It’s the Memorial Day weekend once again and if there’s one culinary event that marks the date it’s the Newport Beach Wine Festival at the Balboa Bay Resort. This year’s the 10th Annual. Congratulations! Great Taste chats with Dieter Hissin the General Manager at the Balboa Bay Resort.
What is the biggest change in the festivals that you see looking back to year one and that crazy/delicious Foie Gras event?
The interest in wine in the last 10 years has tremendously increased. In particular the interest in wines other than Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Merlot. Guests like to try different varietals, and a seminar such as the Australian Shiraz vs. French Rhone Syrah would have had little attendance years ago. Today we can fill these. Now, in regards to the six course Foie Gras Tasting, unfortunately we are not officially allowed to do that anymore, which is a shame.
What is the expected attendance?
Over 1000 guests for the 8 events combined.
How many bottles of wine do you expect to be consumed this year?
A rough estimate, I would say about 1500, and don’t forget the Beer for Breakfast event, and the digestives with the cigar event. We don’t discriminate against any form of fermented or distilled beverage.
What is your fondest memory from any past event.
Sitting on Dukes deck with Master Sommeliers Ira Harmon MS, Ron Mumford, MS and Luis De Santos, MS drinking a bottle of Harlan Estate at 1 am in the Morning after the Grand Tasting. It was not the only great bottle that night, but it definitely stood out.
Any other interesting memories or stats?
The fact that not one person was able to attend all events in any given year, despite numerous attempts. It’s just too much good wine in all of these individual seminars and if you truly participate it’s just toomuch, unless you cheat and use a spit bucket.
I see that you have changed out the Friday tasting for a more formal dining event. Will the Sunday Seafood event follow the previous Friday night format?
In the past we had three walk around tastings, Friday through Sunday, and we had requests by guests to have a sit down dinner. It’s more of a wine country dinner, elegant in setting yet casual in feel, and this year we have Chef Frederic Castan, St Regis, Chef Robert Wilson, Montage, Chef Pierre Albaladejo, Park Hyatt Aviara joining Chef Josef Lageder from the Balboa Bay Resort cooking a 6 course menu paired with one wine from the northern hemisphere and one wine from the southern hemisphere per course, selected by Master Sommeliers Ira Harmon and Ron Mumford.
The Sunday afternoon event is the best wayyou can spend your Sunday afternoon: wines from about 25 wineries, beers, a martini station, and lots and lots of seafood, plus some deserts and cheeses along with the rhythms of a 7 piece salsa style band.
I’ve personally had the pleasure of attending many of these events and recommend the Balboa Bay Resort’s Newport Beach Wine Festivalevents. They’re executed with styleand great attention to detail. Hospitality at its best!
My fondest memory is serenading (at the top of our lungs) with Guest Chef Pascal Olhats, Yvon Goetz, Resort Chef Josef Lageder and many others asHubert Trimbach left the table to retire late one night after very many wine samples at an event after-party.
For a full listing of events click here.