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00 Wines
November 17, 2019 | 00 Wines

On the Road Report: SommCon and the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival

What happens when thousands of foodies and wine lovers descend upon Southern California to rub elbows with Masters of Wine, the most recognized sommeliers in the United States, and chefs from the top restaurants and resorts around the world? Magic of course. 

Set against the backdrop of sun and surf, the week-long San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival was named the winner of the 2019 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for Best General Food Festival.

When 00 Wines received the call from our San Diego distributor J.J. Knox to participate in the festival's most exclusive events including SommCon, the Grand Decant VIP, and the Grand Tasting VIP, the answer was an emphatic YES. 

Day 1: SommCon 

SommCon is a leading conference and exposition for sommelier-level education and training of wine professionals and serious enthusiasts. 

The conference brings together industry professionals of all levels to discuss, develop, and lead the conversation on the business of wine. SommCon’s education is built by sommeliers for trade professionals and serious enthusiasts who have a passion for wine and spirits and an unyielding quest for knowledge. Attendees learn and taste their way through keynote sessions and educational classes, complete with a trade-only tasting and expo.

We flew into San Diego and wheeled our 12 bottle VinGardeValise suitcase filled with 2016 EGW, 2016 VGW, and an assortment of white burgundies from our personal collection into the SommCon volunteer somm and speakers lounge. 

Day 2: Grand Decant VIP and Harvest and Game Dinner 

The Grand Decant is an annual event that brings sommeliers, consumers, and producers together for an evening of wine tasting that includes over 200 domestic and international wineries representing over 500 wines.

00 Wines poured in the VIP room with other luxury wine houses including Beaux Frères, Maison Louis Latour, and Hourglass. 

A few blocks away, an exclusive Harvest and Game dinner at Marina Kitchen in the Marriott Marquis San Diego featured Vineyard 29, Hourglass, and 00 Wines.  


Prosciutto di San Daniele, Grana Padano and Prosciutto di Parma

Sage & Smoked Almond Financiers, Cornmeal Espelette Crisps

Hourglass- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Estate



Chef Michael Schlow

Chef’s Surprise

Vineyard 29 ’17 Sauvignon Blanc


First Course

Chef Bernard Guillas

Diver Scallop Crudo

Sake Compressed Watermelon, Sea Grass, Caviar Pearl, Trout Row, Rouille

00 Wines VGW Chardonnay 2017


Second Course

Chef Dean Max

Pacific Sockeye | Celery Root Purée | Crispy Boar Belly | Beluga Lentils, Leeks, Turmeric | Honey Time Kabocha | Red Wine Shallots

00 Wines EGW Chardonnay 2017


Third Course

Chef Suzette Gresham

Cured Squab Carpaccio | Roasted Celery Root | Hazelnuts | Watercress

Hourglass 2017 Blueline Estate Merlot


Fourth Course

Chef Matt Zubrod

Matsutake Mushroom | Foie Gras Stuffed Pheasant | Cabernet Poached Cabbage | Apples

Vineyard 29 ’17 Cru Cabernet


Fifth Course

Chef Drew Deckman

Elk Loin with Elk Shoulder Civet | Foraged Mushrooms | Sunchoke | White sage

2016 Hourglass Estate Cabernet Sauvignon


Sixth Course

Chef Aron Schwartz

Ossuary Irate | Espelette | Rooftop honey | Pistachios

Vineyard 29 ’16 Cabernet Sauvignon


Assortment of Mignardises

Chef Cédric Barberet and Chef Rachel King


The evening's wine program was in the capable hands of Joshua Orr, MS, of Broadbent Selections. 

Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Joshua Orr got his start in the wine industry while attending Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. He worked for Breakaway Wine Tours as well as at Taste Wine Bar, a tasting bar for the Edna Valley Vintners Association.

Following graduation from Cal Poly, he lived and worked for a year in the famed Burgundy wine region of France. Upon returning from France, Orr moved directly to Las Vegas to begin work as a sommelier at B&B Ristorante in the Venetian Hotel and then at Fiamma Trattoria in the MGM Grand Hotel, as well as passing the first two certifications in the Court of Master Sommeliers. Before joining Marina Kitchen as the Director of Beverage, Orr was the wine director for Vineagogo, a wine company in San Diego.

Orr is one of the newest Master Sommeliers for the Court of Master Sommeliers, having passed the exam this year. He is one of only 171 people in the United States and 262 worldwide to have passed the incredibly difficult Master Sommelier exam. He was awarded the Rudd Scholarship for top honors in his class when he passed the advanced exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers. He is also certified as a specialist of Sake from the Sake Education Council and holds a bartender’s certification through Pernod Ricard’s Bar Smarts program. Orr was also named Ranch and Coast’s Best Sommelier in San Diego in 2012 and 2014.

In 2014, Josh was awarded one of the most prestigious Sommelier awards in the nation at the Guild of Sommeliers’ Top|Somm Competition. During the Fifth annual US Championship, Orr stood alone as the winner, taking home the Rodney Strong top trophy.

(Offical bio courtesy of San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival) 

The first course featured a Diver Scallop Crudo from Chef Bernard Guillas to accompany the 2017 VGW

Maître Cuisinier de France, Académie Culinaire de France Bernard Guillas is executive chef of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, the Shores Restaurant at the La Jolla Shores Hotel, and the landmark AAA 4-diamond Marine Room restaurant in California.

Right at home in La Jolla, Guillas’ affinity for the coastal lifestyle reminded him of his home in Brittany. He learned his alchemy early. Born into a family of butchers, bakers, and restaurateurs, Guillas’ Britannic upbringing was influenced by his daily exposure to food. He began his formal training at Le Bretagne Restaurant in Questembert, France with the legendary Georges Paineau. Jumping continents, Guillas worked at Maison Blanche restaurant in Washington DC under Pierre Chambrin, former White House executive chef. Guillas moved to San Diego as the Chef de Cuisine of the Grant Grill, located in the historic US Grant Hotel. Guillas has been the Executive Chef of the Marine Room Restaurant and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club Inc. since 1994.

Guillas is the author of two award winning cookbooks, Flying Pans “Two Chefs One World” and Two Chefs One Catch, “A Culinary Exploration of Seafood” co-authored with chef Ron Oliver. Flying Pans was awarded two IACP book of the year awards in the categories of Chefs and Restaurants and the coveted People’s Choice and top 10 Cookbook at Book Expo America. Two Chefs One Catch was awarded cookbook of the year by the San Diego Book Awards Association.

An avid culinary explorer, Guillas has a roster of impressive credits that include appearances on The Today show, Martha Stewart Radio, James Beard House, Food Arts Magazine and the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the World television series. Guillas was named Chef Magazine’s Chef of the Year and San Diego’s Best Chef numerous times.

Chef Guillas promotes sustainability and plays an active role in supporting his local community. His philanthropic interests benefit local and international charities while traveling extensively throughout the world promoting the San Diego region and the Marine Room restaurant.

(Offical bio courtesy of San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival) 

The second course featured Pacific Sockeye from Chef Dean James Max to accompany the 2017 EGW

Dean James Max is the chef and president of DJM restaurants, a company that specializes in restaurant concept development and ongoing management, and has been an established leader in the culinary world for many years now.  He has celebrated the launch of numerous destination restaurants all over the world and is based out of Deerfield Beach, Florida.  DJM has launched and operated farm to table concepts in many hotel brands such as Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Renaissance hotels as well as a variety of independent restaurants and modern fast casuals. Currently the company operates the Brasserie complex in Grand Cayman consisting of an up scale restaurant, market, juice bar, BBQ concept, bakery and event space. 

In addition, DJM runs the namesake restaurant James Republic in California and multiple concepts such as Asador and Arbor Kitchen in Texas. The newest venture is Chef Dean’s return to his flagship city with the opening of a unique seafood concept called Even Keel Fish and Oyster.  Chef Max has a laundry list of accomplishments from multiple James Beard nominations for Best Chef, crowned King of American Seafood in 2010, wrote a cookbook in 2006 called “A Life by the Sea, and holds many restaurant accolades from multiple properties.

(Offical bio courtesy of San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival) 

Day 3: Grand Tasting VIP  

SommCon and the Grand Decant were just warmups for the main event of the week: the Grand Tasting. Taking place in Embarcadero Park North, the Grand Tasting is a test of strength and stamina that even the most serious foodies are challenged by. Attendees experienced stunningly delicious bites from over 60 celebrity chefs and restaurants while hundreds of domestic and international wine, beer and spirit purveyors poured their favorite selections. 

00 Wines was located in the Grand Tasting VIP tent, pouring the 2017 VGW and 2017 EGW to the posh crowd. 

This was a rare opportunity to taste our current Chardonnay releases. As we always say, the true experience of 00 Wines is in the glass, and the hundreds of VIP attendees agreed. Excellent job, San Diego, you cleaned us out! We hope to see you again next year.   

Day 4: Rest 

On Sunday we relaxed along the waterfront and atop the InterContinental lounge overlooking the bay to reflect on our weekend and enjoy a final day of sun before returning to rainy Willamette Valley. If you've never attended the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival, we highly recommend that you clear your calendar to attend next year. We sure will. 

Adios San Diego, it was lovely to see you. 

Time Posted: Nov 17, 2019 at 11:41 AM
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