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We were delighted to attend the Pechanga Wine Festival on Saturday March 10th, 2018. The 10th annual Wine Festival kicked off at noon for VIP admission and opened to the rest (including us) at 1pm. VIP tickets sold for $90, general admission for $65, and designated driver for $40, plus additional discounts for club card holders.

We reused our handy dandy wine plate from the night before, which freed up our hands for grabbing additional food samples and reach for the next wine pour. We leisurely wandered around the huge ballroom looking for the next sample.

A taste of Wine Country

The most notable wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Temecula, France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and beyond offered a few hundred of their finest vintages to guests.

The representatives poured out samples and introduced their product to the pleasure of thirsty guests. The drink lines were longer than food lines but that's to be expected when you are discussing wine as it pours!

So, would you like a glass? Wine not? I got the last of this deliciously bubbly wine from Haute Couture. Just my kind of sip.

We found this fancy wine tree near the entrance. I'm in love! Also posed next to the BIGGEST wine bottle at the festival...

Closeup of the huge wine bottle from Vitagliano Vineyards & Winery.

South Coast Winery was my favorite winery at the event. I came back for seconds and thirds of their fruity gewurztraminer after making the rounds!

So many wineries to choose from! I'm more into whites but everyone has their own preference which can be found at this event. The vendors are listed below:

  • Europa Village
  • Falkner Winery
  • Wilson Creek Winery
  • Carter Estates
  • South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
  • Wiens Family Cellars
  • The Hess Collection
  • Banfi Vintners
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Craft Beverage Group
  • Clos du Bois Winery
  • Jackson Family Fine Wines
  • Roadrunner Ridge Winery
  • Callaway Vineyard and Winery
  • Rutherford Wine Co
  • Martin Ray & Angeline Winery
  • Kobrand
  • Boisset Collection
  • Vintage Wine Estates
  • Concha Y Toro
  • Le Grand Courtage
  • Bel Vino Winery
  • Vitagliano Winery
  • Wente Family Wines
  • Wente Family Estates
  • Ferrari-Carano Vineyard and Winery
  • Treasury Wine Estates
  • Accolade Wines
  • Vranken Pommery
  • San Antonio Winery
  • Maddalena Vineyards

A Taste of Pechanga

The food portion of the event showcased food from the various restaurants in Pechanga Resort & Casino, from the casual cafes to the upscale spots like The Great Oak. More details on restaurants can be found here: Pechanga eats.

The guy working at the Pechanga Catering & Banquets station saw us several times. We kept coming back for more of the savory coconut curry lamb!

We've visited the Pechanga Buffet during their Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza. At this event they showcased bison sliders and grilled octopus! I love how the chef got creative by including the sweetness of grapes to contrast the tender octopus.

Build your own tacos with Pechanga Cafe! Choice of meats included chicken, steak, adobada, etc.

Our first sample of Paisano's spaghetti and meatball with carbonara sauce had crunchy noodles but the next batch was perfectly noodled... I really dug the sauce so grabbed several plates that evening. I didn't care for the spicy shrimp tapas on stiff polenta though.

Beet salad and bright succulent decorations? Check. The Lobby Bar & Grill also provided one of Dennis's favorite meat samples, braised beef belly. This had a 42 hour sous vide and was dressed with kale pesto, caramelized onion jam, and dukkah spice tuile!

Blends Coffee & Wine Bar had panini choice of roast beef, white cheddar and beer onions or artichoke-spinach with herbed ricotta. On the side was roasted yellow tomato soup. I grabbed a sandwich to go on the way out.

The smell of grilling meat from Great Oak Steakhouse made us even hungrier! They served cajun seasoned lamb chops with thyme creme fraiche & basil pesto. The other option was sea bass ceviche which we thought was a bit too creamy.

Journey's Clubhouse got fancy with braised short ribs that melted in your mouth while the second item was pork belly item with a subtle ginger accent.

This was one of the most eye-catching booths here with the magenta florals. The pretzel slider contained pulled pork with cole slaw and extra crispies though the sample was a little dry. The chipotle lime grilled shrimp skewer with pineapples catered to my sweet and savory tooth.

Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar provided a spicy yellowtail roll sample but the standout item was the scallop and shrimp ceviche. It had just the right amount of spice from jalapenos alongside a fresh scallop bite!

Dumplings from Bamboo were cooled off but the filling was tasty. The dark beef item next to it was obsurdly chewy. I'm not sure what it was supposed to be but not to our liking!

Last but not least, don't forget your desserts! Nothing beats the Chocolate Decadence the previous night for this category though!

External vendors included these yummy toffees from Crown City Toffee. We were able to nibble on these sweet bites and the full size packages were available for purchase. After roaming around the room countless times, we were crazy full! You can pick up your favorites over and over again during this event!

Entertainment & Fundraising Options

There was a really fun band playing at the event. I especially loved the female singer who danced up a storm on stage! The crowd was loving it (or the wine was talking) because many people got up to dance!

Once again, auctions to support Habitat for Humanity were found in one section of the huge venue. They had such cute items! Easter is just around the corner. Dennis is somewhat obsessed with cats so I was eyeing this adorable cat backpack too!

The ballroom where this event was held was huge! There were even more booths set up for this event than the Chocolate Decadence event the night before. Overall I prefer this festival because there are more wines to sample as well as two samples from each in-resort restaurant!

Disclaimer: We were provided tickets and accommodations at the hotel. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own

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