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The Top 10 Wine and Food Events You Should be Attending


A timely article written by new guest contributor; Ilona Thompson the Editor in Chief for Palate Exposure, a self-described believer in the Sustainability of Critical Thinking and Personal Responsibility, she is also a regular contributor to the Brenner Brief.

I consider myself a bona fide, card carrying wine geek. As part of this hedonistic club, I am expected to show up at every wine event within reasonable geographical distance. Since I am an hour away from Napa, an hour and a half away from Sonoma and four hours away from Central Coast I can offer full coverage on the events that have taken place within those regions.

Over the last decade, I have attended numerous wine and food events, ranging from your basic public walk around tastings to glamorous and ostentatious bacchanalias. I have learned much and enjoyed myself even more. So here is your custom designed Bucket or "To Drink" List courtesy of Palatexposure.

It was extremely difficult to narrow my list to only 10 events due to sheer number of affairs I've had the pleasure and privilege of attending. There were some truly wonderful events that did not make this list.

My Top 10 Food and Wine Festivals were selected using the following criteria:
  • Open to the public
  • The quality of the wine and food purveyors
  • The opportunity to learn
  • The events facilitation of social interactions.
Cost was not taken into consideration. In truth, most of these events are "bargains." They offer an opportunity to a sample broad spectrum of world class wines and Michelin star quality food, that would be unattainable in most restaurant settings.
With that in mind, here are my top ten:

Stellar event benefiting local charities in a breathtaking setting of the most dramatic Pacific Coastline. Extraordinary food & wine opportunities. 

A Must for Pinot Geeks. The event offers an unparalleled opportunity to taste world class Pinot Noirs showcased by domestic and international producers. Its new home now is the fabulous Bacara Resort.

Nothing can adequately describe this three day embarrassment of riches. Who is who in the wine world shows up. It's the Oscars of the wine world. Serious oenophiles can't afford to miss this bacchanalia.  Here is a link to full article:

A beautiful, heartfelt affair, that benefits a multitude of worthy causes. It has a wonderful, homespun, grassroots feel. It features an extraordinary combination of top quality wine and food.  A formidable bargain for what you will experience. See my articles.

The rugged, soul pinching beauty of the Sonoma coast tugs at your heart strings as you enjoy some of the best pinots and chardonnays produced in the world.  Their seminars are informative and compelling. Here is a link to the full article.


The Anderson Valley's charm cannot be beat. This festival has grown exponentially. It's a Pinot lovers dream. ‎

What could be better than top Napa Valley chefs and winemakers competing for your palate? Not much in my book! 

A small, but highly educational event, one which will teach you volumes about the grandeur of one of the Napa Valley top appellations, the Stag's Leap District.

Paging chardonnay lovers! Set in Santa Maria valley, it's a great opportunity to taste the world's top selling variety and to meet the expert growers and vintners who work with this grape every day.

The KCBX Classic is an annual affair offers a great workout for your senses. Eat, drink, mingle.  One of the wine world's most pleasurable experiences.

Occasionally we need to treat ourselves to pure, sensuous pleasure.  Benjamin Franklin once said:  "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy."  Attend anyone of these events and you'll revel in that love!

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