Return of Newport Beach Wine & Spirits Festival attracts 550 visitors
After a two-year interruption due to the pandemic, the annual Newport Beach Wine Festival returned to the Balboa Bay Resort over the weekend under a new name: Newport Beach Wine & Spirits.
Jason Hsieh, food and beverage director for Balboa Bay Resort, organized the event for his first time this year. He came up with the name change to better describe the libations assortment he added.
“In the past it was mainly wine, with 20 vendors and food stations, which to me was limited in terms of choices,” Hsieh said. “My idea this year was to bring in three times the amount.
“Besides wine, we added different spirits, offering mezcals and tequila, which have become the most popular dominant spirit that’s taken over.”
The festival, as has been its tradition, also included a good representation of wine varieties and several stations with light bites such as sushi, sliders, gourmet salsa and sweet treats.
This year, along with music provided by a DJ and the L.A. Lakers band, a collection of vendors also showcased the outdoor property where guests visited unique pop-up carts and tents rather than traditional tables.
Among the crowd pleasers was Patrón Tequila’s “margarita bike,” where visitors could make their own margaritas by pedaling a stationary bike.
“We set up the blender, they get on the bike and their power makes the magic happen,” said Patrón representative Cassandra Marquis.
Casamigos positioned a replica of a lifeguard tower painted seafoam green and white as a presentation of the establishment’s tequila. Across the way, a cutout of actor Miles Teller greeted attendees as they entered the large Finnish Long bright blue tent.
To top off the festivities on Sunday, a Cirque Mirage aerial artist using suspended silks entertained the crowd of guests gathered on the lawn. As Chastin Johnson’s body dropped, swung and spiraled, guests whipped out cellphones shooting video and photos before they were treated with a taste of champagne poured by the upside-down hanging acrobat.
With about 550 guests attending the festival, now in its 18th year, Hsieh said he was happy with the turnout and pleased with the positive feedback he received.
“The cirque acrobatic entertainment was a huge hit on the second day,” said Hsieh. “All [guests] had the best time and [they] said adding the spirits was the best idea as so many really had creative props.”
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