taste, learn and enjoy Vin Diego- and we did.

The Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting included a silent auction benefitting the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank. This quiet and more exclusive event was a perfect opportunity to talk one-on-one with winemakers and personnel closest to the wineries, as well as taste some excellent wines. Each winery had 2-4 Reserve wines for us to taste. There was a nice array of appetizers and cheeses for patrons to enjoy with their wines. They also had live music to keep things cool and upbeat. The wines were stellar.

Some personal favorites were

• Jada Wines from Paso Robles. Did you know they were going Biodynamic? Yep! I can’t wait to taste theit new wines.

• Pomar Junction Zinfandel from Paso Robles. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

• And a new favorite winery Ascension Cellars. Their motto is “Elevate Your Senses” and their wines do. Winemaker Erick Allen said he tries to make wine blends where you can taste each varietal in the wine, and I thought he achieved that spectacularly. His Rhone and Bordeaux blends were so perfectly balanced.

The Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon was al fresco around the bubbling water garden. Patrons were dressed to the nines: ladies in their lovely summer sun dresses, guys in aloha shirts and shorts. Soft music from two musicians was piped throughout the event and created a nice background. At the end of the afternoon, many people were dancing.

70 wineries from California and Oregon were represented as well as 18 San Diego restaurants. Some personal favorites include: Sweet Cheeks Winery from Eugene Oregon. Their Pinot Noir was a typical Oregon Pinot: rich with layers of flavors including “Forest Floor”- which they call “Oregon Funk” and is what I look for in an Oregon Pinot.

I was excited to see Klinker Brick Winery from Lodi. They are famous for their Zinfandels. We tasted their Old Ghost Zinfandel. (You gotta love Lodi Zins. They are a class unto themselves.) Round Pond Estate, from the Rutherford region of Napa did not disappoint with their Cabernet Sauvignon.

Only three San Diego wineries were present: Cordiano Winery, Rock Canyon Vineyards and Solterra Winery. This makes me very sad. I would like to see more local wineries at these events as I feel that it’s a perfect way to get their name out to people who still don’t know that we have a great wine region only 30 minutes away from our front door.

A friend just opened Pacific Times, a specialty market and bread bakery, soon to be wine shop also, in the Moreno neighborhood of San Diego. It was great to see him with his breads and accoutrement.

One of the best things from this event was to see people enjoying themselves on a sunny afternoon, tasting new wines and foods, enjoying the music and being around people who share the same passions.