Only 250 tickets were sold, and we got to experience several excellent wines with food pairings from Chef Barry, who works at the Turf Club at the Del Mar fairground.
The event started at 12:30, and we arrived early because we weren't sure what traffic would be like, which gave us a chance to learn about the secret destination that would be open later and inspired me to start looking for a wine-tasting shirt for William to wear on our wintery adventures.
I think my favorite (big surprise) was the Chile & Coffee Crusted All Natural Brandt Beef Skirt Steak with Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes, paired with a 2018 Costa Azul Cab Sauvignon from Alexander Valley.
I also enjoyed some of the sparkling wines, which were paired with cheese made specifically for the event by a local cheesemaker who only makes the cheese in small batches.
As part of the VIP experience, we got to sit on a balcony above the "Toast of the Coast" candidates from local vineyards. The weather was gorgeous, and we were away from the main crowded areas of the fair. If you decide to attend, I recommend pacing yourself: the appetizers and lighter wines are served first, followed by entrees with heavier wines, and at the end, a glass of delicious dessert wine and chocolate.
We also attended a second wine tasting from a local winery called "Hungry Hawk," which is located near us in Encinitas. The winemaker is a former surfer who was encouraged by his parents to create the type of wine that he (and hopefully others) would enjoy drinking. We are looking forward to visiting this winery on an upcoming weekend.