Pebble Beach Food and Wine Redefines Luxury – 7th Time is the Charm 9 min read

The Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival (PBFW) titled “7th Time Down the Line,” to commemorate its seventh year, is a four-day feast for the senses; a cornucopia of food and wine that borders on obscene opulence. It seduces patrons with a never-ending array of events, showcasing food and wines that are captivating, awe-inspiring and just plain fun. Set in a breathtaking community of Pebble Beach, it is the epitome of hedonism brought to the attendees by 250 acclaimed wineries and 125 chefs. Dozens of top-notch sommeliers from around the country oversee the meticulously choreographed wine service during lunches, dinners and seminars. A number of expert mixologists and beer purveyors are available should your palate require an impeccable cocktail or a refreshing craft beer.


One of its distinguishing characteristics is that there is truly something for everyone:


  • Fun-filled food demos with colorful TV Chef personalities
  • Wine and food pairing lunches and dinners
  • Walk around wine and food tastings, with offerings presented by vintners and Chefs
  • Once-in-a-lifetime seminars, featuring extremely rare wines, supplied and presented by the legendary producers themselves, moderated by industry luminaries
  • Decadent, inspired meals prepared by world-class Chefs enjoyed in a glorious setting


For the price of a wine and food pairing dinner at a nice restaurant, you can enjoy the company of Michael Symon, Robert Irvine and Guy Fieri while they serve you an unforgettable multi-course meal. Oenophiles will enjoy exclusive seminars and uber-luxurious tastings. Brilliant chefs, sommeliers and winemakers host an exhilarating weekend jam-packed with cooking demonstrations, chef’s tastings, wine seminars, gala dinners, and over-the-top after-parties.


Nearly 8,000 discerning guests flock from all over the world to enjoy this extravaganza. In its seventh wildly successful year, with the events selling out in record time, PBFW has earned a reputation as the ultimate wine and food event for a very good reason. Pulling off this ultimate food and wine fantasy requires a gargantuan behind the scenes effort.


To sum up four days of sensory overload into a few paragraphs is a near impossible task.


Highlights and Notable Vitals:


1. Lexus Grand Tastings (a bargain at $225) included fabulous wines such as:



…and many, many more!


2. An extraordinary medley of local, national and television Chef talent included:


3. “Wow” Champagne houses pouring:



4. Some notable wine personalities, including a host of Master Sommeliers (denoted as “MS”) conducting seminars, demonstrations and in attendance as guests:



5. Marquee wine seminars:


  • 2010 Burgundy; An Exploration of the Great Terroirs of the Cote D’Or Moderated by Latour, moderated by Antonio Galloni, Vinous founder (former lead critic of Wine Advocate) and Larry Stone, MS with wines from Domaine Dujac, Mugnier, Rousseau, Louis Jadot, Comte Armand, Marquis d’Angerville, Robert Chevillon, and Domaine de la Vougeraie.
  • Opus One tasting and blending seminar moderated by Michael Silacci, winemaker
  • 2008 Barolo: Modern day Classics with Barolos from Elio Grasso, Roberto Voerzio, Bartolo Mascarello, Giuseppe Rinaldi, G.D.Vajra, Elvio Cogno, Luciano Sandrone and Vietti. Moderated by Antonio Galloni, with some wines provided from his personal cellar.
  • Chateau Latour – A Historic Tasting – Wines/Vintages poured: Pauillac 2009, Les Forts 2006/00/10, Chateau Latour 1990/96/00/01/03 moderated by Frederic Engerer.
  • Vega Sicilia Unico – 150 Year Anniversary moderated by Puri Mancebo and featuring Unico wines from 1975, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2000 and Valbuena from 1998/00/03/04/05.
  • The Singular Majesty of Champagne Salon moderated by Didier Depond and Antonio Galloni, featuring Delamotte Blanc de Blanc NV and 2004 and Salon 1970, 1983, 1988, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, some out of Magnums, flown directly from Didier’s cellar.


6. Marquee Lunches and Dinners:


  • Founder’s Dinner
  • Grand Finale Dinner
  • Tribute to a Legend – Charlie Trotter
  • A Taste of Italy with Top Cheftestant Antonia Lofaso bringing eggplant straight from her grandma’s garden for her playful version of eggplant parmigana, made with caciocavalo cheese.
  • Forage to Feast: Lexus Chef’s table Lunch with Michael Symon and Joseph Lenn.
  • The 4 Martini Lunch with Ben Spungin of CLM, Michael Hung of Faith and Flower LA, Wesley Hoiton of Rose. Rabbit. Lie and Abby Burk of Restaurant 1833.


…and many more!


7. Exclusive After-parties at:


  • the lounge where you can rub elbows with celebrities, nosh on stunning small plates by Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lis), sip cocktails and dance till 2 am  to the tunes of local celebrity DJs


8. Noteworthy for “Foodies”:


  • Food Network star Robert Irvine poured copious amounts of wine, while snapping photos and chatting with awestruck fans. He then strolled over to the station manned by the ever cool and wildly funny Guy Fieri to sample his Macaroni Cheese Burger (which caused patrons to stand in the longest line in the tent.) Guy Fieri and Robert Irvine also joined forces for “Dinner in the Kitchen” the night before that guests described as the “most fun they’ve ever had at dinner”


9. Heard:


  • Guy Fieri’s choice of profession other than his own was a bullfighter; Robert Irvine’s – firefighter.
  • Robert Irvine asked the military servicemen in the audience to stand up during dinner and offered  them a well deserved round of applause.
  • Rochelle Trotter’s moving tribute to her late husband, the legendary Charlie Trotter, didn’t leave a dry eye in the room.


10.  Favorite celebrity bite from a Chef:


  • Aubergine’s Executive Chef Justin Cogley (one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs) brought his signature seafood dish, “Dungeness Crab Paired with Seaweed Vinegar and Beach Succulents.”


Andrew Zimmern said it was his favorite bite of the event.


11.  My favorite bite:


  • “Bacon and Pork Belly Jam. Slow Poached Egg” + “Portuguese Seafood Soup” by Kim Canteenwalla  of Honey Salt in Las Vegas.


12.  Favorite quote from a Celebrity Chef:


  • “Get up every day and try to be the best person that you can be, and help people in any way that you can.” – Robert Irvine


Speaking of favorite meals, what would you choose for your last one?


Celebrity portrait photographer, Melanie Dunea, asked the world’s most prominent chefs exactly that. Her book, My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals, served as the inspiration for a whimsical dinner titled “My Last Supper: The Next Course.” Five renowned Chefs presented their “last meal” course, paired with sublime wines.


The idea of PBFW was conceived seven years ago by serial entrepreneurs David Alan Bernahl, II and Robert Weakley, who co-founded Coastal Luxury Management. After taking the luxury food and wine world by storm in the form of Pebble Beach Food and Wine event they have gone on to create the Los Angeles Food & Wine festival, in addition to opening several popular, upscale restaurants.


The wine program would have been impossible without the tireless efforts of executive wine director extraordinaire, Lara Sailer Long, who astoundingly managed to secure the likes of Chateau Latour, Vega Sicilia and Champagne Salon amongst many other phenomenal wineries. My wine geek heart and palate are forever grateful.


In a word, PBFW 2014 was extraordinary. All weekend long I heard “wow,”  “amazing,” “ultimate,” and the like from guests. I have been privileged to attend a lot of wonderful wine and food events. This one set a whole new standard. To top it all off, the attendees not only enjoyed one of the greatest experiences of their lives but can also feel good about the fact that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a number of worthy charities, including the Berkley Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, Monterey Wine Educational Foundation, Pebble Beach Company Foundation and CASA, of Monterey County/Voices for Children.


Bravo, PBFW!


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Ilona Thompson

Ilona Thompson is Editor-in-Chief at PalateXposure, a destination site for oenophiles, gourmands and luxury travelers. She also recently launched #Wine, a site dedicated to wines and spirits reviews, and #Photography, a site devoted to high-quality wine, food, and travel related photography.

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