Archive for the ‘Wine Festivals and Events’ Category

Upcoming California Wine Events

July 24th, 2012 No comments

Good morning, wine lovers! At Vintage Cellars, we know you love wine, and we’re pretty sure you love California, too (we sure do!). There are dozens of fantastic wine events in California–in fact, you could probably go to a different California wine event every day for the rest of the summer if you really wanted to. Unfortunately, if you’re anything like us, you simply don’t have the time for a wine event per day. But we’re here to help. Here’s a list of some upcoming California wine events you might want to visit.

  1. Magic & Wine: Really! On August 5 in Malibu, you can hit a wine tasting followed by a David Minkin magic performance. This unusual wine event only has a few tickets left, but other dates are available.
  2. Make a Wish: Drink wine for a good cause. On August 12 in Ventura, you can taste from a list of 100+ wines and bid in a silent auction, all to benefit the Make A Wish foundation.
  3. Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival: From August 9-12, the LA Food & Wine festival will be dishing out fabulous food and wonderful wines. Wolfgang Puck is already sold out, but there’s lots of other options available including Asian themed and caviar events. Check out the lineup–this is about 15 wine events in one!
  4. San Diego Wine Classic: Right here in San Diego, this one’s a bit further off but that just gives you time to plan! November 14-18 in San Diego, it’s billed as being the largest Southern California wine event. There’s a detailed calendar on the website, and it looks like there’s something for everyone.
  5. Cabernet: If you’re into Cabernets, this one might be for you. It’s a pre-release tasting of two 96 point Cabs: the 2009 Robert Craig Mt. Veeder and Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons. August 29 in Carlsbad.
  6. 5 Course Dinner Tasting: Also on the 29th, Groth Vineyards is having a 5 course dinner and wine tasting in the Normal Heights area of San Diego. Also heavy on Cabernets!
  7. Foxen Winemaker Dinner: August 12 in San Diego, Wine Vault & Bistro is hosting a tasting dinner. The food and wine menu are both available and it sounds like a truly delicious evening.

If you’re looking for a great wine event in southern California, these are all great picks. There’s also an extensive calendar of SoCal wine events (as well as other regions) at this website.

Have you been to a recent wine event in California, or know of a San Diego event we missed that’s a must-drink? Tell us about it in the comments!

Vintage Cellars Sponsors San Diego BBB Mixer

November 15th, 2011 No comments

Founded in 1921, the San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been at the forefront of advancing marketplace trust.  By providing carefully-researched information to the public, the BBB helps consumers make informed purchase decisions, and informs them of businesses they can trust.  Searching for businesses that meet the high demands of BBB accreditation is easy, and you can browse through over 125,000 local businesses, charities, and organizations online.  Recently, the San Diego BBB hosted a November mixer which Vintage Cellars was proud to sponsor (Vintage Cellars has been a BBB accredited business since 2007).  Held at Dave & Buster’s, the event featured some of the finest area businesses.  Vintage Cellars was well represented, and below is a photo of our table at the event.  You can tell we were all having a great time!

Vintage Cellars at the San Diego BBB Mixer

Vintage Cellars' table at the San Diego BBB Mixer in November, 2011. From Left: Chris, Jake, and founder Gene Walder.

Jake Austad to Attend 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival

August 27th, 2011 No comments
Trump Wine and Beer Festival Poster

The 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival

What’s Donald Trump’s favorite wine?  We’ll soon be able to ask Jake Austad!  Remember Jake?  (He’s the guy who toured California’s wine country earlier this year, giving Vintage Cellars fun updates about his travels and tastings!)  Well, the same Jake Austad is now going to be representing Vintage Cellars at the 3rd Annual Trump Wine & Beer Festival this Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 P.M.  Held at the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, CA, the list of represented wineries, breweries, and additional exhibitors is quite impressive!  In addition to live entertainment and food concessions, general admission also includes unlimited wine and beer sampling.  Mmmmm…  Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit two worthy organizations: the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, and the Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital.  If you’re nearby, check it out!  We can’t guarantee you’ll meet Donald Trump, but we’re pretty confident you’ll be able to strike up a conversation with Jake Austad.

Virtual Wine Communities

June 13th, 2011 No comments

There really is no substitute to being a part of a friendly group of wine tasters!  Not only do you come to know one another’s preferences, you are also exposed to numerous wines you might not try if left to your own devices.  In addition to broadening your horizons, your close group of enthusiastic wine peers can make recommendations based on what they’ve come to learn about your palate, and you can do the same for them.  What is more, and self-evident, “live” group wine tasting involves real-time contact with actual wine!  Unlike one-sided online reviews, real-time conversation is dynamic with the emphasis being on the wines at hand.

Sometimes, however, finding a wine group to join can be difficult.  Other times travel may prevent you from meeting as regularly with such a group as you’d like.  This is where a “virtual” wine group enters!  In addition to your “real life” club, internet wine communities offer valuable tips, advice, and recommendations often suited to your preferences.  It’s even possible, with various apps and sites, to virtually befriend or “follow” knowledgeable online personalities with similar tastes.  With literally hundreds of online wine communities at your fingertips, choosing which ones to join can be a daunting task.

While you can choose a group or site for its ordered content, it is also fun to visit a very informal, unstructured online group like the “Facebook Wine Club” for its random presentation of reviews, opinions, and info.  Free to Facebook users, this group boasts to “appeal to all wine drinkers, from the seasoned pro to those who just wanna know more!! You can choose to read, discuss, add and request information on wine. Let’s discover wine together…”  Featuring a random mix of wine reviews, app recommendations, info about wineries and tours, plus the “quintessential”, incidental Facebook pics and spam wall posts Facebook users have come to expect, this fun page provides good fodder for casual browsing.  Similar to a “real” wine group event, you never quite know what you’re going to find!
A more ordered, less unruly community can be found at  Here, membership is also free.  You can create your own wine log, befriend members with similar tastes (without sharing your entire life story, unlike “friending” on Facebook), get custom wine recommendations, and view a host of wine blogs.  There’s also a handy search feature, similar to those found on other quality wine community sites.

For a well-versed community with expertise on both wine and food pairing, check out a new site by certified sommelier Natalie MacLean.  (Does that name ring a bell?  We found and reviewed her handy wine app, Nat Decants, back in May.)  Not only is this app still free, but so is a large portion of Natalie’s new site.  Subscribers receive a regular newsletter packed with wine articles and tips, plus you can create your own profile page.  Doing this lets you instantly access online community reviews (many of which are from educated wine enthusiasts), create a wine wish list, catalog your wine cellar, review wines and share them with the community, as well as devise shopping lists.  Similar to, showcases “featured bloggers” and contributors.  With emphasis on food as well as wine, this community is a welcomed “holistic” resource for chefs and hosts. There is also a search feature on the site.
While hundreds of online wine communities abound, give these three different sites a glace over for starters to help you discover what it is you most want to find in a virtual wine community: surprise, order, convenience, conversation, food pairings, tips, etc…  With that knowledge, we wish you the best of luck finding a virtual community that’s a good fit and complement to your “live” club!  Cheers!

Vintage Cellars’ Very Own Max Walder at New Restaurant Morimoto Napa

August 24th, 2010 No comments

Masaharu Morimoto, the chef perhaps best known for his grim-faced determination on Food Network’s Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, has recently opened up a new restaurant in the Napa Valley.  This latest venture, called Morimoto Napa, is the most recent in a long list of well -respected restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, Florida, Mumbai, and Tokyo.  Morimoto is known worldwide for his innovative style and gorgeous, artistic presentations, and his work has earned him a Michelin star (for his Tokyo restaurant, Morimoto XEX).

Max with proud father and owner of Vintage Cellars Gene Walder, enjoying a glass at the 2009 San Diego Wine and Food Festival

Morimoto Napa seems to be delivering.  Napa restaurant-goers rave over unique dishes with playful names, such as “Duck Duck Goose” (a medley of duck preparations and frozen foie gras) and Sea Urchin Carbonara (uni, undon noodles, smoked bacon and crispy shallots).  The sushi menu is, of course, extensive, with fresh ingredients flown in from Japan.  Appropriately, most of the non-sushi ingredients are grown locally.  Many recent visitors have even had the pleasure of glimpsing the Iron Chef as he expedites in the kitchen, poses for photos with fans, or even shows off his impressive knife skills behind the sushi bar.

Of course, as a Napa Valley restaurant, Morimoto Napa’s wine list can’t disappoint.  And it doesn’t–about 200 local wines are featured, with lots of the sauvignon blancs, chardonnays, rosés, rieslings and the like that are needed to pair perfectly with sushi.  It also has a wide variety of deep, rich reds that pair perfectly with the straight-from-Japan Waygu beef that Morimoto serves here.  For non-winos, there is a great sake list, and rumor has it that Morimoto will soon be brewing his own beer on-site.

But in our opinion, the best thing about Morimoto Napa is that it’s the new workplace of Max Walder, the son of the owner, Gene, here at Vintage Cellars.  Congratulations, Max!  We wish you the best in your new life of creating fabulous dishes in one of the world’s premiere wine regions.

Wine Events in Your Area

July 18th, 2010 No comments

I’m constantly on the lookout for wine events happening in San Diego, the home of Vintage Cellars.  But it’s not always easy to find out everything that’s going on, and I’m always disappointed when I find out I missed out on a great event.  So I was very happy when I recently ran across, a website that does just what its name promises–provides an extensive list of wine events going on all over the country, with handy links to more information.  They include everything from wine tastings to classes, and from wine dinners to special events.

If you’re in San Diego, click here to see a list of wine events going on right now.  If you’re anywhere else, click the website link above and stop missing out!

Vintage Cellars at the 2009 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

November 22nd, 2009 1 comment

Yesterday, the Vintage Cellars gang got to enjoy some great wine and great people at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival. This annual event attracts over 8,000 restaurateurs and wine experts who cater to more than 8,000 thousand hungry foodies with unlimited samples.  Held at the gorgeous Embarcadero Park North, which overlooks San Diego Bay, yesterday’s event was the high point of a five-day culinary festival.  One hundred seventy wineries and spirit producers and 70 of San Diego’s award-winning fine dining restaurants offered tastes to food lovers from around the world.  For anyone who loves food and wine, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is truly a can’t-miss festival, and one of the best events offered in San Diego.

The venue

The venue

Gene, Jake and Chris had a successful day connecting with new clients and socializing with a crowd that loves wine as much as they do.  Gene said, “This is a great event and the venue is incredible.  I’m pretty amazed that there are so many wine enthusiasts here.”  Indeed, the Vintage Cellars booth was full all day as interested wine lovers checked out some of Vintage Cellars’ past projects and imagined themselves seated on chairs made from vintage wine barrels, enjoying a perfectly aged bottle from their private cellars.

Gene talks to some interested wine enthusiasts

Gene talks to some interested wine enthusiasts

But the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival wasn’t all work and no play for the Vintage Cellars crew.  Beyond getting a chance to interact with new clients, they had a great time tasting wine and sampling great food.  Jake especially loved the wines offered by Ahnfeldt Winery, a Napa Valley winery that grows five vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.  As for me, choosing a favorite wine was too tough to call, but two food standouts were an herb gnocchi from Anthology and a surprisingly delicious tempura-battered cheesecake dessert taco from Blue Point.

Wine lover Rachel Erwin poses with the Riedel glasses she won from the Vintage Cellars raffle.  Congratulations, Rachel!

Wine lover Rachel Erwin poses with the Riedel glasses she won from the Vintage Cellars raffle. Congratulations, Rachel!

Jake poses with some photos at the Vintage Cellars booth

Jake with some photos at the Vintage Cellars booth

If you didn’t make it to the San Diego Wine and Food Festival this year, mark it in your 2010 calendar today.  The Vintage Cellars gang had a great time drinking, eating, and showing off their work to the foodies and wine aficionados of San Diego.  One customer, admiring Vintage Cellars’ past projects portfolio, remarked, “You know, the cellars they build are not just a place to keep your wine.  They are a shrine for your wine.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Local Wine Events

August 28th, 2009 No comments

Have you just moved to a new city?  Have you just started to cut your palate on some good wine?  Did you just purchase a 110 bottle wine cabinet and you want to experiment on some new wines?  Get on the internet and start searching for local or regional wine events.  Here in San Diego, there is an incredible event, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.  Each November this wonderful wine event is held on the San Diego Bay and 2008 was my first year in attendance.  Let me sum this up: I already have my tickets for 2009.  The atmosphere was amazing, the food incredible and the wine poured faster then you can taste.  Hundreds of wineries and restaurants lined the park just begging for you to enjoy. 

 During my time around the wine business, I’ve also spent my fair time at local wine stores.  Many middle to high end wine shops will have weekly tasting for customers or club members.  These tasting are generally less then $20 and give you a chance to taste different blends, wine regions or varietals.  This is a great opportunity to create a relationship with a wine merchant and increase your wine tasting range. 

 Don’t miss out on local wine events in your area. Google words like wine festival (city name), local wine events (city name) or wine tasting (city name).  Enjoy the events and the entertainment to follow…