If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit one of California’s most famously beautiful cities, here it is. The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival won this year’s USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Wine Festival, no shocker there. As Maître Cuisinier de France Bernard Guillas, former executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, put it in the festival’s promo video: “It’s the food, it’s the wine, it’s the water, it’s the weather, it’s the girls, it’s the boys — it’s life, baby. It’s life.”
At this Disneyland for wine-loving thirty-somethings, your ticket includes bottomless pours at tastings, and access to local and international wines, beers, liquors and food. The big events kick off with the Grand Decant on Friday evening, where you can dress up in “Sophisticated Casual” attire and try pours of wine from different sommeliers and winemakers. The events continue on Saturday afternoon with an outdoor Grand Tasting on the scenic Embarcadero Marina Park North, where the atmosphere is more fresh and festive, with food trucks, local music acts and food sampling. Think your local farmer’s market, but the food is prepared by Top Chef alums and the wines are from artisanal winemakers. Sunday closes out the festivities with the Grand Fiesta, which highlights the culinary influence of neighboring Mexico with Mexican food and wine tastings and a chance to vote for “San Diego’s Most Awesome Taco.” (The theme of this year’s festival is “Arrive at Awesome” — which fits the festival’s general vibe.)
If these three blockbusters don’t overstuff you already, there’s an official After Party at San Diego’s House of Blues, where you can debut another outfit change — classy club attire — and continue drinking into the night. With all these venue shifts, be prepared to hire Ubers or split cabs, especially after all that vino.
Starting on Monday, November 6, individually-ticketed events include a guided food tour of Little Italy (complete with rooftop cocktails and pasta making) and an “East Meets West Wagyu Dinner” prepared by Chefs Aron Schwartz and DuVal Warner of Ranch 45 in collaboration with Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Fukushima and accompanied with American and Japanese whiskeys. And if you really want to go all in: The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is leading a day trip to Baja, Mexico, where a private chauffeured vehicle with sparkling wine aboard will take you down to the Mina Penelope Winery for a tour and tasting, followed by lunch prepared by Michelin Star Chef Roberto Alcocer. The ticketed events are all-inclusive, so after you cough up the cash for the initial ticket, there’s nothing stopping you from trying absolutely everything this lush event has on offer.
- Around 11,000 people are expected to attend this year.
- Full weekend General Admission packages are on sale for $315. VIP packages cost $995. You can buy tickets for just Friday/Saturday for $225 GA or $835 VIP, or Saturday/Sunday for $235 GA or $475 VIP (since there are fewer VIP-eligible events on Sunday).
- Check out our San Diego recommendations for our top SD hits while you’re in town.
What is the closest airport to the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival?
The San Diego International Airport has flights to and from all major airports, and is only a 10 minute drive from Embarcadero Marina Park North.
Is wine and food included with my ticket?
Yes. The weekend events included in your festival pass are all-inclusive, with food and wine to taste. Tickets to certain dinners are sold separately and include all menu items on the preset dinner menus
Can I bring my kids?
No. The festival is strictly 21+. Pets aren’t allowed either, except service animals.
Which chefs, sommeliers, and guests will be at this year’s San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival?
Accursio Lota, Roberto Alcocer, Erik Aronow, Quinnton Austin, Jonathan Bautista, Tony Bennett, Petra Bergstein-Higby, George Blackensee, David Alacorn, Eric Bost, Joe Bower, The Hearty Boys, Hector Casanova, Keith Corbi, Marlen Castor, Drew Deckman, Christopher Dorman, Matt Doyle, William Eick, Tim Eylens, Tom Fischer, Flor Franco, Katsuya Fukushima, Jack Ford, Armando Gallardo, Gale Gand, Édgar García, Fernando Gaxiola, Denice Grande, Phil Gregory, Suzette Gresham, Bernard Guillas, Brandon Hale, Kevin Hall, Ricardo Heredia, Philip Hoffer, Alec Hurley, Cameron Ingle, Sergio Jimenez, Stephen Kahle, Scott Koenig, Tim Kolanko, Mark Kropczynski, Geoff Longenecker, Maya Madsen, Kris Magnussen, Joe Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Lauro Martinez, María Martir, Jason McLeod, Linda McWilliams, Gavin Mills, James Montejano, Kelston Moore, Tamesha Moore, Josh Mouzakes, Jason Neroni, Sabrina Nyswonger, Rosie O’Connor, Lulú Martínez Ojeda, Joe Paulden, Cristina Pino, Andrea Priego, Antonio Proa, Brian Redzikowski, Bernard Retornaz, Nicole Reynolds, Danny + Dante Romero, Claudia Sandoval, Verónica Santiago, Aron Schwartz, Blanca Sepulveda, Carol Shelton, Maribel Aldaco Silva, Brandon Sloan, Mehet Sogan, Travis Swikard, Dan Valerino, AJ Venacio, Davin Waite, Dan Walse, DuVal Warner, Brad Wise, Jason Witzl, Claudette Zepeda, and Sam The Cooking Guy.