As the low clouds start to lift at least a bit, Koala finds himself lined up for tickets to the Second annual Salinas Valley Food and Wine Festival. Attending without Kiwi because with so much happening this time of year he was in Paso Robles covering Harvest Festival activities.
Ticket prices at the door were $50 for a general admission and $85 for a ViP ticket (lesson here, pre-purchase). A bit pricey given last years experience but maybe it will be worth it.Once the VIP situation was squared away Koala went to work. Last year was a bit like a large swap meet with wineries scattered amongst the downtown businesses and the VIP area was in the old Fox Theater. Now while the Fox is a neat facility with a unique atmosphere it was not set up for, nor were there enough quality vendors for a VIP experience (pretty disappointing). This year some of the same was repeated with the craft fair swap meet style atmosphere in downtown. However, the VIP area was now in the Steinbeck Center. This, and the fact that there were more quality vendors, made for a much more positive experience that made a big difference. Last year we all drank out of plastic wine goblets (not good). This year they were glass (much better), but, while on the subject of glassware, disappointed in the thick glass and thick rolled lip wine glass. Understanding the need for something child safe and durable for those out in the streets is one thing but for VIPs in a closed off area something more appropriate is definitely in order. Fine wine and a VIP experience is entitled to fine glassware!
The VIP vendors consisted of good food, good wines and a collection of Tequila, Vodka and Whiskey purveyors. There was some great art work and some very nicely played live background music. The cooking demonstration was interesting and the smell of bacon was alluring. The presentation of the Gold and Silver Medal award winning wines was reasonably well done and the Q and A quite entertaining and even enlightening for some in the crowd.
While Koala was flat out like a lizard drinking, tasting the VIP area wines and he was surprised to find that most of the VIP wineries did not submit their wines because of additional expenses required to do so. Unfortunate. There was a definite step up and most things are headed in the right direction, but VIP should mean just that and in a number of ways other than pricing it did not represent that particularly when compared to other wine events.
Overall a good step forward for this second annual event and the Charities they support.
Overall not a bad second effort and Koala rates it a ‘Would Go Back”
Show up next year and tell em Kiwi and Koala sent you and order your tickets early.
Kiwi & Koala