The Oakland Wine Festival is a high profile wine and food event that will feature celebrated winemakers from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, and Lodi as well as a highly curated selection of international wine regions. This day and night will also bring Oakland’s most celebrated culinary favorite chefs together to showcase their creative talents.
The festival is a collaboration between Melody Fuller, a prolific Bay Area food and wine writer, Oakland native, and some of her close friends in the Napa Valley. “The Oakland Wine Festival is the result of the desire to further acknowledge an overlooked – yet key – community of wine lovers who appreciate having world-class vintners and chefs within arm’s reach.” Fuller adds, “We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to showcase a treasure of wines and unbridled wine making talents.
Fuller, who is also an alumna of Mills College builds upon the history of educating the world about the truths of Oakland’s fascinating lore. With more than 120 wineries and 30 award-winning chefs participating, along with an impressive Honorary Steering Committee composed of wine industry luminaries, there promises to be plenty of “there” at the Oakland Wine Festival. “A key part of our mission is to build new relationships and deepen old relationships between winemakers, wineries, wine aficionados and curious wine enthusiasts from Oakland and the Greater Bay Area,” stated Fuller.
Tickets are available through select charity beneficiaries of the Oakland Wine Festival (to be announced soon) and currently by registering at http://oaklandwinefestival.com/.
The Festival will begin at 9am on July 18th with wine panels, seminars and master classes in the morning, followed by a unique offering of ‘Intimate Luncheons’ with winemakers at noon, followed by a seated ‘Elegant Baby Grand Wine Tasting’ from 2:30pm to 6:00pm. Exclusive winemaker dinners will commence at 8:00pm. More details will soon be available on the Festival website.
The Elegant Baby Grand Tasting represents one of the more unique aspects of the Festival. Every guest will have a series of eight, seated appointments with the winemaker or principal of the featured winery, thus turning the traditional walkabout tasting on its head. The Intimate Luncheons are also of note, as every participating winemaker will be seated with no more than seven guests for a four-course, wine-paired experience. These luncheons will be hosted at various locations and settings throughout the campus.
As part of the six-month countdown and celebration of Oakland’s first major wine and food event of this nature, the Festival kicks off in January 2015 with a series of monthly wine tasting classes and soirees at some of Oakland’s favorite venues. “The Oakland Wine Festival is committed to staying engaged with the Oakland community and has worked to collaborate with other businesses who want to share in this wonderful event,” explains Fuller. Ticket information about these events can be found at www.oaklandwinefestival.com.
- January 27, 2015, Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery at The Bay Grape
- February 24, 2015, Rombauer Vineyards at Pican Restaurant
- March 24, 2015, Silverado Vineyards at Parliament
- April 21, 2015, Opus One Winery at Waterfront Hotel
- May 5, 2015, Pride Mountain Vineyards at La Furia Chalaca
- June 16, 2015, Spring Mountain Vineyard at Waterfront Hotel
The Oakland Wine Festival’s Honorary Steering Committee is composed of winemakers and industry leaders, including K.R. Rombauer from Rombauer Winery; Russ Weiss from Silverado Vineyards; Sally Johnson-Blum and Jessica Baker from Pride Mountain Winery; Celia Welch of Welch Consulting; Michael Silacci from Opus One; Valli Ferrell from Spring Mountain Vineyard; Stu Smith from Smith-Madrone Winery and Debra Eagle, formerly of Hestan Winery.
The Oakland Wine Festival is also about place. Founded in 1852, Mills College is a lush 135-acre oasis at the foot of the Oakland hills in the San Francisco Bay Area. Classrooms in the 26,000-square-foot Betty Irene Moore Natural Sciences Building and historic lecture halls will be the venues for the Festival’s myriad events. The evening winemaker dinners will be presented in the four-story Victorian Mills Hall, a state and national historic landmark built in 1871.
The Founding Sponsor is the Piedmont Grocery Company. Other sponsors include East Bay Restaurant Supply, Farmer Joe’s Market, Waterfront Hotel, Alameda County Renew Magazine and Cuisine Noir Magazine. Whole Foods Market is a Private Reserve Founding Sponsor. The Wine Spectator is the media Founding Sponsor.
Tickets for the Oakland Wine Festival are currently available through the charitable benefiting partners through March 15, 2015. Live links will be shared in the coming weeks. A very limited number of tickets for the Oakland Wine Festival will be available after March 15, 2015 by contacting www.oaklandwinefestival.com. The public is invited to sign up for the mailing list on the website for ticket availability.
About Melody Fuller, OWF Founder
Melody Fuller is the Founder of The First Annual Oakland Wine Festival. An independent professional wine, food and travel writer, Fuller is an author who writes white papers and articles and serves as the Food and Wine Editor for Alameda County Renew Magazine. She has traveled internationally to learn about food and wine. Melody also filmed a TV show for a local network at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival in 2014. Fuller is an invited attendee of The Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley.
Her most memorable wine experiences took place on the eve of her first Symposium while having dinner in St. Helena. Her “professor,” Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr., was dining nearby, and after a delightful conversation about the days to come, Fuller – accepting a light-hearted challenge from Mr. Parker – accurately blind guessed all four wines he and his companions were enjoying.