Preview: The 4th Annual VinDiego: San Diego Wine & Food Festival

Posted: March 29, 2016 in Events, Wine
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The VinDiego Wine & Food Festival returns for its fourth year this weekend at Liberty Station in San Diego. This two-day event allows wine enthusiasts to immerse themselves in wine culture, whether at a seminar, a small-scale tasting, or at the grand tasting festival. Friday will see smaller events with low limits to keep things intimate with the attendees, while the Saturday event will see thousands of attendees sipping and savoring all afternoon. The Saturday tasting event provides attendees with three hours (four with VIP upgrade) of unlimited wine pours and food samples from the participating businesses. As wine tends to have a larger consumer base than craft beer, this festival covers much more ground than a typical beer fest. General admission presale costs $105 and allows entry at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $135 and allows entry at 3pm. The festival ends promptly at 7pm. No one under 21 may attend the event. The surrounding areas have free parking lots, but these fill up fast, so I suggest carpooling plus arriving early to secure a parking spot.

The entire festival grounds at NTC Liberty Station spans the outside courtyard area, plus the interior of the event center. Starting off with the event center building, a variety of exhibitors usually set up at the tables inside. The exhibitors include a handful of wineries, plenty of non-hot food samples, a few non-alcoholic drinks, and merchandise vendors.

The majority of the attendees tend to remain outside in the courtyard area, where most of the wineries set up. Along with the few hot food vendors out here serving hot food, all the wineries group up by region. Each individual row of wineries comes from a different region, most of which derives from the west coast. For example, one row of wineries would represent Napa Valley, while another row would contain wineries from Oregon. Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy live local music that they can all dance to.

The VinDiego Festival markets this event as a wine & food festival. In the past, they did not appear to have enough food to satiate all the attendees. The hot food vendors saw endless lines of people waiting for food, and many of them ran out of food long before the event ended. The last time I attended VinDiego, I never had to wait for any wine, but I did not obtain much food due to the long lines that moved rather slowly. As a result, I stuck with the food vendors inside the event center, opting to not receive any hot food. Hopefully VinDiego will invite some more food vendors to the festival this time.

The wines flow all day, never appearing to run out. With enough wine to fill a football stadium, VinDiego does not slack off with the wine. This event does not utilize volunteers to pour the drinks – the representatives from the wineries themselves pour the wines. This allows them to better describe the wines as they poured, a notion that greatly assists those with less knowledge about wine, like me.

While San Diego represents the craft beer capital of the west coast, VinDiego proves that San Diego has a strong wine presence as well. Craft beer still has yet to curb a large portion of consumer purchases worldwide, while wine already sits up there as one of the most purchased consumer goods annually. Whether you have as much knowledge as a sommelier or would like to get started with wine, VinDiego makes a great event to check out for all your wine resources. Like their Facebook page and Follow them on Twitter for event updates and information regarding any future events.

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