The Pacific Wine and Food Classic is so California. Self-described as an “exclusive VIP-only” event, this Saturday by the water attracts folks who want to dress in their best resort-chic beige and wide-brimmed hats to get wasted and sunburnt, but in a classy way.
The rub: all guests are designated VIPs, a contradiction many seem willing to overlook as they’re greeted with a Spanish liqueur cocktail the moment they walk in. Then, it’s off to the dining tables to sample 100 wines and food from winemakers and 31 of the West coast’s top executive chefs, including “Chopped” Champion Joe Youkhan, BlueGold’s Jorge Valines, Descanso Restaurant’s Jose Angulo, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens’ Rich Mead, Palenque’s Roland Rubalcava, Sushi Roku’s Hiroshi Shima, Karla Vasquez of Chelas Mexican Kitchen, the folks behind Los Angeles’s beloved Gus’s Fried Chicken and more. And with a Bubbly Bar of sparkling wine, a Taco Garden packed with cold beer, a Wine Beach Lounge where you can sink into your glass and a sandy Silent Disco to dance it all out, you could get drunk on the resort-vibes alone.
Bites will be provided by a lineup of more than 30 local restaurants and food purveyors. Guests can look forward to Orange County chefs like BlueGold’s Jorge Valines, Descanso Restaurant’s Jose Angulo, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens’ Rich Mead, Palenque’s Roland Rubalcava, Sushi Roku’s Hiroshi Shima, Xacalli Kitchen’s Vincent Espinoza and more. Other participating restaurants include Gus’s Fried Chicken, SET Sushi & Steak and Red O.
Once you’re good and boozy, you can try World Champion Paella Chef Leo Razo’s giant paella, packed with seafood and spices. Trevor’s at the Tracks will be cooking up their delicious dishes again, which last time included a Wok the Wok Curried Cioppino, a saucy, warm dish with shrimp, scallops, salmon, lemongrass and ginger swimming in a spicy coconut curry tomato broth. There from the very first Pacific Wine and Food Classic, Five Crowns & Side Door brings the succulent steaks with whipped potatoes to balance your belly full of Maker’s Mark.
- Tickets for this culinary experience are limited. It will sell out. Around 800 people attended in 2022.
- To enter an hour early at 1 p.m., VIP Early Entrance Tickets are $240. To enter with the rest at 2 p.m., VIP Tickets are $195. Event ends at 5 p.m.
- This event is strictly for folks 21 years and older. No exceptions.
- This event was voted the #1 food event in the country by USA TODAY.
- If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Pacific Wine and Food Classic partners with VEA Newport Beach Resort and Spa, around the corner from the festivities.
- Want to explore the stunning So Cal vistas a bit more? Huntington Beach is a quick 17 min from the site, and Fifty Grande’s got you covered with our article about Best Things to Do in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Where does the event take place?
The 2023 Pacific Wine & Food Classic takes place at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, Ca 92660
What is the nearest airport?
Two smaller airports are nearby. The closest, only 6.5 miles from the Pacific Wine and Food Classic, is the Orange County John Wayne Airport. 24.5 miles from the event is the Long Beach Airport. And LAX is 45.5 miles away.
What should I expect as a first-time attendee?
It’s a foodie’s dream. It’s an upscale food festival and wine festival mashed together, so you can expect incredible food from local chefs, exquisite wines, premium cocktails and a flair of Southern California. (The whole event begins as soon as you’re there. You’ll receive a welcome cocktail made by Licor 43 upon entering.)
Can you share some details of last year’s event?
The food offered at last year’s Pacific Wine & Food Classic included 30 restaurants and food purveyors. From the festival website, notables included: “Cuban and Spanish classic Nuevo Latino cuisine from Habana, fresh-caught seafood from Hook & Anchor, locally sourced and seasonally inspired fare from Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens, authentic Central Mexican street-inspired cuisine from Descanso, award-winning giant paella from Villa Roma and Cambalache, inventive American cuisine from Lido Bottle Works, delicious desserts from Sweet Surrender Specialty Desserts and Pastries, and more,” according to last year’s website. (We also heard there was a 42-foot charcuterie board.) They offered an award-winning giant paella from Villa Roma and Cambalache, inventive American cuisine from Lido Bottle Works, delicious desserts from Sweet Surrender Specialty Desserts and Pastries, and more. The classic is also thrilled to welcome many first-time participants to the event, including The Jetty, Rancho Capistrano Winery, Pacific Hideaway, Trevor’s on the Tracks and The Tea House on Los Rios.”
Is there live music?
In 2023, after the Pacific Wine & Food Classic comes to a close at 5 p.m., country artist Dani Rose performs at the nearby VEA Newport Beach from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Are pets and backpacks allowed?
No, neither are allowed.
Who started this event?
Pamela Waitt, president of the O.C. Restaurant Association is the founder of Pacific Wine & Food Classic.
Who are this year’s sponsors?
Cadillac, OCFoodies.com, VEA Newport Beach, TacoTuesday.com, Golden Rule Charity, Maker’s Mark, Orange Coast Magazine, San Simeon Wines, El Tesoro Tequila, Chef’s Toys, Licor 43, Waterloo Sparkling Water, Ryan Press, Gelson’s, Visit Newport Beach, Sweetgreen, Stella Artois are among the sponsors.
What are they raising money for?
Net proceeds for The Pacific Wine & Food Classic benefit the Golden Rule Charity. For more information, and to view the pricing schedule and to purchase tickets, please visit PacificWineAndFood.com.