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California Wine Festival – An Exclusive Interview with Emily Kaufmann

California Wine Festival – An Exclusive Interview with Emily Kaufmann

Ryan Lenett

In the heart of California, amidst the golden sunshine and scenic coastlines, the California Wine Festival is a beacon for wine enthusiasts, offering a diverse selection of wines from across the state. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Emily Kaufmann, the California Wine Festival’s Executive Director, to explore the inspiration, selections, collaborations, and evolution of this iconic event.

The Inspiration Behind the Festival

When asked about the inspiration behind organizing the California Wine Festival, Emily Kaufmann shared a vision that began over two decades ago. “We started this event 21 years ago in Santa Barbara,” Kaufmann explained. “The goal was to create an unpretentious environment where people could come and taste wines from all over California. Our ultimate aim has always been to bring wines from various regions to one location.” This vision has successfully turned the festival into a melting pot of wineries from Temecula to Mendocino County, allowing attendees to discover new favorites and enjoy the picturesque setting by the ocean in Dana Point.

Selection Criteria for Wineries

The meticulous process of selecting wineries and vineyards featured in the festival is a testament to the event’s high standards. Kaufmann detailed, “For the Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting, the wineries must offer wines with a minimum retail value of $50 plus, and it has to be a rare or reserve-level wine.” This criterion ensures that only the finest wines make it to the Friday night event, giving guests an exclusive experience. Additionally, Kaufmann emphasized the festival’s commitment to showcasing wines from across California, not just the renowned regions like Napa Valley or Sonoma County, but from the entire coast and the state’s interior.

Special Collaborations and Partnerships

The California Wine Festival’s success can be attributed to its strategic collaborations and partnerships. Kaufmann highlighted a few significant contributors: “We have Lloyd Cellars, our entertainment sponsor from Napa Valley, providing amazing Chardonnay. Piper Sonoma is our sparkling wine sponsor, welcoming guests with their Brut. Wild Fork Foods has also partnered with Laguna Cliffs Marriott to serve special appetizers.” These partnerships enhance the festival experience and reflect the event’s dedication to quality and diversity.

Trends and Themes in the Wine Industry

Kaufmann noted several trends and themes in the wine industry that resonate with this year’s event. “Individuals who have attended our event over the years are eager to try the new wineries we bring each year,” she said. “I’m passionate about introducing limited-release wines that guests might not find in their local stores. This offers a unique opportunity for attendees to appreciate these wines, join wine clubs, or even plan visits to the wineries.”

Upcoming Events: California Wine Festival – Carlsbad, San Diego County

Sunset Rare & Reserve Tasting Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa – The Gardens Friday, June 28, 2024 – 6:30-9 pm

Guests are invited to sip on fine wines and taste a variety of delicacies at the beautiful Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa’s newly renovated Lawn. This elegant VIP event is perfect for true fine wine lovers in one of San Diego County’s most beautiful coastal cities – Carlsbad. The limited number of tickets sell out quickly due to the rarity of the wines being poured. A champagne reception is just the prelude to an evening of sampling hard-to-find trophy wines, some already out of circulation and impossible to find, all enjoyed by an adoring crowd dressed in their finest casual/elegant resort wear.

Beachside Wine Festival Park Hyatt Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa – Heron Lawn Saturday, June 29, 2024 – 1-4 pm (VIPs 12 pm)

See Also

The quintessential California wine-tasting experience – sun, sea, food, wine, and music – all come together at this sun-splashed wine fest overlooking lush rolling hills with the shimmering Pacific beyond at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort’s Heron Lawn. By 1:00 pm, the joint jumps at this Camelot-like white-topped tent village. Wine oenophiles will find hundreds of fine wines, regional craft brews, and a dizzying variety of foods to sample. Artisanal cheeses, breads, olive oil, shellfish, salads, chocolates, cakes, and more! A live band keeps the beat for this all-day feast for the senses, where wine and food are king and queen.

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the California Wine Festival website or the Eventbrite page.

Evolution and Enhancements

Reflecting on the festival’s evolution, Kaufmann shared how it has grown and improved over the years. “We’ve been around for 21 years, starting with a small and mighty crew. We’ve expanded our team and our wine offerings significantly. A big part of our growth has been the experiences and sponsorships we’ve accumulated.” She mentioned this year’s notable addition: “Tomorrow, BMW will be a major sponsor at the event, showcasing their automobiles on site, adding a touch of luxury and innovation to the festival.”

In Summary

Under Emily Kaufmann’s leadership, the California Wine Festival continues to be a premier event for wine lovers. It offers a unique blend of exquisite wines, scenic locations, and memorable experiences. Whether you are a long-time attendee or a first-time visitor, the festival promises an unforgettable journey through California’s diverse and rich wine culture.

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