Ranch & Coast Magazine

November 2023

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All Good ings Award-winning annual epicurean celebration joins forces with ecological impact organization to forge deeper connections between foodies and food T HE SAN DIEGO BAY WINE & FOOD Festival returns for its 19th year on November 6, kicking off a weeklong extravaganza showcasing the finest in food, wine, beer, and spirits from producers, growers, fisherman, vintners, distillers, and more originating from not just the immediate San Diego area, but also Southern California and south into Baja California, Mexico and beyond. e festival boasts tastings, panels, parties, and dining events at sites throughout San Diego, with staggering opportunities to engage in world-class epicurean experiences that read like a foodie bucket list. ink: A November 10 dinner hosted at Solana Beach's Ranch 45 featuring its own Chefs Aron Schwartz and DuVal Warner, who'll join forces with Bernard Guillas, Matt Doyle of the world- famous resort e Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, and Suzette Gresham of San Francisco's two Michelin-starred Acquerello, paired with Louis Latour wines presented by the distinguished house's U.S. president, Bernard Retornaz. Or, also on November 10, an exclusive opportunity for a whiskey tasting led by bourbon expert Tom Fischer. Titled "Who's Your Pappy Van Winkle," the flight of six premium whiskeys includes (obviously) the rare Pappy Van Winkle 23 — which runs upwards of $5,000 a bottle. Excursions include a chauffeured, all-day jaunt to Mexico's the Valle de Guadalupe, a five-stop exploration that includes lunch at Michelin-starred binational chef Roberto Alcocer's extraordinary Malva, boasting a tasting menu prepared by Alcocer himself. Of course, if it's a taste-sized portioned fun day in the sun you seek, that, too, is among the multitude of events offered. But for all the indulgence for which it is renowned (after all, the festival was named 2023's "Best Wine Festival" in USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards), the festival's co-founder, Michelle Metter, believes it has the ability — and responsibility — to do more for the community. "We have guest chefs who join us from all over the country, but our real spotlight is on what we call our 'bio region,' and that is all of the farmers, fishermen, [and] producers, who have their hands in what we eat, and the way that we eat, locally," says Metter. She saw a natural synergy between her goals for the festival and the work of e Ecology Center, a Regenerative Organic Certified farm in San Juan Capistrano that's actively engaged in moving the needle toward a more sustainable ecological future through education and collaboration with agricultural and culinary leaders. e two forged a partnership with this year's event through which e Ecology Center will help shape the festival itself as an advisor, and a portion of proceeds from the festival's ticket sales will go directly to center, supporting its work advancing sustainability in our food system. Rather than using negative tactics to teach the importance of sustainability, Jonathan Zaidman, Director Of Impact & Partnerships at e Ecology Center, says, "It's much more fun and interesting, and in my opinion, more effective to lead with experience and with beauty and with culture and say, 'Hey, try this meal. It's gonna be the best thing you've ever had. Doesn't that inspire you to potentially participate at a higher level in your local food economy?'" e opportunity to connect with a like-minded community, says Zaidman, makes the festival "the perfect way to hold a movement and help push it uphill." e San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival will conclude with a Grand Fiesta on November 12 at Ingram Plaza in Liberty Station. sandiegowineclassic.com Focus philanthropy San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival co-founder Michelle Metter, photographed with her daughters at Mesa College. The college's culinary program students are engaged in preparation of foods for the festival's events, and many students have benefited from the more than $600,000 in scholarship funds raised at the festival since its inception BY DEANNA MURPHY | PHOTO BY VINCENT KNAKAL ranchandcoast.com 44 NOVEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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