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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Guide to the Hot Tickets at the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival 2012.

The 2012 Big Sur Wine and Food Festival kicks off next week on Nov 1st with a full roster of delicious food, wonderful wines, cheese and even auctions.  Now in its fourth year, the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival promises to be a frugal foodie's dream come true.  For the price of a flat rate ticket, attendees can enjoy some of California's best wines and dishes from some of California's best Chefs. Some events are sold out, while a few tickets still remain for other events including tastings and dinners. To help inform visitors and potential attendees,  I sat down with the festival organizer, Toby Rowland-Jones, to get the inside track on the festival.  With 22 events over 4 days, there's plenty going on along the rugged Big Sur coast.

Q.  How much has been raised for charity in the past?
 In 3 years, we have raised over $65,000 for local Big Sur nonprofits in areas of  Health, Safety and Education and the Arts, as well as sponsored a local Big Sur  resident to attend the CIA in Hyde Park, NY as part of her ongoing culinary education.  It's a great achievement given the current state of the climate and that we had very few sponsors in the first three years.

Q. I believe the auction lunch event  at the Post Ranch Inn on Saturday is sold out correct? What other events do you think wine and food lovers should consider snapping up tickets for?
Yes, the Auction lunch is sold out, but for those interested in calling in during the Auction, we will have operators standing by! The best events/hottest tickets will be:
  • The Gateway to Big Sur - Presented by the Hyatt Carmel Highlands - which is, in a way, an homage to the past Masters of Food and Wine - the finest food and wine festival in the world during its peak. 
  • The Pinot Walkabout - traditionally not many attendees due to the Friday afternoon time slot, which means guests get a truly great opportunity to actually chat with the winemakers instead of just asking for whatever they are pouring. The Pinot Walkabout, is not actually a hike, as some might think, but instead a stroll around the Post Ranch Inn's small but glorious kitchen garden with 30 of the top Pinot producers we admire and know.  
  •  Pinot and The Muse -  the concept of this is also SO unique to us - winemakers presenting their current vintages, but also showing and talking about the wines that  originally inspired them to become winemakers. The actual value of the wines being poured is FAR in excess of the ticket price - $50, as some of them are pouring some very rare wines that have been sponsored by a local Big Sur resident.
  • The Hiking With Stemware tour takes guests on to magical and very private private properties for guided hikes with lunch included. For those who do not wish to be so "exertive", the Magical Mystery Tours will be luxury shuttles ferrying people to other private and exclusive, well-hidden homes here along the coast, with wine and tapas at each stop.

Q. What are some of the items that we be featured at the Auction that are unique?
Our Auction, we like to think, is among the finest one could imagine. It doesn't raise the largest sums, such as Auction Napa, or the Central Coast Wine Classic, but where else would one be able to find a private guided walk in Big Sur with the co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Aubert de Villaine? Or the once in a lifetime chance to be on a Turn Boat during the America's Cup, courtesy of Lexus?  Then there's a dinner at some of the most extraordinary architectural gems with winemakers and great chefs here in Big Sur. How about an ornately carved Indonesian Teak Hutch filled with 36 different magnums of wine, each signed by the winemakers? Just a small sampling. This Lunch is now sold out, but we have the capacity to take phone calls for off-site bidding.  If you would like to be an absentee bidder, please contact Toby at

Q. Can people do "walk ins" to the events and register at the last minute?
Yes, they could, but honestly, they'll be extremely disappointed if an event is sold out - which will happen in most cases.

For up to date information on events and remaining tickets, check the Big Sur Food and Wine Festival Website for details.

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