Greater Ventura News


Wine enthusiasts readying for upcoming event in Ventura

15 Jan 2014 6:25 PM
Wine enthusiasts readying for upcoming event in Ventura

California is not only home to wealthy business executives and famous celebrities, it is also where a considerable number of respected wine makers hang their hats. The state's western geography, diverse topography and favorable climate patterns make it one of the most perfect places on the planet to grow grapes and produce fine wines. Accordingly, this coveted libation is regularly celebrated by those who live there, as well as oenophiles who travel from far away to taste the unique blends.

This month, the tradition will continue in the Golden State city of Oxnard, when the Ventura County Wine Trail hosts the 2014 Local Food & Wine Challenge. From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 23, area wine aficionados will be invited to taste the cutting-edge cuisine created by teams of local chefs and winemakers competing to craft the best food and wine pairing in Ventura County. Presented in the chic surroundings of the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel and Resort, the third installment of this upscale annual affair promises to be a memorable experience.

Ticket holders granted much more than just admission
Those individuals who decide to attend this exclusive event will be afforded many more benefits than just the right to gain entry when they purchase a ticket. For $55, oenophiles over the age of 21 can not only enjoy direct access to some of the finest local wines and gastronomic creations, but a multitude of other high-end experiences. The evening will begin with a champagne toast as a live jazz band provides the soundtrack. Attendees can then begin to make their way around the event space, visiting with each of the featured wineries and culinary maestros. Complimentary self parking will be provided for guests, however, valet parking will also be available to attendees who wish to arrive in style.

Tickets are available to the public, however, space is limited - so those interested in attending may want to act soon. Area wine lovers can reserve their admission by contacting the Ventura County Wine Trail at 805-983-1560, or visiting the organization's official website. As an added bonus, this yearly event benefits a charitable cause - proceeds from the evening will be given to Ventura County FOOD Share, one of the area's largest food banks.

Anticipation mounting for the upcoming event
In only it's third year, it is apparent that subsequent Local Food & Wine Challenge will be held for many years to come. The occasion serves as a boon to Ventura-based wine producers, as well as the gourmet restaurants whose expert chefs compete. The 2013 event was very well received, with tickets selling out quickly. In response, this year will feature a wider selection of wineries and restaurants competing, the Ventura County Wine Trail reported.

"We are thrilled to bring this event back to Ventura County," said Lauren Belshe, director of the Ventura County Wine Trail. "It is the perfect evening for locals and visiting wine and food lovers to experience the very best of our community's amazing wine and fare - all while they help feed our county's most needy."

During the festivities, a blind-tasting panel of judges will cast their votes for the winner of the "Best Food & Wine Pairing" designation, and bestow the award upon the team that best combines area bounty with local wine. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to commend the teams behind their favorite pairings, as a "People's Choice" award will also be given out.

Coordinating organization an integral piece of industry
With another strong turnout expected, the Ventura County Wine Trail's list of popular programming continues to grow. The group has established itself as the premier source for wine culture destinations of the gateway to the Central Coast, and regularly assists local producers in increasing output and gaining a loyal following. Featuring 18 artisanal wineries and some of the most sought-after entertainment destinations, the organization serves to benefit residents and tourists alike. 

The Ventura County Wine Trail routinely updates its website, and every year, publishes a map of local attractions that acts as a full-service tool for all who spend time in the area. Utilizing the information provided by these materials, oenophiles can plan out a comprehensive tour of the area, making stops at the finest restaurants and swankiest hotels, as well as participating in shuttle-led wine tasting trips.

Drawing a substantial number of wine enthusiasts from around the region - and as far away as across the country - this annual event should not disappoint. Attendees who anxiously awaiting the evening will soon be treated to a night of dazzling entertainment and engaging flavors sure to excite the palate.