Del Mar Wine + Food Festival
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

A Delicious Highlight Reel of the 2023 Del Mar Wine + Food Festival

This Multi-Day Foodie Fest Was One for the Books

Finish your vegetables! Dinner before dessert! Or simply: sip and savor. For those who dare to defy dining etiquette, we hope you made it to the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival this year. Absolutely no rules applied to this choose-your-own culinary adventure, where attendees ate and drank their way through an event featuring 80 of San Diego’s top restaurants and 200 national and international wines. Spread out on the spacious lawn at Surf Sports Park in the beautiful city of Del Mar, this six-day event (Sept. 6-11) featured mind-blowing dishes from San Diego’s best restaurants and beverage brands from South Chula Vista to North San Diego County. Complete with exclusive VIP lounges, live music and readily-available cocktails at every turn, the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival is worth adding to your calendar for next year. For now, we’re presenting a highlight reel of all the eats, drinks and events from this year’s fabulous festival.

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A West Coast Welcome

Del Mar Wine + Food Festival
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

A vibe best described as warm and hospitable emanated from the event even before entry, where guests rode golf-carts straight to the entrance. A double-decker music bus, rocking with current top hits and throwback jams, welcomed guests as they picked up complimentary wine glasses to be used for samples throughout the day. Gracious vendors filled every tent, eager to explain what their restaurant, winery or business was all about. Connections formed left and right as brand-new businesses made themselves known to soon-to-be-customers and long-time city favorites garnered praise by regulars. Along with the tastings, guests picked up business cards, coupons and special event offerings at every stop.

 

Fine Wines + Crafty Cocktails 

Del Mar Wine + Food Festival
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

Wine varieties spanned the map, from Napa Valley all the way to New Zealand, with stops back home at favorites like Little Italy’s Pali Wine Co. But wine wasn’t the only beverage on tap. Cocktails, seltzers, kombuchas and even CBD drinks were available just as abundantly as the wine, like at the impossible-to-miss Milagro Tequila and Monkey Shoulder Whisky bar pop-ups, featuring their iconic rotating cocktail-shaker truck. At the Milagro Bar, mixed margaritas and tastes of their signature tequila were popular, while the Monkey Shoulder bar next door was stirring up specialty cocktails at the Monkey Mixer. Tropic Like it’s Hot, the tropical blend of Monkey Shoulder Whisky, club soda, pineapple juice, simple syrup, lime juice and coconut made it one of those drinks that had you studying the ingredients to later recreate at home!

 

Exquisite Eats

Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

The city’s finest food—from zesty seafood samples to decadent desserts—were paired with the variety of beverages available. One of the best parts? Snaking through the samples in any order you pleased, even if that called for a slider as an appetizer, an ice cream cone for the main course and oysters for dessert. We don’t judge.

The shrimp-on-a-stick from La Jolla’s Paradisaea neighbored the plum-cinnamon doughnut from Dodo Bird Donuts—and everyone scooped up those savory and sweet samples as quickly as they were offered. The Brandt beef experience, a beautiful installation of top-tier meat samples from Solana Beach’s Ranch 45, couldn’t be missed either. No matter how you chose to navigate, a shortage of samples simply did not exist, and going back for seconds was always encouraged.

 

Prizes + Play

Del Mar Wine + Food Festival
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

As if a ticket to the event wasn’t a win within itself, several tents set up the opportunity for lucky attendees to win exciting prizes like gift cards or other experiences. The Volley Tequila Seltzer booth went interactive with a basket toss game, offering a can, a koozie or even a full pack to go for lucky winners. For many of the photo-ready guests, the professional photography experience put on by The Lounge Booth was the cherry on top of their already perfect day.

 

Location + Ambiance

Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

An experience begins with one very important thing: a prime location. Del Mar is one of the most charming neighborhoods in San Diego, with an upscale-meets-laid-back feel that blends with its oceanside backdrop. The vast 114-acre Surf Sports Park, a mere two miles from the water, made the perfect meeting point for participants across the city, with well-kept grassy fields bringing the natural beauty. Do we even need to mention the weather? Gorgeous and warm, as September usually is. Of course, guests couldn’t forget the traditional old-fashioned vibe of Del Mar events: Wide-brimmed hats, summer dresses and casual button-downs were seen everywhere. Guests truly brought their best brims to the city’s best bites, taking advantage of the adorable lounge stations and macrame passageways to strut their stuff while sipping and savoring the day away.

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Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.

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