On Saturday, March 10, 2012 the Laguna Beach community uncorked its wine bottles to host its first food and wine festival to benefit the CHOC Children’s Hospital of Southern California. A good time was had by the 700 visitors who made it to this cozy, intimate event held at the town’s Festival of Arts grounds. The event was a huge success for this first time event, and over $20,000 was raised for CHOC Children’s Hospital.

The food samplings were provided by the local restaurants of the Laguna area, and presentations were creative and delicious. If you were a visitor and stayed at one of the local ocean front hotels, you couldn’t help but notice how almost every local restaurant had a presence at this event. Restaurants such as 230 Forest Avenue, the Beach House, Broadway by Amar Santana, Claes Ovation, and the Deck (to name just a few) provided innovative samplings that paired wonderfully with the wines that were paired with the cuisine samplings. 

If you like great wines, and who doesn’t , the out of the ordinary selection of wines gave the event the unusual , stand – out twist. Bringing a completely different twist to the standard wine and food pairing event, was a well thought out selection of both national, and international wines. Representing wines from South Africa (Boekenhoutskloof) the Loire Valley (Vincent Delaporte) the Rhone Valley, ( Famille Perrin), Burgundy ( Louis Michel & Fils) Tuscany ( Tenuta di Nozzole), Piedmont ( Michele Chiarlo) and Australia (Penfolds) to name just a few, was the wine tasting side of the event, each a sponsor, contributing their wares to such a noble cause.

And on hand to guide the press in advance through the anticipated morass of wine tasting, was Sommelier Peter Neptune, Senior Vice President of Corporate Training and Wine Education for the Henry Wine Group. Neptune engaged the visiting press with an informative background on the multitude of varietals being offered at the event, teaching and preparing us all for the tasting that awaited us on the other side of the seminar door. His wit and humor was enjoyed by all, and his witty plugs for his personal web site (www.Neptunewine.com) were supremely tolerated.

Wineries represented from the United States were on hand as well, such as Beacon Hill Wines and Retour Wine Co. ( Willamette, Oregon) Hedges Family Estate (Red Mountain, Washington) Bernardus (Carmel Valley, CA) Chateau Montelena and Frank Valley Vineyards ( Napa Valley, Ca )


Events such as these are plentiful on the California Landscape, but hats off must be offered to this event’s planners. Aside from the magnificent selection of chefs and restaurants in this area, the selection of wines truly offered something different for the attending visitor. The backdrop of the calm and deep blue Pacific Ocean offered that extra element of romance and intrigue, truly an invitation to explore the area further.

Laguna Beach is Southern California’s premier coastal destination located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and along the Southern coast of Orange County. Known as home to hundreds of local artists and set amid 20,000 acres of wilderness, Laguna Beach is primarily served by John Wayne/Orange County airport.

By Ellen Walsh




Websites you can visit to get more information on this wonderful coastal town is: