Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival feeds thousands

Anne Le of Laetitia Vineyard in the Arroyo Grande Valley pours sparkling wine for connoisseur Vania Farnsworth.
(Susan Hoffman)

More than 1,600 people flocked to the second annual Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival Saturday to munch and sip over 200 wines and food samples from 30 of Orange County’s ¿nest restaurants.

The event, held on the Newport Beach Civic Center lawn, included live cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, interactive wine panels with master sommeliers, mixology courses and live jazz.

Kathleen and Nicholas Barker, of Laguna Beach, said that they thought that the food was wonderful and that they enjoyed the special bonus of meeting the chefs. “It’s nice to talk face to face with the chefs”, Nicholas Barker said.

A sold-out crowd sipped wine inside the pavilions as they stood in long lines for food. True Food Kitchen seemed to have a continuous line as the servers couldn’t dish up the samples fast enough. Groups socialized outside under umbrellas lounging in plush seating areas provided by Z Gallerie.

One of the more popular wines was the sparkling wine from Laetitia Vineyard. According to pourer Anne Le, the winemaker recommends pairing it with potato chips because the salty ¿avor complements the fruity feature of the sparkling wine.

Net proceeds from the weekend bene¿t the Project Hope Alliance charity, which helps the homeless.