2019 Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival Was Expectedly Delicious

The Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, which graces the grassy spot between the Newport Beach Civic Center and its modern-chic library each October, attracts some the finest food and wine purveyors on the planet. Since its start six years ago, the event has brought names known both near and far to Newport Beach—Top Chef contestants, James Beard award winners, Food Network stars, award-winning culinary masters and of course, world-class winemakers. This year proved just as unforgettable tasty, and whether you were able to participate or had to watch from the #FOMO-foodie sidelines, here’s a festival recap to whet your appetite for next year:

Chefs Philippe Haddad and Hubert Keller raise their glasses to a successful cooking demo. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]

By the Numbers

  • 7,000 guests attended the four-day celebration.
  • 40+ of Southern California’s top restaurants participated in tasting events.
  • An estimated 175,000 bites were served during the Pacific Sales Grand Tasting on Saturday and Sunday.
  • 250+ wineries and spirit-makers poured vino and hand-crafted libations.
The Cristal & Petrossian Caviar pairing hosted by superstar Chef Hubert Keller and Orange County’s Chef Alan Greeley of the former Golden Truffle. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]

Festival Favorites

As a new twist on a delectable classic, the Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival team launched the Diamond Club lounge this year, an elite experience experience complete with sips of ultra-rare wines like Opus One and The Mascot, and the unique chance to mix and mingle with the culinary and wine industry pros in attendance.

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Chef Jamie Gwen and Chris Radomski, co-founder of Duke Spirits. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]
Made by the master – Chef Nobu Matsuhisa prepares sushi during his cooking demo. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]

Another first-time milestone had a charitable edge; the festival partnered with Covenant House California for the Opening Night Gala and Silent Auction. Guests of the gala were served a five-course meal prepared by Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars and participated in a silent auction with luxury jewelry and rare wines up for grabs. The evening raised $250,000 for Covenant House, and those funds will go directly to help the organization provide housing and supportive services to California youth facing homelessness.

Chef Shirley Chung fires up the Beijing-spiced lamb at the appropriately titled, Fire It Up! waterfront barbecue event. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]
Homemade strawberry sherbet from Pelican Grill drizzled with reduced balsamic and topped with fresh microgreens.

Additional 2019 highlights included the Nobu lunch demo with renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa; the Opening Night Gala with plating chefs Richard Blais, Antonia Lofaso, John Tesar and Kelsey Barnard Clark; extremely rare vertical library tastings from Opus One and JUSTIN Isosceles; experiential wine seminars like Cult Wines of Napa featuring California’s “renegade” Cabernet Sauvignon makers; the Cristal & Petrossian Caviar pairing hosted by superstar Chef Hubert Keller and Orange County’s Chef Alan Greeley of the former Golden Truffle; and the Fire It Up! waterfront barbecue events featuring Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars fan favorites like Brooke Williamson, Shirley Chung, Casey Thompson, and other epicurean masterminds like Art Smith, John Tesar, and Adrian de Berardinis.

Chef and Restauranteur Antonia Lofaso (from Top Chef, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Restaurant Startup, to name a few) pours wine for the delighted crowd. [Photo Credit: PencilBox Studios]

Get Ready for 2020

Next year, the Newport Beach Wine & Food will take place Thursday, Sept. 24 to Sunday, Sept. 27, with a new oceanfront location for the weekend Grand Tastings. Follow @NewportBeachWineAndFood to get the latest updates on lineup announcements, early bird ticket pricing and 2020 event details. If you’re thinking the festival just ended and it might be a little soon to think about next year, remember: It’s never too early for wine.