This weekend, Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association will host its 13th annual Great Wine Escape Weekend.
The event will take place from Friday through Sunday at various locations in Monterey, where attendees will get the opportunity to celebrate Monterey County's world-class wines and gastronomic delights.
What makes this wine event stand out from other food and wine festivals on the Peninsula is that this is the only event that exclusively features Monterey County wines.
But, according to Julie Rosenau, the association's business development manager, it isn't just about the wine.
"When you come here for our Great Wine Escape, we are showcasing what is best about Monterey County — the people, the scenery, the wineries — the whole experience," said Rosenau. "Not only are (participants) going to experience new wines they may not know about, but they will also experience the scenery, the bay, the wineries, Cannery Row, the aquarium and more."
Foodies and wine enthusiasts will get the chance to sample some of the region's finest wines and gourmet meals,as well as the opportunity to rub elbows with celebrity chefs and award-winning wine makers.
They will also learn about Monterey's burgeoning wine industry and how to pair different wine varieties with fabulous foods.
For those interested in getting their fingers stained, there will even be an opportunity to blend your own signature bottle of wine.
Sponsored by Wine Enthusiast magazine, one of the main highlights of the weekend will be the "Founding Fathers Dinner" on Saturday night, where guests will get the chance to meet some of the pioneers of the local wine industry: Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Rich Smith of Paraiso Vineyards, Eric Wente of Wente Vineyards, Phil Franscioni of Arroyo Seco Vineyards, Steve McIntyre of McIntyre Vineyards and Al Scheid of Scheid Vineyards.
These winemakers will partner with Robert Bleifer, executive chef of the Food Network; Executive Chef Jerry Regester of the InterContinental: The Clement Hotel Monterey and Executive Chef Jeffery Jake of the Carneros Inn, Napa Valley to craft a seven-course meal paired with 24 wines.
Steve Heimoff, West Coast editor of Wine Enthusiast, will also be there to guide guests through this historic evening.
"In the 1970s, these founding fathers came together with the objective to promote broader brand awareness of wine and grapes in Monterey County," said Rosenau. "It's an honor to be in the room with these guys. It's their blood, sweat and tears that have gone into the ground and made it possible for the wine industry in Monterey County to be what it is today."
Read more and find events at the Escape website here